What Is a Recruitment Consultant?

Updated July 21, 2022

Knowing what a recruitment consultant job is can help you determine what you need to do to have a successful career in the field. Regardless of your previous education and professional experiences, knowing the main characteristics and responsibilities of a recruitment consultant role can help you prepare for the job. Getting a job as a recruitment consultant can be a valuable career move, but it requires knowledge and determination. In this article, we discuss what a recruitment consultant is, what they do, how you can become one and what the most important skills for the role are.

What is a recruitment consultant?

The main role of a recruitment consultant is working with companies that are looking to hire new personnel and finding the most qualified candidates for the open positions. This involves working closely with hiring companies to understand their requirements and create recruitment strategies accordingly, but also with job applicants, to discover their strengths and competencies. Aside from matching organizations with potential employees, the recruitment consultant also offers both parties advice on how to improve their recruitment process and career prospects, respectively.

Related: How To Find a Consultant Job

What are a recruitment consultant's main duties?

Being the link between companies and job candidates involves a diverse range of job responsibilities. Some of them are:

  • Using their networks, along with sales and marketing techniques, to find viable companies and convince them to externalize their recruiting process

  • Performing extensive research on client companies and their open positions, in order to get a better understanding of what the respective companies do, what their internal culture is, the standards they set for new employees and any other relevant piece of information

  • Visiting client companies regularly to establish positive working relationships

  • Advertising their client companies' open positions through various media, such as websites, newspapers and networking events

  • Finding potential candidates for the open positions and contacting them

  • Researching candidate databases and finding potentially suitable candidates for their clients' open positions

  • Reviewing resumes and cover letters

  • Conducting tests and interviews with potentially suitable candidates and shortlisting the most qualified ones

  • Providing candidates information regarding the open positions and hiring organizations

  • Communicating with candidates after their interviews and discussing the results

  • Negotiating employee salaries and job benefits, as instructed by the client companies

  • Mediating any negotiation between job candidates and employers regarding salary, benefits, training and career advancement

  • Constantly reviewing and improving their recruitment policies to ensure a higher rate of proposed candidates that get hired by client companies

Related: How To Write an Impressive Consulting Resume

What is the required education for a recruitment consultant?

There is no official education requirement for the role of recruitment consultant, as soft skills are generally more important for the role than hard skills. However, most recruitment consultants with highly lucrative careers have at least a bachelor's degree in either human resources or business. Highly specialized fields, such as IT, medical or engineering, may require recruitment consultants that are knowledgeable in those respective fields. Therefore, a master's degree in a different subject than business or human resources can help you work in a recruitment consultant position for companies that specialize in your area of expertise.

What is a recruitment consultant's work environment?

Most recruitment consultants work for recruitment agencies, either general ones or those that specialize in specific areas. Major employers, especially in fields such as law and banking, prefer to hire their own recruitment consultants. The working hours are usually normal office hours, but some situations, such as a client deadline approaching, may require working nights and weekends. A recruitment consultant's salary usually consists of a basic amount plus extra performance-based compensation.

The general work environment of a recruitment consultant is similar to that of a sales professional. It is usually a high-pressure environment, with constant targets that need to be reached and professional competition between fellow consultants. The continuous pressure to meet and exceed set expectations makes the job of a recruitment consultant a psychologically demanding one.

Related: Career Options for Consultants

What are the career path options for recruitment consultants?

Given the higher emphasis on personal characteristics rather than education, you can get a recruitment consultant job with virtually any degree and even without a degree, if you convince the hiring manager that you have the skills and experience for the role. You can gain relevant experience for the role by working various jobs in areas like HR, sales, administrative work and other similar ones. Highly specialized recruitment work, in fields like engineering, accounting, law and others typically requires relevant working experience in the respective fields.

What are the most important skills for a recruitment consultant?

These are some of the most important skills for the role of a recruitment consultant:

  • Sales and negotiation skills: Recruitment consultants have many work responsibilities that are similar to those of sales professionals. They need to constantly prospect the market for opportunities and find companies that are in need of recruitment consulting. They also need to negotiate both their own fees and the employees' wages.

  • Communication skills: As a recruitment consultant, you are likely to spend most of your time communicating with other people, as you need to constantly stay in touch with the client companies and the potential job candidates. This means you need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills, as well as very good presentation skills.

  • Interpersonal skills: Aside from constantly communicating with both parties, recruitment consultants also need to keep both engaged and cooperative. This requires the interpersonal skills to convince client companies that they have the tools to bring in top personnel, but also convince professionals to apply for the open positions that need to be filled.

  • Multitasking skills: Recruitment consultants typically need to find the right people for multiple roles within the same timeframe, so they need to be able to handle multiple tasks at a time and prioritize accordingly.

  • Time management skills**:** Given the high number of tasks performed within the same timeframe, recruitment consultants need to be able to manage their time in a way that allows them to meet their goals.

  • Self-motivation and confidence: The role of a recruitment consultant is usually very psychologically demanding, so professionals in this field need to be able to motivate themselves and have enough confidence in their abilities to get past difficult situations.

  • Teamwork skills: Recruitment consultants and their client companies typically need to work together in order to find the best candidates for each role. This means that a successful recruitment consultant needs to be able to integrate and work within a team and collaborate with all departments involved in the recruitment process.

Related: 10 Types of Consultants

Recruitment consultant salary and job prospects

According to Indeed Salaries, the average wage for a senior-level recruitment consultant in the United States is $64,837 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions that the job outlook for human resources specialists is likely to improve by 7% until 2029, which is faster than the national average.

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