Working as a Recruiter: Pros and Cons To Decide if It’s Right for You

Updated June 24, 2022

Recruiting is a career path you can pursue within a wide range of professional industries. When determining if recruiting is a viable career opportunity for you, it can be beneficial to understand the recruiting career pros and cons. This allows you to weigh both the positives and negatives associated with working as a recruiter in order to determine if you feel it will be a positive opportunity for you. In this article, we discuss what a recruiter is and some of the key pros and cons of working in the recruiting field.

What is a recruiter?

A recruiter is a human resources professional who specializes in identifying candidates for open job positions. Recruiters may work for a single employer helping to identify candidates for each opening at the company, or they may work for multiple companies, providing recruiting services on a contractual basis independently or through an agency. A recruiter may identify candidates in a number of ways, including their existing professional connections, applicant screening and searching for candidates who have not applied and contacting them directly.

Related: Learn About Being a Recruiter

Pros of being a recruiter

Working as a recruiter can be an appealing career opportunity. There are many benefits to choosing to work as a recruiter which may make it the right choice for you, including:

Helping others

Working as a recruiter can be a professionally fulfilling occupation due to your ability to provide help to others. As a recruiter, you work to pair individuals with jobs you think they are well suited to. It can be satisfying to make a strong match that benefits the company while also providing a professional with a job they enjoy.

Related: Hiring Manager vs. Recruiter: What's the Difference?

Commission benefits

In addition to a salary, it is common for a recruiter to earn a commission when they help fill a position. For productive recruiters, this can make it a lucrative position. By earning multiple commissions in addition to your salary, you may be able to significantly increase your yearly compensation.

Related: What Is Commission Pay and How Does It Work?

Unique challenges

Working in recruiting is a career that often provides new challenges from week to week. Because you may be recruiting for companies in different fields and under different conditions with each new position, a career as a recruiter may make it easy to remain engaged with your work. This can make it an ideal professional opportunity for individuals who like being challenged or who prefer variety in their work.

Diverse options

Working as a recruiter provides you with the opportunity to choose the type of work you do. Professionals who prefer more freedom may choose to work for a recruiting agency or independently. This allows you to decide on the types of recruiting opportunities you assume responsibility for and cater to your working preferences. For recruiting professionals who prefer a more structured and consistent approach, you may choose to work for a single employer in an internal recruiting position. This provides more consistency because it stabilizes one of the key components of each recruitment.

Skill development

Working as a recruiter is an excellent opportunity to develop new skills. The soft skills important to a recruiting position include attention to detail, communication, time management, and persistence. These are broadly applicable skills that can make you a more appealing employee in a recruiting setting as well as many other fields if you decide to change your career in the future.

Personal progression

The work you do finding candidates to fill positions can also be beneficial for your personal career growth. Working in recruiting provides you with a first-hand look at the hiring and recruiting practices of the companies you interact with or work for. It also helps you to learn about the industries you provide services for. This can provide you with valuable information and experience you can use to improve the way you present yourself when seeking out new career opportunities or promotion opportunities.

Related: How To Become a Recruiter

Cons of being a recruiter

In order to make a balanced assessment of the recruiting field, it's helpful to understand some of the potential drawbacks some recruiters experience:

Challenging work

Working as a recruiter can be a demanding career choice. It involves a significant time commitment and focus while at work. Although some professionals may view this as something which makes working as a recruiter more difficult, it can be beneficial as well. For many professionals, being challenged at work helps to maintain their engagement and may result in improved performance levels and satisfaction at positive results.

Emotional bonds

When working with candidates as a recruiter, you may develop emotional attachments with individuals you feel are particularly well suited to the position, or who you like on a personal level. This can lead to emotional situations if one of your preferred candidates does not earn the position from an employer, or declines the position when an employer decides they are the best fit. Although these situations can be disappointing, they can be countered by the corresponding satisfaction that comes with making a successful connection between an employer and a candidate.

Inconsistent hours

When working as a recruiter, you may not find your schedule aligning with the traditional nine-to-five approach to work. Many of the potential candidates for a position you hope to recruit may not be available during the workday because of their current position, so it is common for communications with prospective candidates to occur in the evening or at night. It is important for a recruiter to understand how to plan your schedule in order to find other times for yourself when making extra commitments at night.

Reduced control

Because a recruiter commonly operates as a point of intermediary contact between an employer and a potential employee, it can lead to situations in which your work results are outside of your control. When a company or candidate makes a decision that you do not agree with, it may have a negative impact on your efforts to fill the position with the best candidate. It's beneficial as a recruiter to be able to take a big picture approach to your work, understanding that these situations are occasional hindrances but ones that you can overcome with effective work.

High competition

Working as a recruiter can be very competitive, which may not suit everyone. For individuals who do not enjoy competitive environments, this can make working as a recruiter an unappealing option. If you find that you work best in competitive situations, however, the high levels of competition in the recruiting field can serve as a motivating factor to help you perform at your best.

Variable compensation

Because a recruiting professional may earn a significant amount through commissions, compensation can be variable and inconsistent. Periods during which you fill a high number of positions can lead to larger paychecks, but in slower months pay can be lower than anticipated. In order to account for slower months, it can be beneficial to project your expected salary for the year and prioritize saving extra money when you are earning more to cover your expenses in leaner months.


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