The Recruiting Industry

Recently, I was chatting with a recruiter friend of mine, picking her brain about what her work entailed. Maybe it’s because she has such a compelling conversation style, but I was completely captivated in learning about her field. I never realized how diverse the recruitment world was. In fact, there are four main types of recruiter jobs:

1. Corporate, In-House

Typically, once a company has about 200 employees or more, it makes sense to develop an in-house recruitment team. This team is usually salaried (versus commission-based) and is responsible for filling positions at the company. Because recruiters are working exclusively with one company, there is an opportunity for camaraderie and a sense of loyalty to develop.

2. Agency

 Agencies contract with companies that don’t have their own in-house recruitment teams in order to find talent. Recruiters at an agency can be full desk, or responsible only for recruiting talent.

  • Full Desk – these recruiters are responsible both for getting business from companies that need positions to be filled, as well as for finding the talent to fill those positions.
  • Talent Recruitment Only – these recruiters work with an account manager, who is responsible for managing the companies that are contracting with the agency to fill a position. The recruiter’s job is exclusive to finding the talent to fill the position.

Recruiters who work at an agency are typically commission based – meaning that in order to make money, they need to connect talent to employers. As a result, the work life balance at an agency is often less ideal that that of a recruiter working in-house. Burn out is more common.

3. Executive Recruitment – Some agencies specialize in recruiting C-level talent. At this level of talent, the number of individuals in the country who are capable of executing the role is limited – and so must be approached with a high level of polish and professionalism.

4. Solo Practitioner – Once a professional in a particular industry becomes seasoned and well networked, it can make sense to set one’s own shop. There are some solo practitioners – or small firms – that are set up to operate in a niche industry. However, this is a position that you need a lot of specific experience in order to be successful.



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