Agency Recruitment VS In-House Recruitment

1st June 2017

Elicia Wilkinson

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Agency recruitment and in-house recruitment can sometimes seem worlds apart. So, what are the key differences anyway? If you are thinking of getting involved in recruitment yourself, here is everything you need to know about both sides.

Agency Recruitment

Agency recruitment can be a tough career as it tends to be more sales-aligned than in-house recruitment, which does attract a certain type of personality. Basic salaries can sometimes be low as the commission is usually what drives most employees to work hard to find placements for jobs. The benefit to this is that if you become a very good at your job then you can earn a lot of money in the role. Being proactive in the role can help you gather a large database of candidates and businesses that will only grow over a period of time.

The best agency recruiters know that they have to work hard to provide a better standard of service, in order to stand out. The bigger your database becomes the more commission you are likely to earn from successful candidates. This usually means the best agency recruiters are amazingly good at finding top talent.

Underneath the business development focus and the competition, though, agency recruiters are focusing on achieving the same goals as in-house recruiters: to make game-changing placements.

In-House Recruitment

It is true to say that a lot of agency recruiters move into in-house recruitment. It is a different pace but the skill sets are similar therefore Agency recruiters can sometimes be drawn to in-house. They’re by no means the majority though.

Agency recruitment has a much lower barrier to entry than HR, which makes it a natural testing ground for in-house-recruiters-to-be. In-house recruiters are by no means ‘second-best’ either.

In-house recruiters might not have to fight for business in the same way as agency recruiters, but they have to juggle internal hiring managers, balance competing demands and know the business inside-out from a holistic perspective. They might be working 30 or 40 different roles. They’re likely to work to as stringent targets as agency recruiters do – balancing cost-per-hire, quality-of-hire and time-to-hire.

Where agency recruiters are concerned more with the front-end of hiring, an in-house recruiter has to think about onboarding, retention, engagement, employer brand and referrals. It becomes a much longer process.recruitment agent calling

What are the key differences?

The methods and perspectives might be different but both sides are all chasing the same result. Everyone wants to recruit the best employees possible for available jobs. The best agency recruiters and the best in-house recruiters usually have similar skill sets.

What Skills Does It Take To Excel?

As you’d perhaps expect the qualities of a successful recruiter are very similar. A great recruiter has to be great for sourcing candidates. They have to be able to build talent pipelines. They have to be able to sell because whichever side of the fence you’re on, it’s a candidate-driven market

They have to be able to manage expectations, whether that’s internal or external hiring managers. Likewise, building relationships with businesses and candidates are key. You also need to be great at copywriting. If you can’t write an attractive job advert, you’re not going to get the applications.

A good recruiter is a good recruiter – wherever they work. If you’re struggling at a recruitment agency you’re not suddenly going to be a success in-house, and vice versa. If you’re doing well at an agency then you’ve got every chance of replicating your success in-house as if you will obviously possess the skills it takes to succeed in recruitment.

Both in-house and agency recruitment are hard. The days will often be long, and the list of demands will most likely be even longer. Recruitment of any type can be a high-pressure, demanding which means you have to be passionate about it to do it well.

If you’re drawn to recruitment, the decision whether to work in-house or in an agency can make or break to your success. They might have the same goals, but they’re still fundamentally different jobs. Agency and in-house recruitment do tend to suit very different people or at least people with different priorities.

Agency Recruitment: The Pros & Cons

One of the best things about agency recruitment is the potential for reward. There’s massive earning potential if you’re good. It’s also a job that your age or CV have no bearing on. Agency recruitment is a true meritocracy: only your results count.

Each placement directly correlates to your commission, and there’s nothing like knowing your hard work is directly acknowledged and financially rewarded.

The culture of agency recruitment also tends to be very fast-paced and tight-knit. The pressure of a career in recruitment can be tough and not everyone has the skills to be successful. It’s an outward-facing, client-focused, high-pressure role and Those who embrace it reap the rewards financially.

In-House Recruitment: The Pros & Cons

While you lose the high earning potential of agency recruitment, in-house recruitment tends to have a higher basic salary. You’re still assessed on results, but it’s not as fast-paced as agency recruitment.

In-house recruitment is much more strategic, which will really appeal to some people. Long-term hiring planning is generally a part of your role. There tends to be scope to be consultative with internal hiring managers because you’re all working to achieve the same target.

As an in-house recruiter, you have greater oversight into the hiring process. You have the opportunity to make more of a positive impact on the organisation. You can really understand the culture in an in-depth way, and you see the results of your hard work developing over time. Some would say it’s more meaningful, allowing you to really shape the organisation moving forwards.

Which side suits you best?

If you love to work with people and want a fast-paced and high-impact role where change is the only constant, recruitment has a lot to offer.

Despite what the stereotypes say, there is no ‘better’ type of recruitment. In fact, agency and in-house recruiters working well together can be a beautiful thing. However, there probably is a ‘better’ option in terms of what you’re looking for and which environment would best meet those needs.

If you’re trying to figure out what side of recruitment to choose ultimately it comes down to you and your skill set. Sometimes you won’t know which suits you best unless you try them out.

Think you have what it takes to work in recruitment?

At Strategic People, we’re on a mission to give our staff the best training, rewards and career opportunities, for that we need to hire the best people.

If you’re bright and friendly with a serious eye for quality and an awesome work ethic, things are already looking great for you. So why not browse our top jobs or send us your CV and let’s see what you can do.

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