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Routes to Market Recruiters

Published 05/12/2018 11:47:00, by Marina Maher

Recruiters, Recruiters, Recruiters….
The world of recruitment, careers and jobs is a known minefield, so this guide provides key pieces of information so that you know who you are dealing with, what they do and why. 

For simplicity’s sake, typical job titles are listed to make you aware of what recruiters currently call themselves. Remember though; these can be applied to any of the recruiter types discussed below and are not exclusive to their respective type.

FYI - we use ‘hiring manager’ to describe the person who is the actual decision maker during the recruiting process within a firm or organisation. 

Type of business: Recruitment Agencies
Typical job title: Recruitment Consultant

A recruitment agency employs staff to find and place candidates in jobs, usually within a sector or location. 
A recruitment consultant works for an agency. They are salespeople, paid a salary but primarily seeking commission when they successfully place a candidate (like you) into a job. They charge the business they are placing you in for this service from which they take their commission. Their client is the hiring manager and the company they work for. 

“If a recruitment consultant asks you for money, walk away.”

Tip - Under the Employment Agencies Act 2003 a Recruitment Consultant must never charge you for the service of submitting you to a company. If they ask you for money, walk away.


  • A recruitment consultant can take some of the sting out of job searching. They usually have some inside information about the company that you are applying to, and they will try to brief you accordingly. When dealing with a recruitment agency, they will do all the brokering of offers too, so if you want to negotiate on money or terms, the agent will do this for you. 


  • Recruitment consultants are salespeople. To earn their commission, they need to make sales, in the form of multiple placements each month. To make this happen many have high targets for sales calls and CV's sent out every day. This means that unless you are contacting the consultant for a job that is open and that they are working on, you are unlikely to get hired.

Inside tips

  • Call the recruiter before sending your CV. Put them on the back foot, ask a bit about the job and the company. Don’t be surprised if they don’t tell you who the company is until you’ve agreed to go forward for the job; it’s quite common practice.
  • When speaking to the recruiter about the role ask them how long they have been working with that company. The rationale is that many recruiters are not suppliers to that specific company, but they would like to be. 
  • Make sure they are not using your CV to start a relationship with a new customer as this could have a negative effect, preventing you from getting the job. 

“Pick up the phone…you need to communicate with recruitment consultants regularly.”

  • Keep your name in the frame! Pick up the phone. When dealing with Recruitment Consultants, you need to communicate regularly. Check-ins and conversations over the phone will help to make you even more likeable to the recruitment consultant, increasing the chance of them wanting to work with you. 

Type of business: Recruitment Process Outsourcing Companies (RPOs)
Typical job title: Talent Manager/ Talent Acquisition Specialist/ Resourcing coordinator 

An RPO is usually a large-scale business that is bolted onto the company that you are applying to. Many giants like RBS, Vodafone, HSBC, Rolls Royce, Atos etc. will use an RPO to manage all their recruitment. They may be based on site at the actual company or in a support centre somewhere else in the UK. RPO’s are popular as they save the company money compared to them hiring their own internal recruitment teams. 

The recruiters that work for RPO's are not sales focused. Typically, they will get a salary and maybe a small bonus, but they are not looking to make their next deal as would an agency Recruitment Consultant. These people will quickly tell you if you are going forward with the role or not.

The likelihood is that you may not even realise you are working with an RPO as in many instances they are permitted the use of the company email address. 

Someone who works for an RPO will be more people orientated as they are not looking to make a quick sale. The quality of service must reach a given standard for the RPO to keep in line with its service level agreement with the company it is working for. They must report to the hiring manager in a very specific way and within certain timescales. 

RPO’s are very process driven, even if you managed to phone the recruiter you are likely to be forced in line with every other applicant. They don’t like to step outside of their process. 
People who work for RPO’s tend to be recruiting for more roles than an agency Recruitment Consultant, so they tend to be spread a bit thinner. 

Inside tips

  • Communication, keep following up with your contact. Remind them that you are keen!
  • Make sure your CV is well tailored to the role you’ve applied for
  • Talk to the recruiters at an RPO like you would do the actual employer 

“Talk to the recruiters at an RPO like you would do the actual employer”

Type of business: Direct Employer (the company you want to work for)
Typical job title: Recruitment Advisor, HR Coordinator, Graduate Recruitment Manager

Direct Employer means you’re applying to and dealing with someone who works at the company you are applying to. This is usually the best way to apply for a role. 

Different companies work in different ways depending on their size. Smaller companies may have the hiring manager as the one who interviews for the job. Larger businesses will have a recruitment team who usually sits with the HR team that will coordinate your application. They will arrange interviews and assessments. 

As you’re dealing with the company that you want to work for this is almost undoubtedly the best way to go about applying for a job. You can call the HR team or even write to the hiring manager; this could be a great way to get yourself noticed in front of the competition.  

It can be nerve-wracking talking directly to the employer; you could be fearful that you will say the wrong thing and that will ruin your chances of ever working there. If in doubt speak to someone in the HR team. Even if you call to introduce yourself and ask some questions about the company, it will be a warm reminder of who you are when you later send across your application.

Inside tips

  • Be quick to respond to communications from the HR teams, being polite and professional always
  • Do your research, make sure you have not only thoroughly researched the company but that you have also researched the hiring manager and the HR person/ recruiter on LinkedIn or via contacts
  • If you don’t get the job, connect with the hiring manager and the HR person/ recruiter on LinkedIn. Send them both an email afterwards thanking them for their time and how you were grateful for the opportunity to meet with them. This will make them keen to get you straight back in if a suitable opportunity comes up in the near future. 

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