Corporate Recruiters vs. Staffing Agencies

Many people don’t realize that there are differences between the recruiters you encounter when applying for a position with a company and a recruiter that works for a staffing agency that’s reaching out to you about potential opportunities or that you have contacted directly for job search assistance.

We’d like to take the opportunity to try to breakdown these differences and why some companies choose certain recruitment strategies over others.

Corporate Recruiters

This type of Recruiter is hired by a company to learn about the company culture, and fill internal & external vacancies. They work to build relationships with their hiring managers and teams to better understand individual department needs and the skills highly sought after. They will also ascertain any challenges or strengths within each department and position. Recruiters can also assist hiring managers to create job descriptions as needed prior to posting the requisition online to allow for external applications to be received. These Recruiters typically do not receive any staffing incentives for filling vacancies as they are paid a regular salary/wage to recruit exclusively for the organization in which they operate within.

Staffing Agency Recruiters

This type of Recruiter works for a Staffing Agency, which means they are contracted by various companies to assist with filling their vacancies it could be short/temporary assignments, part-time or full-time opportunities, or direct hire roles. They are typically not paid by the individuals they help place but by the company itself once a candidate is hired. Staffing Agencies will typically charge anywhere from 20%-30% or more as their direct hire placement fee, or charge an increased billable rate for short term staff members. As you can imagine a good agency recruiter can make a lot of money for their agency and receive a nice commission based on their placements.

So why does any of this matter?

Well at times Agency Recruiters can get a bad reputation whether it be from massive amounts of phone calls or emails or unplanned company visits. Or individuals complaining that they were placed in a role they strong dislike that had nothing to do with their background. The biggest difference between the two types is intent and loyalty. A Corporate Recruiter is intent on filling their vacancies with a candidate that the hiring manager will appreciate for many years to come and the best case scenario has until that person is ready to retire. A Corporate Recruiter is loyal to the organization and committed to staffing the organization with solid employees that will be able to learn and grow along with the organization and whom they can promote within to fill additional opportunities. An Agency Recruiter is loyal to their agency and is intent on making money for their agency. To be fair there has been a shift in Agency Recruiters realizing they do need to try to learn more about companies so that they are only presenting candidates that would be a good culture fit, as well as taking more time to understand the individuals they work with so that they aren’t placing them in positions that aren’t the best fit just to make a coin.

Some companies will use Agency Recruiters out of sheer necessity they need to hire someone quickly and they know agencies spend their time developing pipelines for various positions that way when a request comes in they already have people that could be a great fit. Some companies will use Agency Recruiters for short term assignments to ensure that there are no huge gaps based on people taking leave, or extended vacations….because well the business is still operating with or without a specific employee.

The important thing to know is that both can be very effective and the cost savings employers receive by hiring for their own recruiters is a big plus. From an applicant standpoint it’s good to understand the difference so you can understand that Corporate Recruiters don’t work for you personally so before you speak with a Corporate Recruiter you should know exactly what you are interested in applying for and not think that this type of Recruiter has the time to walk you through understanding your own career choices. On the flip side of the coin that’s exactly what you can expect from an Agency Recruiter, they want to initially take the time to understand what you are seeking so that when an opportunity does come about they can place you in a role that hopefully will be a good fit.

No matter which type of Recruiter you are working with, it's important to remember to always be professional and kind…..these individuals are the gatekeepers between you and that opportunity you want so badly so play nice!