Do You Really Need a Specialty Recruiter?

John Krautzel
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Employers continually look for ways to balance cost-effectiveness with finding high-quality hires. Despite applicant trackers and algorithms that vet candidates, specialty recruiters represent one viable way to make a job search successful. These types of recruiters may turn someone's search for a dream job into a great match.

Why Technology Has Limits

Specialty recruiters bridge the gap between a fully automated approach and HR departments that have a human-based method of conducting a job search. A survey in 2017 done by Robert Half revealed that up to 50 percent of job seekers flat out lie on a resume, and stuffing resumes with keywords to capture the attention of applicant trackers exacerbates the problem. Cookie-cutter job descriptions posted to online job boards may not accurately represent what the position entails. As many as 61 percent of hiring managers believe, according to an iCIMS study, that recruiters have a low to moderate understanding of each job for which they recruit.

Enter External Specialty Recruiters

Job placement agencies, numbering more than 20,000 in the United States, perform a lot of the vetting for companies. The idea behind staffing agencies is to outsource the recruitment process to save HR departments money. This takes care of the paperwork, background checks, drug tests and mundane tasks ahead of having a job interview. However, bad matches or less-than-ideal hires may cost employers in the long run with higher turnover rates.

Specialty recruiters focus on one particular industry, which makes searching for jobs more targeted. An 18-month look at a job placement database shows that as many as 91 percent of successful hires come from these niche recruiters. The reason stems from the expertise these recruiters have in their field.

These hiring experts narrow their focus to a single type of job, category, industry or geographic region. Niche recruiters have a strong understanding of the skills required for a particular position based on their years of expertise. They tend to develop relationships with candidates rather than simply seeing a resume and approving the person based on written credentials alone.

The most telling aspects of specialty recruiters come from a high success rate and the ability to narrow candidates to a small, manageable amount for hiring managers. Rather than matching candidates with ideal positions using technology, computer software and algorithms match employers with the right type of recruiter. Employers may find these experts in recruitment marketplaces, much like how ride-sharing or home rental software matches a traveler's needs with the type of ride or rental they require.

Recruitment marketplaces seem to be highly successful, as firms report that as many as 50 percent of their great hires come from specialty recruitment companies. Hiring managers report more higher-quality candidates, filling positions 40 percent faster and achieving 32 percent higher fill rates. Even better, employers see a 32 percent reduction in their overall costs with specialty recruitment companies.

Job seekers in the future may soon see more and more specialty recruiters as they look for their dream jobs. If more employers get on board, there may come a time for a more human touch to the recruitment process.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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