HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia


Do you enjoy finding people with the skills you need? Recruiters are valuable contributors to a successful hiring strategy and can work in many different industries and capacities. To learn more about the work recruiters do and what it takes to be successful, read on!

What Is a Recruiter?

Recruiters are individuals responsible for finding candidates for positions. This can include marketing, head-hunting, screening applicants and resumes, and networking to find the best talent. Recruiters own the hiring process from posting the job or seeking out candidates to introductory screening, arranging interviews, and setting the employee up for success on their first day. The recruiter may refer to an individual you hire or contract with or an agency that performs the same tasks.

Recruiter vs Talent Acquisition Partner

Recruiters focus on a company's immediate hiring needs. Their goal is to fill open positions, and they're not usually involved in creating the organization's larger talent strategies. Recruiting falls under the larger umbrella of talent acquisition. Talent acquisition partners do much of the same work that recruiters do, but they also have other responsibilities. Among other things, they develop talent strategy and processes, track talent-related metrics, manage the candidate experience, and work to build the employer brand.

Should a Company Hire a Recruiter?

Whether you choose to hire a recruiter depends on your company’s needs. Use these pros and cons to help with your decision.

Pros of Hiring a Recruiter

  • Time to hire. Having a dedicated recruiter or recruiting agency can significantly cut down on the amount of time it takes to fill an open position. Without a recruiter, you are relying on other individuals or hiring managers within the company to set aside their operational tasks to spend time recruiting, which is a time-consuming venture. Recruiters are dedicated solely to filling open positions and typically have success in a shorter time period. This helps keep qualified candidates engaged and reduces the risk of losing top talent in a competitive labor market.
  • Quality of talent. Recruiters and recruitment agencies typically have large networks of talent and potential candidates. They are not relying solely on what a job advertisement or resume search can produce. Recruiters are experienced in candidate selection and screen candidates before sharing them with hiring managers in your organization, so the candidates sent over to review are usually more qualified for the position.
  • Reduced liability. If you are using an internal recruiter, they will be specifically trained (through previous experience and by you or someone else in your company) on best practices and be able to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. If you are using a recruiting agency, the agency will likely assume much of the burden, including the time spent recruiting, and if the employee is employed through the agency, the agency assumes much of the responsibility for pay and benefits.
  • In-depth knowledge. Recruiters typically carry in-depth knowledge of recruiting practices, networking, and industry specifics. They can improve the candidate’s experience and streamline internal processes.

Cons of Hiring a Recruiter

  • Cost. If you are not currently using a recruiter or a recruitment agency, the cost will definitely increase. If you hire an external recruiter, consider your needs and learn the payment structure for the agencies before making a final selection. Some roles may be key to the organization or hard to fill, and for those, the cost of a recruiter may be less significant compared to the value of the role. If you decide to hire an internal recruiter, you will have more control over the cost; however, you should still do research to ensure that you are paying the recruiter fairly for the market. You can also explore varying pay structures. For example, if you cannot afford to pay as high a regular wage, you could increase the commission the recruiter earns for filling open positions. You should also consider the frequency with which you expect to be hiring for open roles. You may determine that the need doesn’t justify an internal recruiter.
  • Less company knowledge. Recruitment agencies and external recruiters do not have the same company knowledge an internal employee has. Their ability to speak to the culture and inner workings of the company is minimal. While a recruiter may be better suited to find an individual with the proper skills and knowledge to perform the job, they may struggle to find an individual who is the right cultural fit for the organization.
  • Loss of control. If you choose to use an external recruiter, you sacrifice some control over the recruitment process and over employer branding. Your staffing agency doesn’t know your company culture or your employer brand, so you lose an opportunity to showcase this and create a brand-specific experience for potential candidates. In addition, the process is now in someone else’s hands, so there’s no opportunity for you to make additions or changes to the process to fit your organization’s needs.
  • Recruitment process failures. Not all agencies and recruiters are equal. Different agencies focus on developing different skills and networks, and they have specialties in specific industries. Because of this, agencies and recruiters may not be able to recruit as skillfully for some positions as well as others, they may receive less-qualified candidates in areas they don’t have networks or resources in, and they may not have the training needed to be successful. Ensure the agency or recruiter you hire are experienced in the specific industry or specialty you are hiring for. If you are using an internal recruiter, invest in training in addition to social media and other networking events to empower their success.

Types of Recruiters

There are two primary types of recruiters.

Type 1: Agency Recruiters

These recruiters are hired to work in support of your business. They are provided with the details of the open position and are responsible for finding individuals to fill this position. They typically have a specific area of expertise that enables them to understand the needs and demands of specific businesses, although some agencies work with a variety of industries.

Type 2: Internal Recruiters

Internal recruiters are typically part of the human resources department of a company and work to fill open positions within that company. They are an employee of the organization for which they are hiring, and as such are involved in the operations of the business and are part of the internal culture, meaning that they are able to identify nuances to organizational fit an agency recruiter may not.

Responsibilities of a Recruiter

Recruiters have many responsibilities relating to the hire of new employees for a company. Below are a few key duties.


Whether it be through social media or in-person events, recruiters are responsible for meeting qualified individuals and establishing clientele. Building a network of professionals who can either bring you business or be a great candidate for a position in the future will help a recruiter be successful.

Industry Knowledge

If you are a recruiter supporting a specific industry, having knowledge of trends and updates can help you anticipate and understand the needs of the organizations you are recruiting for. Recruiters also need to be aware of trends in hiring and the war for talent to be able to better advise clients and hiring managers of the changing needs of the workforce.

Resume Review

Recruiters need to be able to review a resume for an open position and know whether the individual could be a good fit for the role. They should understand the company’s requirements for the position and any special skills the employee needs to have.

Screening Candidates

Many recruiters are responsible for at least initially meeting with potential candidates. This can help them to get clarity on any items on the resume or to confirm certain aspects of their experience or temperament prior to introducing them to the hiring managers in the company.

Brand Ambassador

Because recruiters are responsible for bringing candidates into specific companies, they need to be able to speak to the culture and benefits of the hiring company. In a competitive labor market, it’s especially important for a recruiter to be able to advocate for your organization.

How to Become a Recruiter

There are different paths to becoming a recruiter.

Step 1: Gain Industry Experience

Since many recruiters have industry specialties, having specific industry experience may help you become a recruiter within that industry. Experience with multiple industries prepares you to work more generally as a recruiter without being focused in a specific industry.

Step 2: Gain HR or Service Experience

Because recruiting is a function of HR and requires you to be customer-facing, experience in both or either of these roles will help you succeed as a recruiter. Sales experience is also a plus and can teach you certain skills that will be very helpful to you as a recruiter.

Step 3: Acquire Specific Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Recruiters must be comfortable spending a lot of time speaking with other people and building connections with people they may not have a relationship with. They need excellent communication skills, including listening skills. Persistence and critical-thinking skills will be key to success, as it can be very challenging to fill a role. This means that resilience is also very important, as they won’t always be able to find the right candidate.
Colleen E. Frislid, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Colleen E. Frislid, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Colleen manages a team of HR consultants that work with a variety of industries, specializing in the fields of human resources, strategic planning, and human capital management. Colleen applies expert knowledge, industry experience, and relentless energy to solving companies’ issues. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management as well as women in leadership groups. She is PHR, SPHR, and SHRM-SCP certified. She has an awesome pet cat, Attila and, when she's not working she loves to travel, enjoy the great outdoors, and volunteer with different local charities.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
Benefits Manager
Campus Recruiter
Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
Compensation Analyst
Employee Relations Manager
Executive Recruiter
Global Mobility Specialist
Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
HR Burnout
HR Business Partner
HR Careers
HR Certifications
HR Consulting
HR Department of One
HR for Owners
Hiring Manager
Hiring Team
Human Resources Assistant
Human Resources Generalist
In-House Recruiter
Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
Recruiting Coordinator
Recruiting Manager
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
Talent Acquisition Partner
Technical Recruiter
Training & Development Manager
Vice President of Human Resources
Work-Life Coordinator
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