What It Means To Be A Job Recruiter

What Is a Job Recruiter?

We all know job searching is a tedious, stressful, and complex process. Searching for qualified applicants to fill a job is equally time consuming and complex. Therefore, job recruiters are hired to do the search. Recruiters are contracted to find talent for the company. The biggest misconception is that they are hired by job seekers. Recruiters will work with job seekers, but they work for the employers. Their job is to present employers with the highest qualified,  most competitive candidates. And while recruiters will often schedule the interviews, and negotiate salary and benefits for applicants, they are not in control of the actual hiring. Consider recruiters as a resource and point of contact.

Types of Recruiters

Recruiters can be internal or external. Internal, or corporate, recruiters work to find candidates for their own company. External recruiters work for a third party. They usually work for a recruiting firm or agency, but may also work for themselves. Retained and contingency recruiters are both third party. Retained are usually used specifically for executive level positions and may be exclusive with a single company. Contingency are not loyal to one company, so they may work for many different employers.


The Process

All recruiters typically go through a similar process. First, they find qualified, competitive candidates. This may be done with provided leads, social media, or personal connections. Social media platforms such as Linked In provide more opportunities for recruiters to discover talent and easily access credentials. Once a good candidate is found, they will ask for a resume. Professionals should already be familiar with a candidate’s experience and qualifications to ensure efficiency.  If your resume interests the employer, the recruiter will set up an interview for you. Following the interview, they should request feedback from the employer. This will help the recruiter better understand the employer’s needs. It will also help the candidates prepare for future opportunities.

If you receive a resume request from a recruiter, don’t be too shy to ask for information. Find out if they have a specific position in mind for you, and when you can expect to hear back from them. However, there are also times when recruiters do not keep contact with candidates. This is because the company they are working for is their first priority. They may not have time to get back to every prospective candidate. They do not have an obligation to the job seeker. So if you do not hear back, it’s probably safe to assume that they went in another direction.

How Much Do They Make?

How much money recruiters make depends on two things; the amount of placements made, and if they are internal or external. How they earn money also depends on two things; salary and or placement fees.

Placement Fees

Placement fees are received when a position is successfully filled by a candidate placed by the recruiter. These fees provides the opportunity to have more control of their work schedule and money earned. Some recruiters work less, relying on fewer placements and enjoying more free time. Some recruiters aim for as many placements as they can, earning more money. It also depends on the firm or agency they work for. Most firms and agencies pay 15 – 25 % of the placed candidate’s first year salary.


According to Glassdoor.com, the average national base pay of a corporate recruiter in 2018 is $63,365 per year. Bigger firms such as Korn Ferry, based in Los Angeles, pay much more. Ferry works with 93% of the highest- grossing companies in the states. The average salary of their senior recruiters is $85,000, and $59,000 for the average. Keep in mind, these are salaries and do not include placement fees.

Let’s look at the average external recruiter. Lets say they earn a 20% fee with each candidate placement. If a candidate placed earns $70,000 in their first year, then they will receive $14k for that placement.  They can earn $168k per year making one placement per month, or three placements quarterly, with this placement fee. Of course, most placements will not be that consistent. For some, this is the only source of their income and they do not receive a salary. Some recruiters receive a salary in addition, usually between $30k – $50k.


So how much does this all add up to? Top Echelon, a recruiting firm network, polled their recruiters to find out their total recruiting incomes for 2016. Of those polled, 76% earned more than $100k. 41.3% earned more than $200k. And 15.7% of the Top Echelon recruiters earned more than $300k.

To summarize, there is a wide range of incomes for job recruiters. Factors that determine that income include the firm or company, how often they work, and how many candidates they place. There are many different industries one can recruit for internally. There are also many different agency sizes. One thing they all have in common is that they require dedication, patience, and good worth ethic.

Geoffrey Purkis

About Geoffrey Purkis

Geoffrey is the Founder and CEO of Seattle Web Search. He’s a web developer and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert located in Seattle, Washington with extensive experience in the field. Geoffrey specializes in helping his clients find the right combination of web, search, social, and video content to get the best results from their online marketing efforts.