Agency Versus Internal Recruiting: Where Do You Belong?

January 30, 2014 at 4:18 AM by Jordan Taylor


If you’re interested in becoming a technical recruiter or you’re already a getting started as one, you need to find your niche in the business world. Keeping one important idea at the forefront of your mind helps: your future career success is highly dependent on finding a work environment that suits you best.

You need to find out where you’ll thrive—so ask yourself a question: What’s the best workplace for a recruiter like me? At an agency firm or in-house?

The answer is going to depend entirely on your personality type, long-term career development goals, and your personal ability to recognize your natural strengths.

Here are the key differences between the positions:

  • Corporate recruiters are internal-facing
  • Agency recruiters are market-facing

Market-facing is for people who enjoy fast-paced relationship management within a sales environment. Internal-facing, on the other hand, entails being savvy with larger business management strategies, and sometimes carrying out administrative HR functions.

In a way, it all boils down to what you value: large-scale business knowledge or sales and marketing? The following graphic compares some common facets of each sector side by side:


Questions to ask if you’re considering an in-house Corporate Talent Acquisition position

  • Is more business responsibility something that interests me? Will I enjoy administrative-focused tasks like tracking job ads; tracking applicants; carrying out and improving the interview process; and keeping up with formal documentation? Does understanding employment laws interest me?
  • Does making a meaningful impact on an organization matter to me? Would I network and work well with business leaders?
  • How does the company’s leadership value their hiring culture? Do they truly want to obtain the best talent?
  • What are my long-term career goals? Do I want to manage teams or play a pivotal role in larger business processes?

Questions to ask if you’re considering an Agency Firm

  • If I join a recruiting agency, can I specialize in tech talent—or will I have to work on more generalized positions?
  • What’s the reputation of the firm I am looking to join? Are they respected or viewed as dodgy sales people eager to close deals rather than land meaningful talent?
  • Is there a solid training program for me? How would it compare to taking on a corporate role?
  • What motivates me more: a sales environment or growing my knowledge for career success and progression?

There’s a lot to take in when considering what’s best for you. Honestly, some recruiters have to experience both worlds to truly know what's for them

To learn more about the issues, network with experts on both sides of the fence. Create Quora questions for thought leaders in the recruitment space to answer, helping to fuel your decisions (make sure you’re clear about your strengths and weaknesses, and openly present them on the forum).

The blunt truth is that both types of recruiters can learn a lot from each other. In reality, the gap between the two can be bridged. If both sides are dedicated to finding the best talent—they should consider openly sharing their leading strategies and methods.