So what does a Recruiter really do?


I’m often asked, what does a Recruitment Consultant actually do (other than just send CVs to clients as many people think!) and why do we have them?

Professionally, a recruiter’s role can often be misconstrued. Firstly, you need to understand that the Recruitment Consultant does not work for the job seeker. They work for the company looking to hire. They are likened to an intermediary or broker – linking potential candidates who meet the key criteria to organisations currently recruiting staff.

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Recruiter’s qualifications

When hiring a Recruiter to fill a role, you should be looking for someone who is tenacious, responsive, keen to learn about your organisation and culture, results- focused with an affinity for working with people. The same applies when considering registering with a Consultant – remembering that they will only put you forward for roles that they feel you are an excellent fit for, as it’s their reputation on the line. Many long term consultants will have a strong network that provides referrals to prospective candidates – that’s why an organisation pays them! A top Recruiter will build up knowledge of their market sector and develop strong sustainable relationships with key clients and candidates – sustainable being the key word here, not churning and burning! A Recruitment Consultant will specialise in a specific industry and often their experience comes directly from working in that area themselves, prior to their career in recruitment

At many agencies, a Recruitment Consultant will specialise in a specific industry and often their experience comes directly from working in that area themselves, prior to their career in recruitment. This expertise can be extremely advantageous. With an operational understanding of the role requirements, the Consultant can develop a strong understanding of the cultural fit of both the business and immediate team where the vacancy sits. This information can then form the brief for the role and allow the Consultant to initially utilise their own existing networks to find the right person. Furthermore with a good overarching understanding of the industry and the organisation, they can tailor their vacancy advertisements in relevant media channels and build significant social media followings to develop their networks even more and reach out to find the right candidate for the right role, every time. Note I say right, not best, as you may be the best in your field but if the organisational values don’t match with yours then the role will not be ‘right’ for you.

What they actually do

It is the job of the Recruiter to assess a potential candidate for the role on offer. This is where they build credibility with both their clients and candidates. A company paying for a service does not want their time wasted nor do they generally wish to make a short term hire (unless specifically for a contract or temporary role). The candidate wants to build rapport and connect. By having a thorough understanding of not only the role but the company and the team, the Consultant can shortlist through a combination of techniques including behavioural interviewing, specific skills and aptitude testing along with personality profiling. If a Consultant doesn’t work through at least some of these techniques alarm bells should ring – for either the client or the candidate! Remember you are all looking for long term placements.

Once the role is at shortlist stage the Consultant then needs to move into facilitator mode. This is where it is important that they have built trust with candidates in order to be able to manage the process through repeat interviews, salary negotiations, reference checking and final offers. Unsuccessful candidates should be provided feedback sensitively and hiring managers advised of any specific arrangements or concerns raised by referees. Again, ensure this part of the process happens – otherwise the consequences can be dire.

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Essentially a Recruiter is not someone who simply matches a set of skills but a true consultant who endeavours to completely understand the business and culture of their clients in order to meet the career and personal motivations of their candidates. When that happens successfully, everyone wins.

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Kathie Kelly

Kathie is the Director of Square Pegs Consulting which was founded to provide affordable assistance to not for profits, businesses and individuals with recruitment/HR, resume writing, tender submissions and business sales coaching. Kathie has spent a number of years in recruitment, workforce planning, marketing/business development and community/corporate partnerships in both NZ and Australia.

As a keen follower of the arts Kathie has also been on the board of the Anywhere Theatre Festival, loves to travel and is an avid rugby league follower. You can connect with Kathie on LinkedIn at