what is a recruitment consultant

A recruitment consultant intermediates between a client company and a job-seeker to maximize the potential for a good fit between the two. The job contains an inherent sales component, as you are selling the client to the candidate and vice versa. Furthermore, you must operate as a salesperson when promoting your services to paying clients. In effect, the client pays for your ability to act on their behalf in finding the ideal employee for their opening.

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average salary of recruitment consultant

The average base salary of a recruitment consultant starts at $60,000, with approximately 10% of those in the field making over $90,000 annually. Depending on an agency's compensation scheme, bonuses and other rewards will boost your salary. Recruitment consultants make a satisfactory salary, with the more productive professionals able to exceed the average national salary significantly.


working as a recruitment consultant

As a recruitment consultant, you communicate with client companies and job-seekers directly. If the candidate has a question surrounding the recruiting process, you'll liaise with the company to answer the job seeker's inquiry. You also need to fully understand the position the client company is seeking help for.

The client depends on the recruitment consultant for creating a shortlist of candidates and suggesting the best one for the position. You will be helping companies find reliable employees that have the potential to positively transform the client.

duties & responsibilities

As a recruitment consultant, your main duties are to provide clients with the best candidate for their position while maximizing closing rates for your agency. You also have a duty to the candidate to represent them in a fair light to the hiring company. Recruitment consultants organize interviews and selection events and maintain an active presence in the job space. Contract negotiations are a routine part of your workweek. Balancing the interests of the client, candidate and your agency is an equation that is your responsibility to solve regularly.

work environment

The environment resembles that of a competitive sales position, and employers will encourage healthy competition. You will find that turnover is high as the pressure can build with mounting monthly targets. Specifically, approximately one in three tend to leave the recruiting field within the first 12 months of entering the space.

However, this is also due to discrepancies in how different agencies approach their operation. Recruitment consultants who find innovative employers with astute management will thrive in the field. Recruiting agencies that foster healthy working environments offer flexible pay programs. They reward their employees well and provide recognition for hard work. There is also adequate training and support so that you have all the tools you need for success.

work schedule

Typically, a recruitment consultant works normal working hours, generally nine-to-five. However, the nature of the position will often require late nights and early mornings. Attending events and visiting with clients will often break up your workdays, and travel can be part of the job, depending on the agency.

job outlook

The demanding nature of the position means that successful recruitment consultants entering the space will progress quickly. If you hit your targets consistently, your employer will take notice and move you up the ladder. This is especially true in larger firms, where there is more room for upward mobility.

Working for a smaller recruiter may mean more gradual growth, but will also translate to the potential for becoming a reliable partner in the future. Furthermore, the skills of a recruitment consultant translate well to other demanding fields. If you choose to make a career transition in the future, being able to display success from the human resources field is a powerful bargaining tool.


education & qualifications

Since recruiting is a field that requires a wide spectrum of skills, the educational background that employers will seek often varies. We tend to hire people based on their motivations, resilience and determination to want to succeed. A degree in psychology or human resources is a strong bargaining chip but isn't the only way of getting into the field. Employers will usually favour candidates that have an HR, Business or Psychology degree but a degree in the specific field that you are recruiting would also be beneficial. An employer will view background in travel, hospitality, retail or HR just as positively as one in sales if you have the core competencies the agency seeks.

skills & competencies

A good recruitment consultant combines a diverse skill set that helps them source quality candidates for clients. As a recruitment consultant, you will need a high level of emotional intelligence along with practical skills to be able to deliver results.

excellent communication skills

Communication is a two-way street, and as a recruitment consultant, you will need to be receptive to what clients need as well as what will make candidates happy. Furthermore, you will need to be able to put candidates at ease while obtaining from them all the relevant information regarding what they can offer the client company.


Beyond establishing clear communication with clients and candidates, you must be able to build strong relationships. The recruiter-candidate relationship is important for the ability to discern whether the person across from you is a good fit for the position. At the same time, you will have to foster trust with clients. This guarantees that clients will want to work with you in the future for filling their open positions.

goal-oriented mentality

As a recruitment consultant, you work on a deadline. Clients are looking to hire high-level employees as soon as possible, so they can achieve their business directives. Having a goal-oriented mentality is a must for producing results for clients.

effective negotiation skills

The closer a hiring approaches completion, the more each side will be looking to cement their demands. As a successful recruitment consultant, you need the ability to mediate between clients and short-list candidates. Salary, benefits, working hours, time off and other points of contention will result from your ability to negotiate on behalf of both the client and the candidate.

the ability to work as part of a team

Your job involves interfacing with other team members and advisors to bring a deal to fruition. Furthermore, clients will consider you a part of their team as you are helping them reach their organization's goals. A history of being a team player tells your employer that you place the company's goals highly and contribute to a harmonious office environment.


Clients want to know that a recruitment consultant is up for the job. When trusting you to do their hiring, they need to feel that you will deliver. A confident vibe is also reassuring to candidates. Hiring prospects are also shareholders in the process, and they should feel that you are competent enough in helping them in their potentially life-changing decision.

research skills

As a recruitment consultant, you will have to source candidates in fields you are not intimately familiar with. Being able to learn as much as possible about a niche and the position in question is key. You must find candidates that possess technical skills and knowledge that is outside your spectrum of knowledge. Your ability to adapt to each position and confidently ascertain that candidates possess specialized skills is a valuable asset.


Being a recruitment consultant involves a strong sales component. After arriving at a shortlist, you will need to sell the candidates to the client while reassuring candidates that the position is right for them.



How much do recruitment consultants make?

For recruitment consultants, the entry salary starts at $60,000. The most successful professionals make over $90,000 annually. Your salary will vary depending on the compensation plan that your agency has, bonuses and other rewards.

Do recruitment consultants earn a lot?

Recruitment consultants make enough for a comfortable living. The most productive consultants exceed the average national salary and have the potential to become partners at their firms. Moving up the ladder will allow you to recruit high-level executives, an activity that comes with lucrative bonuses.

What qualifications do I need to be a recruitment consultant?

Having a sales-oriented mentality is essential for becoming a recruitment consultant. Negotiation skills are necessary for keeping a balance between what a client is looking for and what a candidate is willing to accept.

The ability to sell is by far the most important quality of a recruitment consultant. Possessing empathy is also an important and often overlooked quality a recruitment consultant must possess. Hiring is as much about the people involved as it is about the hiring company. Empathy allows the recruiter to understand the true needs of clients and candidates, catering to them accordingly.

What does a recruitment consultant do on a daily basis?

A recruitment consultant is constantly sourcing candidates through a variety of channels. Scouring the internet, including social media websites, is a daily occurrence while leveraging your network of contacts.

Recruiters cast a wide net with regards to associates and acquaintances to ensure they have a constant influx of high-quality candidates. With regards to clients, consultants spend much of their time liaising, focusing on cold calling, online marketing techniques and networking.

Is recruitment a hard job?

The position includes challenges that are best met by professionals with the ability to set goals and organize a plan of attack. Those with a penchant for sales will find being a recruitment consultant easier than others. The job calls for communicating with executives from different client companies and adhering to monthly targets. If you thrive in an interpersonal business setting, you will find being a recruitment consultant rewarding.


working with randstad as a recruitment consultant

Many recruitment consultants enjoy working in this field because of the kind of experience it offers. There is a strong sales component to the position that differs from conventional sales jobs. There's no need to try and convince someone that they need your product. Clients and candidates are attentive to your work and are anxious for a deal to close. With companies constantly in search of high-quality personnel, there is no shortage of work so contact us if you're interested to learn more.

Growth opportunities abound as there are levels to the recruiting field. A driven recruitment consultant will go from sourcing entry-level management to finding top executives for major corporations.

Interested in working for Randstad as a recruitment consultant? Check out our latest vacancies and get in touch.

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