Having spent a good amount of my time sourcing and screening candidates, I can tell you this — a top recruiter is, in many ways, like a good investigator. Think of master sleuths like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot or your favorite crime thriller “hero”. They’re exceptional at getting information out of people, have brilliant observation skills, they’re curious, and they don’t give up until they get to the bottom of every case. Curiosity, to me, is the most important trait of all. A recruiter has to be curious about what companies to target, what companies train and develop employees well in your industry, what schools are good for specific backgrounds, etc.

But that’s not all. Here are five additional qualities of investigators that modern recruiters should have.

1. Know Your Stuff Really Well

Good investigators have solid legal knowledge required to handle a criminal case. Similarly, recruiters must understand their business, industry, and the functional areas they support. After all, this is your chosen craft and you need to do everything you can to master it.

Sure, hiring the right talent for your company is your focus, but you can’t do that unless you know your company inside out (well, almost). Before starting to look for candidates, learn the history, the vision, and the culture of your company. Take time to read the annual report, listen in on quarterly earnings calls, or sit with your CEO to make sure you understand the big picture. That way you can streamline your hiring process to meet your company’s exact requirements.

Understand that each functional area has its own language so you won’t waste time on one-size-fits-all strategies. It also pays to know more about the market and the industry you’re dealing with. For instance, who does your firm compete with? What challenges face your industry? —knowledge in these areas could help you beat your competitors in recruiting top talents.

2. Become Tech Savvy

What sets apart an OK investigator from a damn good one? The way they use technology to their advantage. The same holds true for modern recruiters. They are curious and have the ability to do extensive research on industries, companies, candidates, and schools using the latest tech tools.

More than ever, today’s recruiters have reams of data on their fingertips just with a few clicks or taps, thanks to evolving technologies and the Internet. So instead of searching through the filing cabinet to find potential candidates, you can simply use the right tool to find them in a matter of minutes.

In today’s data-driven era, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Data is king and modern recruiters know if they can leverage it, they’ll not only make better decisions but also get a leg up on the competition. Therefore, embrace technology to stay on top of current trends, to research candidate pools, industry metrics, and to monitor competitor activity.

3. Be a Critical Thinker

Hiring is hard. Hiring the right talent is harder. For modern recruiters, it’s important to have their thinking caps on. All the time. To place the candidates in the right role, you have to excel at multiple tasks — analyze resumes, assess cultural fit, be able to “connect the dots,” and plug holes in your company’s talent strategy — even at the most challenging times.

4. Be a Clear Communicator (And a Listener)

Recruiters must be skilled at interviewing candidates, following up and communicating status internally to keep everyone in the loop throughout the job search. That’s a given. But they also need to be great listeners. Effective recruiters keep a track of all the moving parts of a hiring process. They are mindful of all interactions because they understand that people are unique and so are their needs.

In order to make the hiring process smoother and that much more effective, you need to make listening a habit. If you ask me, you can iron out a lot of issues simply by listening to your hiring managers and interview candidates all the time.

5. Build a Team

Holmes had Watson. Poirot had Hastings. And, if you notice all good investigators have someone they trust and rely on when they need.

Similarly, modern recruiters know when to bring in the cavalry. They know they can’t do it on their own. They spend time to build effective relationships and partnerships with local universities, industry associations, and search firms. When the time comes, they know they have help lined up.

If you’re looking for success in recruiting, you need to take guesswork out of the equation. Simply drawing up a list of people that look like they ‘might’ be right no longer cuts the mustard. These five qualities will help you develop a hiring process that’s rooted in data-driven methods and investigative research — must-have ingredients for effective recruitment today.