Here's what you can expect from a job in Recruitment

Katie Harrison
Campaigns Executive

If you've ever looked for a graduate job then you've probably come across a role in Recruitment. With many graduates entering this lucrative industry, we dive into the details of what career options you have in Recruitment.

A recruitment agency serves two sides of the same purpose: the first side is candidate-facing, helping individuals to find and apply for a job that matches their skills and experience, the second side is helping businesses to find the person that matches their current vacancies. The goal is to find the perfect match between candidate and client: a little like Cupid, but with fewer red roses. 

For most recruiters the industry is highly meritocratic, whereby you are responsible for earning your own bonuses and, in some cases, have no limit on your earning potential from year to year. This, coupled with the chance to meet new people and face new challenges every day, means Recruitment can provide a lucrative and exciting opportunity to launch a graduate career and develop some very employable skills along the way.



Not all recruitment agencies are the same, just as no two offices will operate in exactly the same manner. With many different options available to you in Recruitment, we lay out a few key terms that you will find on your hunt for the role that's right for you.


  • Contingency Recruiter

A Contingency Recruiter works with companies on a case-by-case basis to help them fill their vacancies with the best candidate for the role. Rather than charging clients upfront, contingency recruiters claim a fee only once their candidate has been placed in the role – it is often the case that a company will use multiple agencies to fill several positions, which leads to a highly competitive market. However, with high demand from both the candidates and the customers, positive matches will often come your way and you can expect a generous commission rate (usually a proportion of the role's salary) when they do. It’s a fast-paced work environment and you will be expected to manage a multitude of cases at once, so having an organised mindset – not to mention a healthy competitive streak – will serve you well in this role. 


  • Retained Recruiter

Also known as an Executive Search firm, this type of agency charges an initial fee to their clients in return for exclusive access to the case, rather than competing “for the win” with other recruiters. For this reason, these firms tend to be used by companies for fulfilling senior roles which require a dedicated search, as opposed to more general positions that could be filled by a Contingency or Internal Recruiter (see below). As a Retained Recruiter, you will find yourself contacting high-level employees, who may not be currently seeking new opportunities, and working to convince them that you have a better offer with your client than their current workplace. As you can imagine, it’s not always easy, but gives you a chance to develop a highly influential network alongside some fearsome negotiation skills.


  • Staffing Agency (“Temp”) Recruiter

The clue is in the name with this one: ‘Temp’ agencies are used to fill temporary roles within a company, perhaps a short-notice vacancy or a period of maternity leave. Whilst the successful candidate will be working on the client site, the staffing agency handles all wages, taxes, insurance and benefits, so to all intents and purposes the candidate is effectively an employee of the agency. With short-term contracts such as these, there is an incredibly high turnover of candidates and clients, and many new recruiters start here to learn the ropes before moving onto an independent or corporate agency.


  • Internal Recruiter

Based within a larger business’s HR department, an Internal Recruiter (or a Corporate Recruiter) is an employee or contractor of one company in particular who sources and recruits full-time employee positions for that company alone. Much like any other employee, an Internal Recruiter receives a fixed salary and benefits in line with company policy, rather than relying on a variable commission rate; consequently, this position offers relatively more long-term stability than its other Recruitment counterparts. If you’re interested in the industry for a chance to take control of your earnings, this may not be the role for you – however, it can be a strong position to progress your career within a larger company’s established structure.




On top of these different types of agencies, many firms also specialise within a particular industry, such as teaching, healthcare or finance, meaning the possibilities for different recruitment sub-genres are truly endless. Take a look around and find the combination that suits your skills, interests and aspirations best - then get applying.


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