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What is a Recruiter?

Also known as: Outplacement Recruiter, Internal Recruiter, Staffing Agency Recruiter, Contingency Recruiter, HR Recruiter, In-House Recruiter, Corporate Recruiter, Retained Recruiter, Independent Recuiter, Staffing Recruiter, Head Hunter.

A recruiter is someone who finds qualified, dedicated and invested candidates for a job vacancy, and works to meet the demands of both the employer and the employee. Each applicant is screened to see if they meet the minimum requirements for the advertised job. The recruiter will review the applicant's credentials, and evaluate them based on their professional presence, their punctuality, interviewing skills, and other determining factors.

A recruiter can be the job seeker's eyes, ears, and advocate in the job market. They often have knowledge of opportunities that may not yet be advertised and can help the candidate by being a coach and an advisor during the job searching process.

What does a Recruiter do?

First and foremost, recruiters help people find jobs, but they can also help candidates hone their résumés, prepare for interviews and manage salary negotiations. Recruiters can be a great resource, yet some job seekers are not aware of who they are, what they do and how best to work with them. There are several types of recruiters, but for the most part, the psychology and mechanics of recruiting remain the same.

Staffing Recruiter
- is one of the more common types of recruiter. Staffing professionals look for a fit from a corporate culture perspective as well as a skills perspective. Having a thorough understanding of what their client is looking for, the recruiter will use their networks to target specific companies where their client would prefer to work, therefore making the job search quicker and more efficient.

Staffing Agency Recruiter
- is someone who works at a Temp Agency, filling positions for temporary or contractual work. This type of recruiter is encountered if an applicant posts a resume on a job board; the recruiter will be specifically looking for applicants that are willing to work 'under contract' for a short period of time at a client company. The employee would be employed by the staffing company (they would take care of all wages, employer taxes, medical insurance and benefits), but their work would take place at the client site, and they would be under the direction and supervision of the client.

Corporate, Inhouse, or Internal Recruiter
- is the most common type of recruiter. This type of recruiter is usually employed by the company they hire for, and are paid a salary and benefits just like any other employee in that company. Their job is to look for full-time employees that best fit the company they work for. Companies like Walmart, Amazon, and Google all have internal recruiters.

Outplacement Recruiter
- is a recruiter who usually works for an Outplacement Agency (which is quite often a division of a staffing company), and provides job assistance to people that have lost their jobs due to downsizing or displacement. As a matter of goodwill, some employers will hire an outplacement company to help their downsized workers find jobs. These types of recruiters provide career counselling, interviewing assistance, and resume assistance.

Contingency Recruiter
- is a recruiter that works for a Contingency Recruiting Agency. These recruiters do full-time employee searches, and are only paid if they find a candidate for a client company. The client company will usually pay a percentage (15-35%) of the first year's salary to the recruiter. There are times when a company's in-house recruiter can't keep up with an unexpected hiring demand, therefore hiring a contingency recruiter is a good short-term solution until the hiring demand slows down. Many staffing companies offer contingency services, and advertise them as 'contract to hire' or 'direct hire' opportunities.

Retained Recruiter
- is a recruiter that works for a Retained Agency (or an Executive Search Firm). The agency is paid a fixed upfront amount as a retainer to have the company perform a dedicated search. This initial retainer fee is paid regardless of whether a placement is made or not, with the remainder of the fee due after a successful hire. This is for incentive purposes, typically done to fill higher level positions, such as CEO or CFO positions, as these positions are much harder to fill.

- is a recruiter that works for Contingent and Retained Search companies. They are commonly called 'Headhunters' (a term many recruiters don’t like and avoid using).

Consulting Company Recruiter
- is a recruiter that works for a Consulting Company, providing higher skilled professionals for client companies (for example, finance, marketing and engineering professionals). Smaller consulting companies provide employment contracts that are only valid until the project being worked on is complete, much like staffing companies. Top-tier consulting companies (for example, McKinsey), have a different method. They don't terminate their employees after their consulting work is done with a client, but continue to pay them until they find them their next project (hence the high rates they charge).

What is the workplace of a Recruiter like?

A recruiter can work for an employment agency which has a physical location, and where a job candidate can visit. Recruiters can also work for a 'broker', where the agency or consultancy they work for represents multiple recruitment agencies. Recruiters that work for executive search firms may attend trade shows, college job fairs and other meetings nationally or even internationally that may be attended by potential candidates and hiring managers.

How can I become a Recruiter?

A recruiter is typically required to have a bachelor's degree in human resources (or related work experience). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some employers may also require (or prefer) certification as a human resources professional. There are a variety of certification options available (take a look at the HR Certification Institute). This will require passing an exam and meeting certain educational and experience-related requirements.

Experience working as a customer service representative as an intern or entry-level position is recommended. This type of work teaches the aspiring recruiter how to communicate effectively, develop organizational skills, and develop social aptitude.

Professional development workshops and seminars are recommended as part of ones continuing education; staying current with new developments in the field of recruiting is always recommended.

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    Further Reading

    • The Top 20 Reasons Why Recruiting Is an Exciting and High-Impact Job

      As a professor in a large business school, I am frequently asked, “What is the most exciting and impactful job in the corporate world?” While others may answer differently, to me the most exciting and impactful job is clearly recruiting.

    • HR Recruiter

      While the term “HR recruiter” may sound redundant, as both human resources managers and recruiters both find job candidates and get them hired, this job is very specific.

    • What Does a Recruiter Do, Anyway?

      As a recruiter, making a call to a candidate to offer them a job is without question the best part of my day. It would be wonderful to make that call all day long, to each and every candidate I meet. Unfortunately, I also have to make the other calls, speaking to candidates when the news is, "you're not qualified" or "sorry, they chose another candidate."

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