Agency or In-house Recruiter: What Are You At Heart?

You have two decisions at the point where you fall into the world of recruitment. Do you work for an in-house team, or do you go for a role with a recruitment consultancy?

You might be perfectly suited to one and not the other. You might have attributes which would go far in both! So what are the pros and cons of each side? You might be nestled at your desk, in your agency-side role, speculating what it might be like to go in-house. Over to “the other side”. It could be the other way round and you might be deliberating a recruitment agency role for a bit of a change! If you’re pondering which one might be best suited to you, we’ve compiled a couple of brief lists to give you a few things to consider. Please note, that for both areas, this is just the tip of the iceberg:

What’s the difference?

Recruitment Agency Jobs


  • A commission structure, giving you the opportunity to significantly increase your base salary.
  • The possibility of working on multiple, diverse projects.
  • Unique employee benefits and company incentives.
  • The chance to develop skills in a broader range of areas/industries.
  • Developing strong communications skills through rewarding client relationships, as well as objection handling.
  • Infinite potential; if you’re good at what you do, career progression can be exceptionally rapid.
  • A work hard, play hard culture.
  • A more meritocratic environment where extraordinary achievement will be rewarded.


  • Commission is not always guaranteed (you need to make placements first)
  • You will have good months and bad months. Projects aren’t always easy to come by and rejection is a huge part of the role.
  • The pressure of cold calling and business development.
  • Difficult sales targets and the stress of a leader board type of culture.
  • Overcoming the sometimes unfair, recruitment consultant reputation.


In-house Recruitment Jobs


  • A singular focus and a deeper understanding of one organisation.
  • The security of a fixed salary.
  • The opportunity to work with and focus on a narrower range of jobs and candidates rendering you a complete expert within your business.
  • The chance to work intimately with HR (in some cases!) providing you with a richer recruitment experience. For example, you might be able to get involved with the training and development of staff, particularly where new new starters are concerned.
  • Involvement across employer branding/recruitment marketing.
  • Creating and nurturing a best practice candidate experience.
  • A stable, comprehensive benefits structure.
  • Steady objectives for promotion.


  • The in-house environment can be a lot straighter/more corporate and may not offer as much flexibility as an agency.
  • If you struggle to fill a role, you can’t just abandon it. You have to see it through to the end.
  • There is not as much variety when it comes to candidates/industries/hiring managers once you have been in your role for a while. For example, you will most likely be searching for candidates from similar industries.
  • No commission on successful placements.
  • Business buy-in on the importance of your role can sometimes be a difficulty in-house (according to members of the In-house Recruitment Network, this tends to be one of their biggest challenges).


There are pros and cons to every career path. The main decision you really need to make when it comes to recruitment, is whether you want to work on just one brand/product or whether you want to work on diverse, multiple projects. None of the pros and cons above are gospel. There will be far more discrepancies between the two areas, that even our own research can’t identify. Companies are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to stand out. Cultures are continuously evolving and altering. Nothing is standard any more.

Request a call back

Want to find out more about job advertising? Call us on 0203 196 8080 or send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


©2020 an Edge Global Media Ltd Company

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?