A recruiter is a person whose job is to find and enlist members into an organization. For many years, when people were asking themselves “what does a recruiter do?”, military recruitment would leap to mind. Corporate America adopted recruiting as a business strategy, broadening the meaning.

For years, large businesses hired and on-boarded new employees through their HR departments. But, with the advent of easy Internet access, they started to discover the advantages of online recruitment and so it began to supplement corporate HR. HR departments could not keep up with the demands of large corporations’ operations, finance, IT, marketing, and facilities needs. Because employers’ needs began to widen and become more complex, HR had to change their relationship to job seekers.

As an employer when does it make sense to hire a recruiter internally or externally? What are the differences and benefits? How do their attributes differ?  What do they do?

What is a Headhunter?

Headhunters will generally recruit for highly-skilled positions, upper management, and executive-level positions 

Successful headhunters are charismatic and social. Their biggest asset is their ability to build a personal (NOT a digital) network of individuals who have skills and abilities to build, grow and lead companies. Some headhunters specialize in one business vertical like marketing, operations, CEO, CFO. Others align leaders with companies based on brand, moral compass, and attributes.  

Headhunters use social platforms like LinkedIn. They can also buy a recruiter subscription to do “detective work” to scope out viable connections. They are selective about the social gatherings and networking events they go to. Headhunters research business moves in their industry or their market to know which businesses will have leadership openings soon. Some even sell coaching services and different assessment tools as part of their portfolio of services to get in the door.  

Headhunter Fees

How do they get paid? Headhunter fees are generally equal to a commission based on the salary of the person they get hired. So, if you find a CEO that makes $500k a year they typically get 20% of that. Very similar to the sports world’s acting agents.  

Tips for employers:  Before you agree to hire them to do your search, know the terms of how they want to get paid. Make sure that your headhunter understands the culture of the company and what you want this leader to do in the organization.  

Internal Recruitment

Internal recruitment means that a recruiter works for a single company. They are full-time employees and their primary job duty is to sell the company to job seekers.  

They are charismatic, social but also honest. Internal recruiters build a relationship from the moment they introduce themselves to the job seeker. If they make a hire, they can’t just disappear. If they oversell the company or the job, they know the new hire or their new manager will confront them about it.  

The best internal recruiters use a combination of digital and traditional tools to find job candidates. For example, pepelwerk is a great tool for hiring Talent looking for work with specific skill sets. LinkedIn is a good tool for finding and persuading employed people to make a move. 

Internal Recruiter Salaries

Internal Recruiters are similar to any other sales position. They typically get paid a base salary plus bonus.  

Understand why or if you need an internal recruiter, how many you need and what each person’s goal is. Employers might be better off hiring a contract recruiter depending on the job types, how many openings, and how much growth you plan to have.  

External Recruitment 

Contract and external recruiters focus on finding people to work for your company by subject matter. They are helpful in seasons of increased need or as business demands.

External recruiters are charismatic, social, and have technical knowledge in the space that you need them to hire for.  

What tools do they use? The good ones use tools to help them deliver better quality matches to the opening and use more than marketing boards to build up their talent pool.

External Recruiter Fees

Every contract recruiter has their specific terms. Get the details so you don’t get fooled into paying for something you don’t need. Or worse – duplicating your efforts. The cost of paying for a contract recruiter on top of posting your positions to multiple job boards will become excessive over time. And it won’t guarantee you will receive quality applicants. If you choose to hire an outside recruiter, let them do their job.

A good tip for employers is to know the difference between staffing services, recruiting outsource services and match platforms. For example, there are drastic price and experience differences between each of them.

In Conclusion: What Does a Recruiter Do?

You should now have a clear answer to the question “what does a recruiter do?”. The purpose of recruiting is to onboard the right talent so work gets done and the business keeps growing. Unskilled internal recruiters can stall a much-needed hire. If your external vendors fail to gatekeep for you, resumes will bog you down and the candidate pool will be weak. If it takes several weeks to go through an onboarding process, scrutinize the internal systems you have in place and the vendors you use. Take an active role and assert your needs in talent acquisition. Your business will not benefit from spending willy-nilly.

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