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Recruiters - Which do YOU need when looking for a job?

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Tips And Advice


Are you considering using a recruiter in your job search?

If you are looking for a new job the chances are that you've been contacted by a recruiter/headhunter or are thinking of contacting one.  

Do you know the difference of those agencies reaching out to you and do you feel comfortable about working with them?

What Are The Different Types of Recruiters?

You may think all digital marketing recruiters are the same - they're not!  Most recruitment firms will have their 'thing' that they focus on and you need to think about what sort of recruiter to connect with in order to facilitate a successful job search.  Are you after a specialist role within a particular industry e.g digital marketing, are you looking for a step-up or promotion into management or are you just looking for something to tide you over for a few months?  Being clear on your needs will help you to decide which sort of agency to approach and build the best relationship you can with.

There are many types of recruiters within varying industries - here's a topline of the types of recruiters you may come into contact with; 

Internal (or In-house) Recruiter / Talent Acquisition 

This is one of the most common types of recruiter.  They are company employees who are paid to find, hire and retain employees for the business that they work for and they won't be 'bonussed' on finding and hiring you. They will often work across all functions and not specialise in any particular role. 

Temp/Contract Recruiter

If you are seeking temporary or contract work this will often be the type of recruiter you will use. It is important to note that when you are hired by this type of agency you will actually be their employee, but working for and being managed by their client. The client will pay the agency for your work, and the temp agency will then pay your wages, taxes, insurance and any benefits you may be entitled to.

Contingency Recruiter

A contingency recruitment agency is most often chosen by a client when their in-house recruiters can't manage the workload OR when hiring a niche role (such as ecommerce). A contingency recruiter will do the initial screening, interviewing and admin associated with the hiring process on behalf of the hiring company.  The candidate does not need to pay anything to their recruiter as they get remunerated by their client (either via a flat fee or a % of salary). 

Retained Recruiter

A retained recruiter will work in a similar way to a contingency recruiter, however the consultant will often prioritise a retained client vs a contingent one.  They are often used for higher level positions (CMO, Head of Ecommerce, Digital Marketing Director), specialist roles (such as Senior Acquisition Manager or Growth Managers) or where time is of the essence and a hire needs to be made urgently.  They will be paid a 'retainer fee' by the client with the remainder due upon a successful hire. 


Head-hunters are the recruiters that source and find top talent (often, but not always, for big companies). It is their mission to find talented individuals that may be hiding away/that other recruiters can't find and introduce them to their client. They will often hire for very senior positions such as C-suite roles. Having a great relationship with a good headhunter is highly recommended. 

It's important to note that each type of recruitment agency will have different ways of working. Some will be generic, whilst some will be specialist and it's vital to choose the right type of agency to support your search.

If you're looking for an ecommerce job or role in digital marketing, please contact one of our specialist consultants. They'd love to chat!

Supporting information

How to be a standout candidate

How to make yourself stand out to a hiring manager

Top Tips - How to job hunt during a pandemic

CV Tips for Digital Marketers and Ecommerce Professionals

Reducing the stress of job hunting


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