What is a Recruitment Consultant?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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Recruitment consultants are business professionals who aid companies in identifying and recruiting individuals to fill key positions within the organization. A consultant of this type will often aid the client in creating a profile of the ideal candidate, including such attributes as range of experience, educational background, and leadership skills. The recruitment consultant often works closely with the human resources or HR department to make contacts with potential candidates, ascertain their degree of interest, and in general manage the up-front screening process that occurs before an offer of employment is actually extended.

The typical recruitment consultant functions as an independent contractor. For a fee, he or she will take on the task of locating, qualifying, and recruiting individuals who are highly likely to benefit the client’s organization. Some consultants specialize in recruitment for specific positions with a corporate structure, financial personnel, or individuals who are capable of leading the information technology team. Other consultants may focus more on locating and screening executives to head up sales or marketing areas. A recruitment consultant may aid a client in locating and recruiting mid-level as well as upper-level management personnel.


When working with a client, a recruitment consultant will often adapt his or her approach so that it is in harmony with the culture of the customer. This means that in some situations, the consultant will be provided basic guidelines and given a great deal of latitude in completing the recruitment project. At other times, the consultant will interact closely with a recruitment team that is composed of designated company employees, with the recruiter handling the tasks of qualifying candidates, making the first contact, then turning the activity over to the team. The fee charged by the consultant is often based on the range of tasks that he or she is authorized to conduct on the behalf of the client.

As with many consulting situations, a contractual agreement governs the relationship between the recruitment consultant and the client. This contract normally specifies the activities that the consultant will perform on behalf of the client, along with the schedule of charges that applies to these activities. The schedule of payment is also part of the agreement, defining how and when payment is rendered. Depending on the complexity of the recruitment project, the consultant may require a percentage of the total fee up front, with the remainder rendered once the project is completed. With relatively simple projects, the consultant may require payment only after the candidate is located, screened, and hired.


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