A Guide to Recruitment Companies

In this section we look at the different types of Recruitment Company and what they do

Our Xpert’s guide will help you understand which type of Recruitment Company can be most helpful for you and how to avoid wasting your time on inappropriate approaches.

There are numerous types of recruitment agency within the industry, including:

  • Recruitment Agencies
  • Niche Recruiters
  • Executive Recruiters
  • Head hunters
  • Corporate In-House Recruiters 

Recruitment Agencies

Recruitment Agencies offer temporary, contract and permanent vacancies to jobseekers as and when they receive instructions from their own clients. Operating styles differ from Agency to Agency, but branches of larger chains commonly serve their local area whilst smaller Agencies commonly cover a wider geography.

Some jobseekers incorrectly assume that Agencies offer a public service and fail to recognise that they are dealing with a commercial operation. A Recruitment Agency earns fees from its clients for successfully placing candidates into employment. So, whilst many Agencies will be happy to register your interest, they are generally client-focused. That means that they concentrate their efforts on finding people for live vacancies rather than speculatively presenting your details to prospective clients.

What does this mean for you? If you happen to be the right person for a live vacancy, you are more likely to receive immediate attention from an Agency. So, review the Agency Job Boards and contact them when you feel you have seen a vacancy that suits your skills and experience.

Niche Recruiters

Niche Recruiters commonly concentrate on a specific market or markets. Their focus often leads to a greater understanding of the operational requirements of those markets and commonly improves their chances of acquiring, selecting and placing the most appropriate candidates.

Niche Recruiters are used by companies of all sizes across all markets, so try to seek out one or two that might help you.

Executive Recruiters

If you have achieved the heady heights of Senior Management or Directorship, you may feel that a Recruitment Agency or a Niche Recruiter might not meet your requirements.  In some cases you could be right as a number of senior roles aren’t advertised by the employer. Instead they turn to an experienced Executive Recruiter.

Senior roles can be sensitive hires, particularly for publicly listed companies. A discreet search for senior talent relies upon a series of industry connections that are often beyond the reach of regular recruiters. There aren’t many CEO’s who would wander into a Recruitment Agency on their local High Street to look for their next role.

If you are fortunate, an Executive Recruiter might contact you after receiving a referral. Investment Capital companies commonly demonstrate an interest in the senior roles of any company with which they invest. Unfortunately, getting onto the Investor radar takes time and good fortune, and often comes only after being in a role which successfully saw through an Initial Public Offering or Trade Sale.


Too many recruiters suggest that they Head Hunt so don’t be charmed too quickly. The hallmarks of a good Head-hunter include discretion, genuine referral to you by a named source and complete confidentiality in the process.

Head-hunters may work with a specific client to approach somebody already known to them. The Client will not want its identity revealed quickly and certainly won’t wish to provoke its competitor so the chosen Head-hunter is commonly a trusted individual who will also qualify whether you’re going to remain discreet. The Head-hunter will possess a significant amount of information regarding the client, why the position is vacant and why you are the ideal candidate.

Be patient and be respectful because it is highly likely that your own reputation can be enhanced or damaged by the way you deal with a Head-hunter’s approach and the subsequent feedback given to his / her client.

Corporate In-House Recruiters

Over the past few years, some larger companies have elected to manage some or all of their recruitment activity directly. This cuts out the middleman and could lead you to assume that your chance of successful placement is better than being presented by an external Recruitment Company. This is not necessarily the case.

Corporate recruiters are often employed directly from the Recruitment Industry because those individuals know how to source candidates from advertising and search. This does not mean that they have a greater understanding of any role, but it does mean that they will understand the company’s business in more detail so your qualification of the potential employer should be easier.

If you would like to work for specific companies then you should apply directly to supplement any other job searching activity. If the right role isn’t advertised on an employer website, register your details and follow this up with a call to ensure that they have been received.