Frequently Asked QUestions
Recruiters, Recruiting, and Recruitment

I am interested in learning about recruiting in general.

I want to learn about how companies use recruitment.

I am a candidate learning about how to work with recruiters.

Recruiting in General

What is recruiting?

Recruiting is the process of adding functional capacity to your organization through the hiring of employees.

What are the main steps in a recruitment process?

There are seven main steps in a recruitment process: requistion, sourcing, screening, interviewing, selection, hiring, and onboarding.

What is end-to-end recruiting?

End-to-end recruiting (also called full life cycle recruiting) is a holistic recruitment strategy that is fully inclusive of the complete set of steps in a recruitment process.

How do I know who is recruiting right now?

Companies often use some form of recruitment marketing to advertise jobs, although executive searches are sometimes confidential for various reasons.

What is recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)?

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) involves contracting with a recruitment firm to handle all or part of the recruitment process.

Why do companies use external recruiters?

Companies often work with external recruiters when they have a special hiring need.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Diversity is the mix of attributes and backgrounds of employees in a workplace. Inclusion is a context that empowers a diverse workforce to work together. A common way of expressing the difference between diversity and inclusion is: "Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance."

What a recruiter is.

What is the definition of a recruiter?

An individual who is working to find qualified candidates for hire to fill job openings in businesses or organizations.

What is an executive recruiter?

An executive recruiter is a person who conducts searches for executive level leadership, generally Director-level or above.

What does a recruiter do?

A recruiter’s job includes writing job descriptions, sourcing and screening candidates, negotiating compensation and hiring terms, and guiding candidates through the interview process.

How recruiters get paid.

How does a recruitment agency make money?

When a candidate that was sourced by the recruitment agency gets hired, the recruiter gets paid a fee based upon the compensation package.

Who pays recruiter fees?

Recruiter fees are paid by the company who hired the recruiter. Candidates are not charged fees as with a placement agency.

Can a recruitment agency charge candidates?

Reputable recruiters generally do not charge candidates.

What is a typical recruiter commission?

Commissions for recruitment agencies vary between 15-30% of the candidate's negotiated salary or total compensation package.

Recruitment for Companies

Featured Questions

What are the biggest challenges to changing a company culture?

How can my company improve culture alignment?

How does career pathing improve my company's retention rate?

When does prioritizing diversity take precedence over experience and capabilities?

What is the difference between culture fit and culture add?

What are some ways to redefine employee engagement?

Is LinkedIn still an effective recruiting tool?

How has candidate sourcing changed with the increase of remote work opportunities?

What recruitment is.

What is recruitment?

Recruitment is the process of adding function to your company through the attempt to find and attract candidates who will contribute an add to your company culture.

Why is recruitment important and necessary?

Your company's recruitment process can make the difference whether your hiring process runs quickly, and ahead of the competition. You can be offering a great product or service, but if you have difficulty in recruiting and retention of talent, your company will have trouble thriving, and even surviving.

What is the difference between recruitment and hiring?

Hiring is one of the seven steps of a recruitment procees which involve making an offer, negotiating an employement contract, and signing a hiring document.

What is the difference between recruitment and staffing?

Recruitment is a subset of staffing that refers to the process of searching and attracting talent to a company. Staffing is a broader term that also includes the active employment, development, and retention of hired employees.

What is the difference between recruitment and talent acquisition?

Recruitment is a component of talent acquisition that invoves the active elements of finding and hiring employees. Talent acquisition includes recruitment, but also focuses on more general aspects of employment, such as developing your employment brand and company culture, and developing internal career paths, that take a longer term view of employement with your organization.

Paying for recruiters.

Are recruiting agencies worth it?

There are two main reasons why it pays to use a recruitment agency. The first is when the bandwidth of your internal human resources department would be stretched too thin by taking on all of the recruitment functions. The second is that using an external recruitment agency can identify and attract passive candidates who aren't necessarily out looking for a job, and may be working for a competitor.

What are typical recruiter fees or commissions?

Recruitment agencies typically charge between 15 and 30 percent of the total compensation package.

How do recruiting firms make money?

Recruiting firms most typically earn a flat commission on the compensation package of a new hire, however may also earn money by charging a markup on ongoing wages.

Job Seekers and Recruiters

Featured Questions

What is your best tip to connect with a job interviewer?

How long should a resume be?

How important is the ability to pay attention to detail to a recruiter?

Is it true that recruiters will frequently not return phone calls?

What can I do to get started with a LinkedIn profile?

What a recruiter does.

Are recruiters part of HR?

How do recruiters work?

Can I use a recruiter to find me a job?

What is the difference between the recruiter and the hiring manager?

What is the difference between a recruiter and a headhunter?

What is the difference between a recruiter and talent agent?

Working with a recruiter

Is it better to go through a recruiter or make a direct application?

What to put in a cover letter to a recruiter?

Are recruiters confidential?

What are recruiters looking for?

Featured Questions

When does prioritizing diversity take precedence over experience and capabilities?

The reasoning behind “prioritizing diversity” when hiring, could be somewhat problematic, but likely not for the reasons that many people may think off the top of their heads. The challenge here is in understanding that diversity is not an individual trait, but an emergent property.

According to Systems Innovation, “emergence describes a process whereby component parts interact to form synergies, these synergies then add value to the combined organization which gives rise to the emergence of a new macro-level of organization that is a product of the synergies between the parts and not simply the properties of the parts themselves.”

Taking in this definition we can more clearly see the potential problem in that hiring managers may easily make the mistake of using race or ethnicity as a simple proxy for diversity. While certainly related, these are not the same thing. When we parse out race or ethnicity in the same way that we might look at a skill- as something to be ticked off on a checklist- then we run the risk of adopting the same sort of dehumanizing attitudes that perpetuate discrimination in the first place.

Instead, hiring managers should be thinking of meronymy- that is to say- the relationship of part to whole. A business organization is like an ecosystem- and research shows that a system’s resilience is directly linked to its diversity. Ensuring that the actors in a business system contribute diverse backgrounds and histories helps to increase the odds of transforming a crisis into an opportunity for innovation.

In support of this aim, hiring managers would do well to pay extra attention to the race or ethnicity of candidates in the sense that this may be a positive indicator of potential to contribute to the diversity of the organization at large. But it doesn’t end there. Rather it should be used as a signal to begin exploring at a deeper level whether or not this individual trait of a particular candidate, indeed aligns with the critical goal of maximizing organizational diversity.

To this end, an effective hiring manager will employ behavioral interview techniques to discern if and how a candidate has responded differently to commonly found challenges in the workplace. If the candidate is able to articulate concrete examples of taking a unique approach to a difficult situation, this is a good sign that they will be able to contribute positively to the diversity of the organization as a whole.


What is the difference between culture fit and culture add?

Sustaining diversity in an organization is an essential element of maximizing its resilience. An overly homogenous workforce increases the risk of failing to produce novel ideas or innovations when you need them most- such as in times of unexpected crisis.

This is why organizations are now thinking more in terms of culture add, than culture fit. Similarity-attraction bias can lead to hiring of candidates that possess similar personality traits and attitudes. This can be especially true with internal referral programs, in cases where employees have not been given diversity training

Culture add is about thinking in terms of what sort of novel characteristics a candidate can bring to your organization, rather than how they would fit in with what is already present. This is a great way to ensure a diverse and resilient workforce that will be best prepared for the unexpected future.


What are the biggest challenges to changing a company culture?

The two main enemies here are vagueness and ambiguity. This is why defining culture around nebulous things like “attitudes” or “values” don’t give us anything we can sink our teeth into. It leaves too much wiggle-room for wishful thinking and goalpost-moving. Culture needs to be defined around measurable outcomes, not lofty intentions, and in making this shift the pathway to success will be revealed.

The key here is to define culture around behaviors that are observable and measurable, rather than making vague statements around “values” or attitudes. Company values are still important, but it’s time to stop using “values” as an excuse to avoid diversity in the workplace. Defining culture around measurable behaviors yields something to actually be accountable to.


How can my company improve culture alignment?

One of the things we advocate for is defining workplace culture around behaviors, in contrast to attitudes or values. The main reason for this is that it closes the loop on wishful thinking and guesswork around who is actually displaying the culture, and who is not.

When culture is defined around values, it is near impossible to determine who is being authentic and who is merely putting on a show. This invariably leads to internal conflict and bad feelings among employees. On the other hand, behavior-based definitions of company culture give everybody something concrete that can be pointed to and plainly observed by all, as well as be demonstrated in an unambiguous way by leadership.

The end result is a much cleaner employee experience that leaves less to the imagination, and more to become aligned around.


What are some ways to redefine employee engagement?

The first thing for HR to understand is employees feeling empowered to bring their “whole selves” to work, is that one’s authentic “whole self” is not all rainbows and butterflies. People need to feel comfortable sharing sides of themselves that are not so pretty and polished, and that means making it OK to not have to always put your best foot forward.

The main way that HR can demonstrate this is by getting real with their employees (and themselves) about the downsides and challenging aspects of their workplace. The truth is, nobody really expects their job to be the sort of thing that causes them to jump out of bed every morning out of sheer excitement that they get to work another day at the “Best Company in the World.” And that’s OK, because it doesn’t have to be.

Yet, this is the kind of image that is often portrayed by HR departments. It is inauthentic, and everybody knows it. So if you want your employees to be real with you, then it is imperative that you set the tone by being real with them and aim to portray an accurate image of your organization. Warts and all.

By all means, highlight your organization’s strengths and advantages. But consider this: Would you hire a candidate who refused to acknowledge one shortcoming or area for growth? Of course not. So why should you expect employees to accept a similar attitude from the HR department? The good news is that it takes a lot less effort to portray an accurate image of your organization, than a false one. You do not need to pretend that your place of work is somehow also a carnival- where something new and exciting is just around every corner. In turn, your employees will no longer have expectations that can seemingly never be met, and their experience will actually improve.


How does career pathing help my company's retention rate?

Offering a clear and unambiguous career path for your employees is one of the top ways to increase your retention rate, however it is also a key factor in improving your talent acquisition. When prospective candidates are able to see themselves not only in the job position currently for hire, but can also envision themselves advancing through your organization, this makes your company look that much more attractive. This is especially true for diversity candidates who are looking for signals of inclusion and belonging in your organization. Finally, including a paragraph about career paths and advancement in your job descriptions is a great way to make them stand out and showcase your company’s commitment to employee development.


Is LinkedIn still an effective recruiting tool?

As executive recruiters, LinkedIn remains one of the top sources we use on a regular basis to identify passive candidates. As a sourcing tool, it remains just as useful today as it was over a decade ago when we started our business. However, more recently, especially over the last year or so, it has become more difficult to use, for a few reasons.

The primary challenge is the additional time it takes to separate the signal from the noise when using the platform. Part of it is simply due to the increased input resulting from mass adoption. However, some of it is also due to users who do not understand how to use the system, or are deliberately misusing it.

Whereas previously I might find one or two messages in my inbox upon logging in, it is now common for me to find five or ten. Many of them are solicitations from businesses who aren’t even offering anything we would be interested in. For example, as niche recruiters for the natural products industry we often receive pitches from ingredients salespeople or product branding consultants who obviously did not take the time to learn about what our company does, and whether or not we actually are a good lead.

In addition, we have been seeing a strong uptick in messages coming from people who are very zealously trying to recruit us into a multilevel marketing business. One user became indignant and questioned my commitment to a healthy lifestyle when I simply responded that I wasn’t looking for additional income sources!

Another, more insidious, category of noise comes from users posting things that really have nothing to do with the aim of LinkedIn as a business networking platform, whatsoever. Increasingly in my feed among the normal fare of product launches and business investments, I am finding posts about conspiracy theories, discussing the news of the day, or even good old-fashioned rants.

While I’ve also seen some new tools rolled out from LinkedIn to help weed out spam and other unwanted content, it hasn’t appeared to have much of a result to date. If this continues at the current pace, we will definitely start looking for candidates on other platforms that are more closely curated, and no doubt other recruiters will begin doing the same.


How has candidate sourcing changed with the increase of remote work opportunities?

With respect to sourcing given remote working trends, what we’re finding is that certain tech skills that were not previously on the radar for many job descriptions, have suddenly become essential. With the recent explosion of video conferencing, among other remote working and collaborative apps, effective digital resource management is emerging as a top skill needed by any remote employee. Another big concern is with IPsec- knowing how to properly configure a virtual private network (VPN), using multifactor authentication procedures, and the basics of public-key cryptography are all skills that are rapidly becoming essential for the home worker.


What is your best tip to connect with a job interviewer?

Our best tip to connect with a job interviewer is to show genuine interest in what they do, and who they are as a person. Take some time to research their profiles, for example on LinkedIn and social media, and then write a personalized note which shows you have done your homework. On the back end- don’t forget to show gratitude and thank them for their time. Be real! It always helps if you refer back to something specific from the interview that you really appreciated or found particularly thoughtful.


How long should a resume be?

While it is indeed a myth that a resume should be no longer than one page, what is important is that a resume avoid, to the greatest extent possible, including extraneous information that is not relevant to the job description at hand. A focused and on-point resume demonstrates to recruiters that a candidate possesses the ability to separate the signal from the noise, which is an essential skill applicable to almost any job in the digital age.

An effective resume will clearly demonstrate that extra effort has been made to tailor specifics to the role that the applicant is applying for; the last thing a candidate wants to do is make the first impression that they are out there spamming every job posting with a generic one-size-fits-all resume. Online professional profiles, such as on LinkedIn, are considered by recruiters the proper place to have a lengthy employment history. Your resume should read more like a sell sheet than a biography.

While it is also true that a lack of experience, as indicated by a very short resume, can also be an impediment to hire, there is really no use in trying to “fluff” your resume with irrelevant content, as any seasoned recruiter will be able to see through the façade quite easily. Instead, fill up the extra space by writing an engaging “Objective” section that clearly states your professional aims, both short and long term. It can also be helpful to write a short paragraph under a specific job you held that explains in more detail why this experience would be valuable to the company you are applying with.

Finally, if there is a “gap” in your work experience, don’t ignore it and definitely don’t succumb to the temptation to “fudge” the terms of your employment. If discovered, lying about employment gaps on your resume could result in long-term or even permanent consequences regarding your future employability. Instead, take the opportunity to showcase your resourcefulness by pointing out some life skills you acquired from the time period during which you were unemployed.


How important is the ability to pay attention to detail to a recruiter?

The ability to pay attention to detail is a highly sought after employability skill that affects almost every other skill that a candidate may possess. On the other hand, its ubiquitousness in job descriptions lends it to being one of those things that job seekers simply parrot onto a resume, before they move on to seemingly more important things.

But the proof is in the pudding. Here is a recent example: we had a candidate invited to a second round of interviews for a digital marketing director role with a Health Aid / Beauty Aid (HABA) brand. Unfortunately, in the email exchanges that had ensued with the client, the candidate overlooked several small typos. The result was being edged out by another candidate and eventually dropped from the interview process altogether by the client.

It might seem a bit harsh, but in today’s hyper competitive market, clients can afford to be super picky, and if somebody didn’t take the time to spell-check an email, it leaves a hiring manager wondering if they can be trusted to lead their new digital marketing campaign.


Is it true that recruiters will frequently not return phone calls?

Some of the top complaints candidates have about recruiters is that they don’t return their calls or give adequate follow-up when things don’t move forward in a hiring process. Unfortunately, this type of short-sightedness and lack of empathy on the part of recruiters makes the hiring process more difficult for everyone. That’s why we believe that closing the loop is one of the most important things we can do as recruiters as a best practice to improve the candidate experience. Besides the obvious benefit in terms of not burning bridges, it simply the right thing to do. We’re all human, and deserve to be treated with a basic level of respect.


What can I do to get started with a LinkedIn profile?

1. First and foremost, make sure to fill out your profile completely, including a professional picture. While it may be tempting to tell yourself that you will come back to it later, having an half-finished profile is worse than having none at all. You don’t want recruiters and hiring managers thinking that you are the type of person who can’t follow through. Make sure that your profile is publicly viewable, and select the option to show you are available for job opportunities. You can also indicate that you are seeking opportunities right in your headline.

2. Speaking of recruiters and hiring managers- these are the main people you will want to connect with on LinkedIn. Start by searching for companies you would be interesting in working for, being sure to check out other companies that are marked as similar by the system. For a given company, click on the link to show you who works there, then look for the people that do the hiring. Sometimes it is obvious by their title that they are a company recruiter. Other times you might have to infer. When in doubt- look for profiles of people who you think would be your direct report. Chances are they would be involved in the hiring process at some level.

3. Finally, ask for a connection. In order to warm up your leads a bit, look to see who is posting or sharing articles and post a thoughtful comment. If they react or respond to your comment, that is your signal to reach out for a connection.

4. Before clicking the connect button, take some time to actually read the profile of the person you are connecting with, and then be sure to include something in your intro message that you found interesting about them. Resist the urge to talk too much about yourself in your intro, as this can sometimes be a bit off-putting.

5. Once you’ve connected, be sure to reach out again to say thank you. This would be the right time to tell your new connection a little bit more about yourself. Keep it brief- remember you have a fully completed profile they can view if they are interested. Instead- stick to a bullet point or two about your experience or special achievements. If you can make a concise value statement about something specific that you can offer the company as a potential employee, even better.


You may also like:

Resource Guide to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Seven Steps of a Recruitment Process
5 Ways That Employee Referral Programs Can Backfire
Why Defining Company Culture on Values is Risky (And What to Do Instead)

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