Many staffing firms and direct hire recruitment agencies take a bifurcated approach to delivering recruiting service. These firms, in contrast to the “360 desk” model, split the recruiting function into separate sales roles and recruiting roles. The salespeople work with clients and uncover job requirements and the recruiters find candidates for the job requirements. Most large recruiting firms use this model and it seems to be an efficient method of delivering candidates to clients.
However, this hiring approach calls for two very distinct sets of skills. Some people fit both sides (salesperson and recruiter) very well, but for most, one is more natural. If you are starting a career in recruiting or are working at a split desk staffing or recruiting company, it’s very important that you are on the right side for your personality. Here are some guidelines I’ve found useful for assessing whether you should be in sales or recruiting (these are of course generalities, but hopefully they are helpful.)
You should be in sales if you are:
- A great negotiator
- Good with handling rejection
- Self-guided with your time management
- Motivated by expansion potential (developing sales channels)
- Good at cold-calling for new business opportunities
- Enjoy making presentations and entertaining
You should be in recruiting if you are:
- A great communicator
- Good at relaying hard facts and picking up inferences
- Highly organized
- Great at Internet work and research
- Motivated by task accomplishment (making placements)
- Good at building relationships based upon mutual interest
- Enjoy interviewing and networking
You can see that both sides are quite similar; both recruiting and sales professionals have to be independently driven, competitive, and motivated. In general, the sales side is more focused on cold-calling and aggressive new business development. The recruiting side is perhaps a slightly more analytical role and focuses on developing strong pipelines of qualified candidates. If you are in a company with a split sales and recruiting role, it’s very important to understand your own internal motivations – these will drive your future success in the recruitment firm.
However, when choosing your recruiting career avenue, there are a few other considerations. It should be said that many firms do not use a split model. Recruiters at these firms are responsible for developing their own clients and then finding the candidates as well. If you do enjoy both aggressive new business development and finding candidates through research and referrals, the “360″ model might be right for you. Another consideration is that firms which use split recruitment roles often have treat and even value the positions very differently. It is not uncommon for sales and recruiting roles to have different compensation, commission, metrics, and responsibilities. Often times, the recruiting role is considered more junior to the sales role. If you are a senior recruiter who wants to stay on the recruiting side of the equation, it would be wise to work in a firm that values the recruitment role as much as the sales role.
Recruiting is a great career, but you have to be in the right role in order to succeed. It pays to take some time to think abut the true differences between sales and recruiting and to pay close attention to how your recruitment firm values each. If you are working at a recruiting firm right now, how are the two roles treated differently? What types of people succeed at each one?