What are the Different Types of Recruitment?

Time to Read: 3.9 minutes

Updated: April 11, 2024

Are you one of the 93% of organizations planning on hiring this year? If so, using a recruitment service can offer many benefits to your business. Many companies rely on HR teams and internal recruitment functions, but recruiters often have a wider candidate reach and can connect with candidates from many talent pools, including passive candidates who make up 70% of potential candidates, according to LinkedIn. Using some form of recruitment can also be more efficient and faster than going it alone. But what are the different types of recruitment?

We’re breaking down the most common types of recruitment for you and the pros and cons of each so you can decide which is best for your business and your talent needs.

Four Different Types of Recruitment Approaches

There are many distinct types of recruitment agencies, staffing, or talent acquisition services available to employers. Each one specializes in a unique type of recruitment and knowing which approach will work best for your talent needs can be confusing.

Here are the most common types of recruitment agencies, how they operate, and what kinds of candidates they can support with:

1. Contingency Recruitment

Contingent recruiters are the most common type of recruitment agency. Working for multiple clients and filling hundreds, if not thousands, of vacancies. They utilize job boards, cold calling, and online databases to find candidates. They will then pass these resumes to their end client to screen and arrange interviews.

Contingency recruiters receive commission once a role is filled with a suitable candidate and this can be an extremely cost-effective way to fill large volumes of vacancies for non-specialist or easy-to-fill positions. They are a great solution for businesses experiencing a sudden and short-term demand for candidates.

2. Executive Search

When companies are looking to fill senior and C-suite level positions they use Executive Search recruiters or services, also known as retained recruitment firms. As hiring processes for senior-level positions typically take longer than other vacancies, executive recruiters are paid a retainer, with the remainder of the fee paid when the role is filled.

Executive search recruiters use their extensive industry networks to compile a list of potential candidates, this will usually include passive candidates (i.e., those not actively job hunting), not unlike a head-hunter. Fees are usually expensive, but the retainer means that they are invested in finding you a suitable candidate, guaranteeing their time and attention.

3. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

RPO service providers are responsible for every aspect of a company’s hiring strategy. As well as sourcing candidates for specific roles, they work to streamline and plan the entire talent acquisition process. Thanks to their expertise, industry knowledge, and in-depth networks they can save businesses time and money as well as improve their employer brand and make them high-quality hires.

RPO companies charge ongoing management fees, but they can also come on board for fixed-term contracts focused on improving specific aspects of your hiring process. This is known as “on-demand” RPO.

Which Type of Recruitment Service is Best for You?

To determine which type of recruitment agency or approach is best for your needs you should consider the following questions.

  • What type of vacancies are you hiring for?
  • How quickly do you need those vacancies filled?
  • How much are you willing and able to spend per vacancy?
  • How many positions do you need filled?

The answers to those questions will help you decide which type of recruitment agency to approach.

You Should use a Contingency Recruiter If:

  • You have large amounts of vacancies you need to fill
  • The positions are non-specialist or easy to fill
  • There is an internal hiring manager who has time to screen resumes and arrange interviews

You Should use Executive Search If:

  • You are seeking senior-level or C-suite candidates
  • You want access to industry-specific networks
  • Time and cost are not urgent factors

You Need RPO If:

  • Internal hiring infrastructure can’t support your hiring needs
  • You need a recruitment strategy personalized to your business
  • You want to improve your employer brand to boost talent acquisition and retention
  • Maximizing recruitment ROI by shortening hiring times and lowering costs is a priority

For those organizations experiencing unprecedented growth or startup businesses without established internal hiring practices and resources, RPO is often the best, and most efficient solution.

Get an All-inclusive Talent Acquisition Solution

Is your organization experiencing growth but lacks the internal recruiting infrastructure to support scaling your teams quickly? Pierpoint’s RPO solutions can help you meet your hiring needs by providing flexible solutions and the tools, technology, and expertise to attract and retain the best talent, maximize your spend and exceed your business goals. Contact a solutions designer to learn more about how our RPO solutions can meet your hiring needs.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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