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An Introduction to the World of Recruiting

Part 1 of the “What Recruiting Is, Isn’t, and What’s Important to Know” Subseries

By Brian Sullivan

Recruiters are everywhere. Some recruiters work within a company, specifically focused on the hiring process, meanwhile, for others, it’s just one of many responsibilities within their role. Additionally, there are also outside vendor companies (like R&W Group) and individual contractors that provide these services, supporting companies in the hiring process.

As common as recruiters are though, there seem to be many misconceptions about who we are, what we do, and why our function is important. Over the course of several postings, R&W Group Blog will delve into what recruiting is (and what a jobseeker should expect when working with a recruitment professional), what it isn’t (what common myths exist about this profession), and why working with a recruiter could be the thing your job search is missing (considering the good and bad, and still walking away with a net-positive outcome), among other valuable topics. In Part 1, we’re going to focus on creating a baseline as to what recruiting actually is, the types of recruiting that exist, who is involved in the recruitment process, and some expectations you can set for yourself as a jobseeker.

What Recruiting Is

Recruiting is sort of a colloquial term for recruitment, which encompasses any part of the process to attract, identify, screen, interview, select, and hire employees. Depending on the position and the organization, this process could focus solely on external candidates, but could also include internal recruiting of existing employees or contractors for new vacancies. The key players involved and the way this process is executed will also vary, as it may sometimes be first-party orchestrated through the hiring manager; second-party with an internal member of the Human Resources or Talent Acquisition teams; or third-party with an outside agency. Regardless of the differences, they all share one thing in common: finding the best fit for the current staffing need.

There are many types of recruiting, the most common being internal, external, retained, and contingency. Internal recruiting is working to fill open positions with employees and contractors already working for the organization. This could be for a lateral move, a role comparable in seniority but different in function; a vertical move, a role of similar function or in a similar department, but with higher seniority (also known as a “promotion”); or a combination of the two. Internal recruitment is almost always exclusively carried out by members within the organization, either first- or second-party, and very rarely involves outside vendor support.

All three of the other highlighted recruiting types are kinds of external recruitment. External recruitment is an umbrella term referring to efforts aimed at attracting new talent to the firm from the outside. If those doing the sourcing, interviewing, and narrowing down of potential applicants are internal employees, it’s just called external recruiting, plain and simple. However, if a third-party staffing agency, headhunter, or other resource is being utilized, these typically will either be retained or contingent services. Retained recruitment is when a hiring organization partners with a staffing agency, paying them an upfront fee to fill the vacancy for them. Normally, this will be an exclusive arrangement, where the contracted agency will be the only one allowed to submit applicants, and they will guarantee that they can fill the position with a satisfactory candidate. In contrast, contingency recruitment is an arrangement where an organization allows a staffing agency to submit applicants for consideration (not necessarily exclusively either) and, should an offer be extended to a candidate they identified, the agency will receive payment for their services at the end of the process. Although not an exact comparison, think of contingent recruitment being a “conditional” arrangement, while retained would be more “unconditional”.

All four of these types of recruitment are focused on the staffing need of an organization specific to the opening they’re working to fill. Because of this (with only rare exceptions), these processes are almost always complimentary to a jobseeker. More on this later, but it’s a very important thing to understand the dynamics of the relationship.

Some of the main players in the recruitment process (besides the jobseekers) include, but are not limited to, the Recruiter, the Hiring Manager, Human Resources, Marketing, and even the Board of Directors. The Recruiter is the one who oversees the recruitment process by publishing job posts, sourcing candidates, and conducting the initial screenings. Recruiters may also provide interview prep for candidates, guidance on expectations for next steps, logistical support between the candidate and hiring manager, and may be the one to present the offer to the candidate (this might also involve negotiations of salary, benefits, proposed start dates, etc.).

The Hiring Manger handles the more substantive later-stage interviews and makes the decision of who to hire. In larger organizations, Human Resources will also get involved to ensure the process meets legal and ethical standards, and to handle discussions related to compensation, benefits, or employment clearances/authorizations. Marketing might also confirm job descriptions and applicant interactions align with company branding. For very senior positions, the Board of Directors may also weigh in on these important decisions.

This information is probably familiar to most jobhunters, particularly regarding a recruitment process held entirely within the potential employer. However, there are many misconceptions about what recruiting entails, especially when working with a third-party staffing agency. I would love to help demystify some of those misconceptions for you. Please be sure to check out our upcoming installment of the R&W Group Blog “What Recruiting Is, Isn’t, and What’s Important to Know” Subseries where we explore some of those common myths and establish what recruiting isn’t. In the meantime, if we can help with any of your job search needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Looking forward to hearing from you!


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