Talent Titans #28 – Choosing Between Agency and Corporate Recruitment

This week, Suky talks a bit about some of the differences between the agency world and the internal world when it comes to recruitment.



Hi I’m Suky from Professional Selection. Today I’d like to talk about: should you go corporate recruitment or agency recruitment?

The answer is: only you know the answer to that one. But what I can help you with is give you some questions to ask yourself and that
will hopefully help you identify which arena you belong in. Now if your desire is to build an HR career and by that I’m talking about
doing more than just the recruitment aspect of it, more than just the identifying a candidate and closing the candidate. If you want
to get involved with company, the employee engagement policies, HR policies, strategies, and so forth then you absolutely really shouldn’t
join the agency side because at the end of the day that’s not what we do. We are salespeople.

Now if you’ve graduated from college and you’ve got an HR, you know you’ve graduated in HR but you still feel you want far more of that
front end candidate piece then maybe agency is right for you. However I’m gonna say it again: we’re salespeople. What you need to
understand whether you go internal recruiter or as an agency recruiter, you still have to attract the best candidate for your client.
Obviously on the internal corporate recruiter side you’ll have internal clients. You still have to be able to attract the best person so
you still have to be comfortable picking up the phone and engaging with people. On the agency side, depending on which client or company
you end up in, what the exact role is, you may also have to get comfortable picking up the phone and looking for new business. But either way,
both roles means you have to pick up the phone, you have to engage with the candidate.

Now, the other significant difference you’re going to find is on the agency side you’re dealing with multiple clients. Yes, there are some
exceptions where you may be dedicated to one client, but for the most part you’re gonna be dealing with multiple clients. On the corporate
side, no. Ultimately end of the day you’re dealing with one culture, one overall company culture. You may be looking for different variances
in the individual team dynamics and what-have-you, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be able to realize there you’re only ever going to
be selling one particular company. Here, you’re going to be dealing with multiple different companies.

Now how do you know which one is right for you? Again it comes down to how much of a sales aspect do you want for your role because on this
side, on the agency side you’re also gonna be doing, as I said, three or four different companies. So it’s three or four completely different
cultures. Three or four possibly even completely different roles, in completely different regions, complete different styles of management,
company expectations and so forth. Whereas on the internal side as I said the overall strategy, direction of the business is going to be the same.

Now how are you going to get targeted here and rewarded? Because ultimately at the end of the day we all go to work because we have
bills to pay and so forth. Yes I agree, working on internal your base salary is possibly going to be higher than it is on the agency side.
However what you need to bear in mind on the agency side is as I said earlier we’re salespeople. So a lot of your variable commission is driven
from the successes you’ve had, ie placing the right candidates with the right companies and of course them staying there long term. So whilst
your base salary potentially might be lower, your earning opportunities, your total income is a lot, lot higher. On the corporate side you may
get 10, $15,000 more on the base salary, however your variable piece is not going to be as significant.

So for example where are you going to earn more in the variable piece if you’ve placed 50 people? Well you’re definitely gonna earn more on a
variable piece on the agency side. Now at the end of the day if money isn’t your key driver and you want to join a company where you feel you
can progress, as I said earlier depends where you want that progression. If you want to go into a management position, you want to be able to
learn more areas of the business outside of HR, then the agency route might be right for you, because what you’re going to do is if you go into a
management role you’re going to be responsible for the operations side as well. Again HR does fall into it – you know there is an element of
internal HR to that. Whereas on the corporate side you could become a client partner to somebody internally, and you specialized in that
department but you’ll still only be for the most part managing that HR relationship, that candidate attraction piece.

So at the end of the day I’m going to leave you with a couple of thoughts. Are you a salesperson? Do you really want to be working against strict
targets, KPIs, etc, and have your income based on that? If that’s something that excites you, and of course dealing with multiple clients and
what-have-you, I would say consider looking, working on the agency side. If however on the other side you don’t mind being targeted (because even
if you work in internal you still have to deliver to your client) but the targeting isn’t a strict or seen as aggressive as it is on the agency side,
and you don’t mind working with within one company culture then that route might might be right for you. Especially if your ultimate goal is to
specialize within HR and all the other elements of it: the employee engagement, company strategy, etc then consider that side.

At the end of the day there is a need in the overall world of recruitment for both individuals. It’s up to you to decide which is right for you.
Anyhow I’m sure there’s loads of other thoughts and comments on this so we’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave your comment below and we’ll
talk soon. Thanks for listening.

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