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How to Become a Recruitment Consultant: Explore Jobs & Career Paths

Suppose you are aspiring a career as a recruitment consultant. In that case, the first thing that comes to mind is how to become a recruitment consultant. If you are thinking the same, I assume, you’ve bumped into the right place!

So, read the following blog to get a clear understanding regarding the recruitment consultant and step into a career that helps others in getting employment.

Table of Contents

What is a Recruitment Consultant?

Generally, a recruitment consultant is a person whose job is to give expert advice to people looking for skilled or specialised jobs. He/she also advises companies looking for experienced or technical workers. That is to say; recruitment consultant is a middleman between an organisation which is the client, and the individual seeking a career means the candidate.

Fundamentally, it’s a sales role, with high rewards for excellent results. Also, consultancies or agencies come in many shapes and sizes, from small local businesses to national and international enterprises. 

However, many consultancies are industry-specific or are subdivided into industry-specific sections so that the consultant will be recruiting similar posts for different clients. For example, one consultant might only take on clients in the finance sector.

Types of Recruitment Agency

To become a recruitment consultant, you have to enrol with a recruitment agency. And, to choose the right one for you, you need to know the nitty-gritty of each different type of recruitment agency. In this part of the blog, we’ll discuss the four types of recruitment agencies.

Different Types of Recruitment Agency
Figure: 4 Types of Recruitment Agency​

1. Agency based on Contingency

Contingency-based agencies are typically known as employment agencies. They work with client companies to find suitable candidates. Besides, they match a candidate’s qualifications and skills according to the company’s requirements. After collaborating the criteria, a consultant will conduct a short interview and check the reference or background.

Some agencies charge a flat fee to the client company. But many firms ask for a percentage of the candidate’s first salary also. However, the candidates go through a conditional period first and then the agency is paid only if the candidate successfully finishes the probationary period. 

However, contingency-based agencies are usually famous for administrative jobs.

2. Retained Search agencies

Retained agencies usually handle senior-level positions in the industry. People also call this type as executive search firms. In this type, the client company pays the agency a non-refundable fee. Also, it requires advance payment to fill a position. However, the remaining amount is paid once the client company hires an employee. In short, the retained search agency finds candidates to meet the criteria mentioned by the client company.

Female candidate giving interview to a recruitment consultant

3. Temp Agency

A temp agency is also called a staffing agency. It usually hires employees to fill substitute positions in an organization. It happens because of seasonal increases or an employee leaving the organization temporarily. For instance, maternity leave. These agencies provide candidates who work for that specific time.

In such jobs, usually, the employers pay an hourly rate for the candidate they hire. Moreover, the temp agency will have to pay the candidate’s wages, benefits etc. Also, temp agencies act as a bridge between temporary jobs and full-time employment.

4. Niche Recruiting Agency

Such a recruitment agency is responsible for enrolling skilled candidates. They work for corporations that need employees who are specialised in a particular discipline. To illustrate, electronics recruitment agencies or Aeronautics recruitment agencies are some examples that come under this category. 

Therefore, a niche recruitment agency ensures that a candidate is highly skilled and perfectly matches the criteria of a client company.

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Why is a Recruitment Consultant Hired?

Now, you are probably thinking that why companies hire a recruitment consultant. Well, there is multiple importance of hiring a recruitment consultant. Some of which are:

Duties and Responsibilities of a Recruitment Consultant

As a candidate, you have to trust the consultant to put you forward for roles which are best suited for you. However, companies authorise their consultant to uncover the best individuals for the positions they need to fill. Therefore, the recruitment consultant works as a media for the candidate and the employer, until the candidate gets the job and starts work with the company. 

Also, all communication related to interview dates, salary, employment terms, start date, etc. go through the recruitment consultant. It means an employer would hardly have a session with the candidate without the recruiter being present.

Recruitment consultant shaking hand with a candidate

The vital responsibilities of a recruitment consultant are to:

Job Description

It’s hard to demonstrate a typical day in recruitment. There is no such thing! Here’s what a recruitment consultant does most of the time:

  • Recruitment consultants will gain business with clients. That is to say; they will win a task to fill a vacancy. Then they find the best entrants by advertising the role. For this, they may use the sites like job site, Monster or Reed, and LinkedIn. They may also get in touch with their contacts to find a suitable candidate; all recruiters build up a vast web of networking.
  • After that they interview the candidates to judge how efficient they are and introduce the best individual to the client. 
  • Next, they will often stay in touch with the client to make sure the candidate’s first few weeks or months have been successful.

So, the days of recruitment consultants are divided into winning business, finding candidates, interviewing them and handing them over to the client, the business who employs them.

Vital Skills of a Recruitment Consultant

  • It would help if you also enjoyed working in a high-pressure environment and the responsibility that comes with it. You’ll need to show evidence of the following:

How to Become a Recruitment Consultant?

Now that you know the nitty-gritty of recruitment consultant, let’s go to the steps of becoming a recruitment consultant straightaway!

University Course

As a graduate, you can enter into recruitment with any degree. However, some employers may prefer a subject related to the industry, like:

  • Also, many recruitment companies specialise in a sector of work. So you may be expected to have a relevant degree or industry experience. For example, a degree in pharmacy or a background in pharmaceutical sales could help you get into pharmaceutical recruitment.

Entry requirements: 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree


You may be able to get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship as a recruitment consultant.

Entry requirements: 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Working Towards this Role

You can pitch in as an office assistant in a recruitment agency and work your way up through training while doing the job and get a promotion.

Besides, you could develop your understanding of the recruitment industry by getting some experience. Whether you’re studying or looking for work, you could try:

Also, you can get work experience in relevant domains. For instance, marketing, sales or public relations can also help you develop the skills needed for a recruitment consultant. Besides, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts, you could join the Institute of Recruitment Professionals.

Choosing Right Employee

Direct Application

You can join the field of recruitment consultant by applying directly to become a recruitment consultant. That is to say; if you have experience and the right skills and attitude, you could still enter this job without a degree.


Almost 100,000 people work in recruitment consultancy. The industry provides services to all business sectors, including IT, teaching, finance, engineering and logistics. Employers range from national and international recruitment agencies to small local firms, and from specialist sector-specific agencies to those that recruit for many sectors.

Typical employers are:

However, large employers like banking and law, also employ in-house recruitment specialists. Medium-sized consultancies usually have branches nationwide, while small consultancies often have just one office providing a broad-based service to a variety of local employers.

Agencies advertise vacancies in local and national newspapers and relevant publications, including People Management and Personnel Today. Also, The Recruitment Employment Confederation’s member directory or any other directory may be useful for speculative applications.

Work Environment

As a recruitment consultant, your work will be mainly office base. That is to say; you’ll mostly do a desk job. But time is also spent outside the office, meeting with clients and interviewing candidates. Therefore a smart personal appearance is essential. Travel within the working day may be required to meet with clients.

However, overseas travel is less common unless you are working within travel-related industries or for a niche market. Overseas work is possible; nevertheless, with large companies that have overseas branches.

Work Hours

Working hours of a Recruitment Consultant

Your working day will cover the central hours of 9 am to 5 pm, that means you’ll work 38-40 hours per week. But working long hours is common and may include both early starts and evenings. 

However, self-employment or freelance work is possible. But for this, you have to obtain expert knowledge in a specialist domain. Career breaks are somewhat possible in certain circumstances but rare due to the dynamic nature of the sector.

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Remuneration of a Recruitment Consultant

Salaries can vary as per the divisions and locations. But typically your remuneration will include a basic salary and a bonus or commission according to your performance. However, this can either be an individual, team or branch bonus. In the United King, basic salaries are highest in London. Also, the promise of an initial high salary depends on your company’s sales performance.

  • As a trainee recruitment consultant, you’ll start on a basic annual salary of £15,000 to £20,000.
  • Average salaries are around £24,152But with senior consultants, earnings are in the region of £28,000 to £35,000, excluding bonuses or commission.
  • Managers with 10 to 15 years of experience and recruitment specialist can earn approximately £40,810 each year.
  • After including bonuses and commission, the total average yearly income of an experienced recruitment consultant nay surge up to £60,000 or even more.

In addition, you’ll also get extra benefits. Some of them are:

Employee Recruitment

Career Progression

As the role is target driven, promotions mainly depend on achieving and exceeding the set targets. Also, career development depends on the size and structure of the employing agency. That is to say, if you’re working for a small company, you may need to change employer or location to progress. By the way, the ability to sustain a strong performance is vital.

However, the career hierarchy may look like the following:

  • Trainee Recruitment Consultant
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Senior Recruitment Consultant
  • Principal Consultant/ Team Leader

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, to become a recruitment consultant, you have to acquire a university degree first and then try to join an apprenticeship. After that, you can gather experience by related fields or volunteering in relevant jobs. Besides, you can enter into the job field by direct application.

However, apart from the career process, I attempted to discuss all the salient points, from definition to career progress regarding recruitment consultant as a career. It will be my immense pleasure if you’ve found the blog helpful.

Lastly, check our website to get exciting career-advancing courses at an affordable price. Click Here!
Thank you, mate. Sayonara!

Recruitment Consultant Training​
Learn how to identify and interview potential employees, design successful training programs, and provide effective feedback.​
Recruitment Consultant Training​
Learn how to identify and interview potential employees, design successful training programs, and provide effective feedback.​

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