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Recruitment Careers

The Differences Between Being an In-House Recruiter versus an Agency Recruiter verses an RPO Recruiter

recruitment careers

When it comes to recruitment careers, recruitment professionals have the option of applying their skills in a variety of environments: corporate in-house, agency and RPO. While each of the three environments offers a similar level of security, they do differ in culture, focus and professional growth. Here’s a look at some of the nuances of the different recruitment careers.

Cultural Differences

  • In-House: In-house recruiters focus on long-term relationships with on-going partners such as executives, department heads and HR partners. There is continuity with the people and relationships they build with in-house partners, as well as an opportunity to meet new people via candidate searches. A balance of strategy and execution, the continuity of team relationships is a constant for this type of platform.
  • Agency: Working with a high volume of people is the name of the game for agency recruiters, whose environment is the most sales, contacts and deadline-driven. Cultivating a breadth of relationships is a critical component in this platform.
  • RPO: Recruiters find the RPO environment compelling if they are looking for a dynamic environment with exposure to people, teams, industries, and brands. It’s a culture favored by those who want career progression, continued learning and a more strategic approach.

Differences in Focus

  • In-house: With the ‘client’ in place, in-house recruiting functions are more relationship-based and focus on finding the right candidates for a long-term fit.
  • Agency: With a focus on filling roles and winning new assignments, the agency environment has a sales and deadline bent. Especially when newly formed, agencies focus on winning new clients. Their compensation structure is base + commission.
  • RPO: The RPO model is more strategically focused and aligned with the company’s best interest – and are vested in finding the strongest candidate for the long term. While the in-house and RPO models are somewhat similar, the big difference for most is that RPOs have more key performance indicators to report on, while not all in-house recruiters have such reporting metrics.

Professional Growth

  • In-House: Working in an in-house corporate environment provides deep exposure to one industry, but can also offer specialization by function, depending on company and team size as well as agencies engaged. The level of autonomy and entrepreneurial spirit will vary depending on the company. The upside is the continuity of working with the same executives, teams, systems and technology over the course of the role. If the environment is not dynamic, however, the downside can be working on legacy technology or systems that don’t reflect the latest standards in recruiting. In-house recruiters may have more exposure to other departments and teams such as Marketing and Finance, as well as wider HR initiatives.
  • Agency: In terms of career development, agencies offer recruiters the opportunity to develop a functional specialty, such as a hiring sales and marketing professionals, or focusing on engineering and technical talent, for example.  Typically focused on volume and with a sales bent, recruiting from an agency platform allows the mastery of prospecting and closing skills and competitively filling positions while working with a large number of contacts.
  • RPO: In an RPO environment, recruiters are given the option to choose specialist or generalist paths depending on their interests. While some RPO recruiters work in an office hub, others are embedded onsite with clients. Often times, RPO recruiters specialize in one industry. However, as client and hiring needs fluctuate, they have the opportunity to move accounts, industries as specialties.

    RPO companies provide similar job security to in-house environments, and a bit more than the agency environment due to their structure and ability to move accounts.

    Some RPO environments, such as Hudson RPO, offer the opportunity to be innovative and try new things, such as video resources, technology, new ways of sourcing candidates and performing online background checks. Agencies and in-house operations tend to have a more traditional enterprise approach, with a loyalty to systems and protocols.

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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.