What is a Job Recruiter?

Malcolm Tatum

When the name of the game is to find an individual to fill a key role within a company, many corporations will turn to a job recruiter. Essentially, a job recruiter is a person or firm that specializes in finding just the right person for the right position within a company or organization. In popular slang, a job recruiter is often referred to as a headhunter. Here are some facts about job recruiters, and when their services may be the ideal way to go.

Successful job recruiters typically possess strong people skills.
Successful job recruiters typically possess strong people skills.

One example of job recruiting involves the services of a retained recruiter. In this scenario, the job recruiter contracts with a company or organization to locate and qualify potential employees for the firm. With this type of recruiting, the job recruiter receives compensation, even if none of the candidates presented to the organization are eventually accepted and hired. Generally, a retained recruiter builds his or her business on good word of mouth after being able to successfully locate persons who are hired by the recruiter’s client and turn out to be perfect fits within the company. Pay for a retained recruiter may be based on a percentage of the starting annual salary for the position filled, or a flat fee that is spelled out in the agreement between the recruiter and the organization.

Recruiting jobs can sometimes be entry-level positions.
Recruiting jobs can sometimes be entry-level positions.

Another common example is the contingency recruiter. With this model, the job recruiter will not receive any type of compensation unless the job position is successfully filled by one of the recruits located by the recruiting efforts of the job recruiter. By far, this is the more popular of the two choices, as contingency recruiters usually do not require any sort of exclusionary agreement for services rendered. This allows companies to engage several contingency recruiters at one time, thus spreading the net wider in the search for the perfect job candidate. Often, the rate of pay for a contingency recruiter is calculated on a percentage of the annual salary associated with the filled position.

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Both types of headhunters can be a great way for companies and other organizations to acquire quality employees without spending a great deal of time and resources in trying to locate potential employees. With a job recruiter handling the initial screen and qualification of persons who may be right for the job, the process of selecting the right candidate is greatly simplified. The savings in time and money to the organization are often well worth the fee paid to any job recruiter.

Recruiters help match qualified people to job openings at companies.
Recruiters help match qualified people to job openings at companies.

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Discussion Comments


Cafe41-Executive recruiter jobs are often given to people with a college degree and some business experience.

You don't have to have previous experience recruiting, but they do require some business experience. People with sales experience are also highly valued in this industry.

For example, most of the Florida job recruiters than I knew all came from sales backgrounds. They usually work regular business hours, and did not work any weekends.

There are some employee recruitment agencies that focus on specific industry that is in high demand.

Nursefinders for example, focuses on contract and permanent placement in the nursing field. Usually people that are placed in contract positions earn substantially more than those in permanent positions even though the job may be identical.


Moldova- I also heard that to be true. I used to work as a job placement recruiter for Information Technology Company.

The job search recruitment agency we would place IT professionals in various contract positions.

The contractor that is selected for the project would actually be paid by the staffing company in an hourly wage.

Usually the markup to the client is in the 80% range. These employment recruitment agencies not only seek applicants to fill open jobs that they have, but they also market to companies to see what job openings they have or will have in the future.

Some job placement recruiters do both functions of sales and recruitment, while others only focus on either recruiting the right candidate, while another group focuses on obtaining marketing leads from potential companies.


Great Article- I would like to add that there are many job recruiters that focus strictly on permanent placement and some that focus on contract workers.

Those that specialize in permanent placement seek fees of 10 to 15% of the newly hired candidate’s salary.

However, the fee must be returned to the placement firm if the employee gets fired or quits within the first four months of employment. In such a case, the newly hired employee has to pay these fees back to the staffing firm.

Job recruiters hiring contractors work a little differently. The job recruiter receives compensations for every billable hour that the contractor works.

Should the newly hired employee quit or get fired, the job recruiter must start the hiring process all over again.

This usually does not happen often because job recruiters check references and perform extensive interviews before they present a prospective contractor to a client for hire.

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