Agency recruitment and in-house recruitment can sometimes seem to be operating in two different worlds altogether – but there is much in the two environments that are similar too. Let’s look at the main differences and some of the pros and cons.

Agency Recruitment: What’s it all about?

Agency recruiters sometimes get painted as arrogant, pushy and sales-obsessed individuals. It’s true that agency recruitment does tend to be more sales-oriented and perhaps the environment does attract a certain type of personality. It’s a competitive, commission-driven world that means that to succeed in it recruiters need to be highly proactive. Generally speaking, competition is healthy too. Agency recruiters know that they must deliver a high standard of service to stand out from the competition, but ultimately the goal of the agency recruiter and the in-house recruiter is the same – to find the best top talent that is available.

In-House Recruitment: What’s it all about?

The stereotype of the in-house recruiter is of an individual that lacks urgency, worse still – is a failed agency recruiter. It is true that many agency recruiters move into an in-house environment, but not because they are failures!

In-house recruiters might not have to battle for business in the same way that agency recruiters have to, but their role is challenging. They need to balance a variety of demands, juggle hiring managers like spinning plates, and understand their business inside-out. The in-house role is increasingly target-led too, looking at measurements such as cost-per-hire and time-to-hire.

Not only that, whereas agency recruiters, typically, are only really concerned with the front end, in-house recruiters have a lot more to deal with. From referrals and the employer brand to onboarding and retention.

Is there really much difference?

Superficially, at least, there are big differences between agency recruiting and in-house recruitment. However, for all the differences in perspective and methods that are employed, the end goal is very much the same – it’s all about the hire.

Similar skills and qualities are needed for both. All recruiters need to be adept at sourcing talent and building talent pipelines. A good recruiter manages expectations and builds relationships. A good recruiter is a good recruiter, regardless of where they work. However, the two environments have quite different cultures. Because of this, they will appeal to different character and personality types.

The Pros & Cons

Both agency and in-house have pros and cons. Agency recruitment often offers extremely high earning potential. On the other hand, with basic salaries low, there is also the potential for overall earnings to be very low too. Agencies can be close-knit and fast-paced and offer a client-focused and outward-facing role that many people simply thrive off.

In-house recruitment doesn’t tend to offer the same earning potential, but it generally provides a greater amount of job security than agency recruitment. It is a more holistic role that offers recruiters a greater deal of autonomy.

Another clear attraction of in-house recruitment is that it is more strategic and recruiters have a more consultative approach.

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