The Differences Between Corporate Recruiters and Agency Recruiters

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There is sometimes confusion when talking about recruiters, whether it be somebody who works in a corporate situation or somebody who’s working with an agency. In this case, in the title we’ve used staffing agency, but for the purposes of what we’ll be discussing in this blog, it could also be a full service recruiting agency that isn’t focused on staffing, but is focused on permanent placement or direct hire. One of the key differences is while both of these types of people, a corporate recruiter and an agency recruiter, are recruiters at heart, they’re actually very different in many ways and tend to be very different and distinct types of human beings.

CORPORATE RECRUITERS

At the end of the day, a corporate recruiter or an agency recruiter are focused on the same thing. They’re focused on hiring talent for an organization. One key difference though is that a corporate recruiter sits in house with a particular company and is focused on filling positions only for that company. Corporate recruiters tend to come from a human resources or business background and also will likely have other responsibilities from a human resources perspective. Sometimes it can include things like benefits management, on-boarding, employer branding, and anything else that might support human resources, recruiting and the on-boarding of new employees. They will also only be focused on filling roles for the company that they work for.

SPECIFIC DEPARTMENTS

So a corporate recruiter who works at Apple is going to be focused only on filling roles that Apple has on their roster. And for a large company like Apple, they likely will have corporate recruiters designated for different departments. So you’ll have a corporate recruiter who works specifically on technology roles like engineers and developers and programmers, and you might have another corporate recruiter who’s focused on marketing roles and another corporate recruiter who’s focused on sales roles and another corporate recruiter who’s focused on roles for retail and the retail stores and so on and so forth.

Corporate recruiters tend to be very specialized in the types of roles they work and are obviously specialized with the company that they’re recruiting for as they are in house with that company.

AGENCY RECRUITERS

An agency recruiter is quite the opposite. An agency recruiter typically does not come from a human resources background. Most commonly agency recruiters come from some sort of sales background and they always have some sort of sales component involved with their day to day. An agency recruiter is not going to be dedicated to any single company like the corporate recruiter working at Apple. An agency recruiter is going to be working on a variety of different clients and a variety of different positions. Although agency recruiters do tend to specialize in certain types of roles, the breadth, the scope and scale of the types of positions that they’re going to work on is going to be much larger than a corporate recruiter.

A WIDER SCOPE

An agency recruiter will likely work across multiple geographies, multiple industries, and work with varying companies and therefore will have exposure to a lot of different types of professionals, a lot of different types of technologies and industries and a lot of different types of organizational structures. So in one sense being an agency recruiter can be a bit more challenging because you need to be able to learn how different companies are structured, how different companies work, the cultures of different companies, the personalities of different companies and all the other details that go into recruiting the correct kind of talent for a role. This is much easier for a corporate recruiter, as they have one company to learn and learning that one company well will make their life a lot easier.

COMPENSATION DIFFERENCES

Corporate recruiters and agency recruiters are also compensated very differently. A corporate recruiter is typically a salaried employee. Every now and then you do see these roles with small bonuses or commission plans, but typically they are a very small part of the compensation package. A corporate recruiter is mostly a salaried employee. An agency recruiter is the opposite as typically heavily commission paid with a small salary. So again, structured more like a sales position.

It is typically much more challenging to be successful as an agency recruiter than it is as a corporate recruiter. Most agency recruiters won’t be able to truly cut the mustard for the long term. It takes a special breed of human being to be able to handle both the sales side of being a recruiter along with the long cycles and the constant and ever changing environment of working with multiple clients.

SUPPLEMENTAL MARKETING

A good analogy of the difference between a corporate recruiter and an agency recruiter is what you see in the marketing world. Any brand, again like Apple, has in house marketing people. They have people that are Apple employees who work in their marketing department and work on the Apple brand. But Apple also uses ad agencies to supplement their marketing and those people at those ad agencies have Apple as one of their clients. They are likely working with other brands and other clients that their agency is contracted with on a variety of different projects.

CONCLUSION

So a corporate recruiter and an agency recruiter obviously are going to have very different personalities. Someone who is very sales oriented and likes change will never do well in a corporate recruiting environment, as they’re going to get bored very easy. On the other hand, someone who likes stability and consistency is likely not going to do well in an agency recruiting role. There’s just going to be too much change and uncertainty for them, as they’re someone who’s interested in stability. Corporate agency recruiters tend to also be more driven by money, hence the high earning potential in an agency recruiting job.

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