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High Performer Vs Low Performer – What’s the Difference? Recruitment Manager Training Tips

Posted by Nicky Coffin

I often get asked by recruitment managers what the difference is between high and low performers. When you understand the difference having a high performer makes to your bottom line results, then you’ll understand why it’s worth paying attention to this!

There are certain traits that high performers demonstrate and if you’re interested in hiring these types of people for your recruitment agency, then read on…

Top performing businesses know to hire for attitude first rather than skills, because you can train skills, not attitude. When you are hiring, you will need to test for these traits, either through competency questions or role plays. Here are the key traits to look out for:

High Performers – What to Lookout For:



“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “

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1.Coach-ability – Rock or Sponge?

Top Performers talk about wanting to learn and progress, they have ability to accept and implement feedback – like a sponge. A rock would be someone who is talented, but because they won’t take on any feedback, they will get to a certain level and then plateau.

2.Emotional Intelligence

Top Performers have the ability to understand and manage their own emotions and accurately assess others emotions.

3.Are Self Motivated

High performers have loads of drive to achieve, they are also tenacious and persistence – they never give up even when things are really hard. This is something worth testing for, otherwise you could hire someone who constantly needs motivating.

4.Talk About Being the Best they Can Be

The key here is that they want to be the best for THEMSELVES, different from a lower performer trait where they talk about wanting to prove a point to someone else. Because high performers want to be the best for themselves, they will continually push themselves– there is never a time when they feel they know it all – they believe there is always more to learn.



“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “

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5.Solutions Focused

High performers take personal responsibility for the quality and timeliness of their work without blame or excuses. If they do have problems, they solve them.

6.Like a challenge and when really busy

Find it very enjoyable when busy – thrive under pressure

7.Ability to Prioritise

Even when they are really busy – they are able to prioritise their time effectively to spend it on the areas that will give them the biggest return

Lower Performers – What to Lookout For:

1. Are Negative

Low performers blame others – colleagues and customers – when things go wrong and say things like “I couldn’t get it done because…” or its someone else’s fault.

2. Don’t take Initiative and only do the bare minimum expected of them


“Your team does a lot of work – but they could do better. “

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3. Procrastinate and Resist Change

4. Want to Prove to Someone Else They Can Do It (i.e. parents, peers, colleagues)

5. Will do what othe

6. Like to be really busy and have lots of Variety – Busy Fool syndrome!

7. Talk about Wanting to Hit/Achieve target

So there you have it – Top Performer and lower performer traits. If you would like to know more or how to test this within your recruitment business, please email us at

If you want to learn how to set up your business, so that it stops under-performance once and for all, then join my free webinar. Click on this link to sign up: The 5 Secrets Our Clients Use to Build 7 & 8 Figure Recruitment Businesses