What Is a Startup Recruiter?

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If you are launching a new business, you may rely on the help of a startup recruiter to staff your company and ensure you are set up for success. This type of recruiter is specially trained to match skilled job candidates with opportunities available at startup companies. They have a network of talent pools to choose from and are ideally qualified to help match candidates to your needs. When you are just starting out, it can be useful to have the task of filling roles and scaling up taken care of by someone with a background in that area.

Startup Recruiter Definition

Startup recruiters are professionals who connect companies with those who can fill available roles. Typically, companies pay a small fee to a recruiter for their services, with the expectation they recommend qualified individuals who can help make their company thrive.

You might wonder, what are the skills required for a recruiter? Success as a recruiter requires the ability to build networks of professionals and companies and accurately match them. Recruiters are responsible to the businesses they serve and the professionals they match, creating partnerships that benefit both parties. Over time, through word of mouth, an excellent recruiter will gain a reputation for their abilities and can thereby grow their business.

Recruiters should have good sales and marketing skills, both to sell themselves as professionals and to convince their clients that a job or candidate is right for them. Familiarity with employment law and a background in human resources can go a long way toward improving a recruiter’s ability to succeed, as well.

Education and Skills for Startup Recruiters

Depending on their specialization and specific industry, startup recruiters may need varying levels of education. It is possible to work in this field with just a high school diploma, although you might wish to obtain a bachelor or master’s degree in a related field such as human resources or management. Knowledge of employment law and human resource regulations, as well as experience with personnel files, background checks and employment record checks, are essential to the role.

To be an effective recruiter, it’s important you possess people skills. Excellent communication skills and interpersonal abilities are hugely important to recruiting work. Also, you will need to be a thorough problem-solver, as you will often be tasked with matching available candidates to specific positions in original ways. Since you are effectively “selling” candidates to companies and vice versa, you’ll need to have sales and marketing skills. The ability to negotiate well is also important to a role in recruitment.

Due to the highly virtual nature of the hiring process today, recruiters must also be proficient in the use of computers and the internet. Many companies have HR software you may be required to use during the recruitment process. Applicants could, for instance, have to submit their background checks through an HR portal. Being aware of a wide variety of these software types can help recruiters pave the way for their use by applicants and companies alike.

Some recruitment activities may take place via social media. Also, startup recruiters may look to these tools as a way to market their businesses. Comprehension of a variety of social media platforms and how they are best used is an important skill of a modern recruiter. Text messaging or email may be used now more frequently during the recruitment process than it was in the past, so this, too, is important to be familiar with.

An important skill set for startup recruiters is also search engine optimization or SEO. SEO dictates how easy it is for search engines like Google or Bing to find your website. Your ranking in a search depends on a series of complicated algorithms that are always evolving, but may include things like your site traffic, the value of the content on your site and the use of popularly searched terms in your content. As a startup recruiter, you will need to learn how to effectively market the roles you are looking to fill on the internet, as many job seekers turn to online searches before anything else today. Furthermore, a great grasp on SEO best practices will allow you to market yourself and your services to potential clients.

As a startup recruiter, specifically, it’s essential that you be capable of seeing the big picture. You’ll be tasked with understanding the long-term goals and growth strategies of the companies you work for. Also, you need to understand their line of work and the skill sets of the roles they’re looking to fill well enough to staff adequately. For better or worse, the staff members that a company brings on when first starting out will make a tremendous impact on their longevity and success in the future. Startup recruiters are entrusted with bringing on precisely the right staff, and doing so can be a huge boost to your reputation as a recruiter.

There are organizations that offer training to recruiters, including the National Association of Personnel Services. By taking courses from organizations like these, you can gain titles like Certified Personnel Consultant, Certified Temporary Staffing Specialist or Certified Employee Retention Specialist. Graduating from a certificate program that enables you to use one of these titles can make a big difference in your career as a recruiter making it clear to potential clients you have the skills that you need for successful recruiting.

In addition to training and education, those who are pursuing a career as a startup recruiter should consider their inherent traits. Due to the nature of the work, recruiters must be patient, courteous and sensitive. They should also be calm under pressure since startup recruiters need to adapt and deal well with risk, stress and chaos. Since many recruiters are working to convince people and companies they would be a good fit together, a healthy degree of confidence is required.

What Is a Recruiter's Salary?

Depending on the conditions of your employment, you can expect to earn anywhere from $33,000 to $73,000 per year working as a recruiter. This is dependent on the years of experience and education you have, as well as the geographic area where you live. If you run your own business or are self-employed, you could anticipate a salary on the higher end of that range. The average salary for a recruiter is about $48,266. Recruiters report average bonuses of about $4,045, profit sharing of $1,974 and commissions of $8,364.

If you’re looking for ways to expand your salary as a recruiter, consider focusing on building your network. The broader your network, the more likely you are to receive additional referrals and be able to bring in more business. Doing great work builds your reputation of excellence, which also helps you get referrals.

Working to gain degrees or certificates that showcase your abilities as a recruiter or human resources professional can also help propel you toward greater earnings in the future. The more impressive your qualifications, the greater the chance that a company you wish to work for will start you at a higher-than-entry-level salary. If you are already working as a recruiter but have gained many years of experience or a degree or certificate since becoming employed, ask your superiors for a compensation increase. If they aren’t in a position to reevaluate your earnings at this time, you might be able to enter at a higher income level with another company due to your experience and education.

How Are Recruiters Paid?

The way a recruiter gets paid for their work depends on the unique arrangement they have with their clients. Most startup recruiters are external recruiters rather than employees, though some companies do have a recruitment team on staff within the human resources department. When considering external recruiters, there are several different types, each of which can have a slightly different pay structure.

Retained recruiters are paid upfront to fill a particular job and work exclusively with the company to do so. In this scenario, a business typically employs just one recruiter or company. This arrangement can mean that the hiring process is slower since recruiters work closely with their client to ensure that those brought in for consideration are exactly what the company is looking for. Screening and interview processes are discussed ahead of time, and the recruiter is often the one who interviews candidates. Generally speaking, a retained recruiter could cost a company as much as half of the salary for the position they’re looking to fill.

Another type of external recruiters, called contingency recruiters, only get paid when they find the right candidate for the job. Often, they are compensated at a quarter of the candidate’s expected salary. In some instances, a company will use both a contingency recruiter and their internal team to fill a role. It’s in the best interest of the company to fill the role themselves since it will save them a great deal of money. As a result of this competition to find the best possible candidate, contingency recruiters often fill jobs faster than others.

Finally, contained recruiters collect a portion of their fee up front and are paid the rest when the job is filled. Contained recruiters work closely with employers but cost less than retained recruiters, which makes them a good choice for some smaller companies.

Tips for Job Seekers

When you’re looking for a job, working with a recruiter can be beneficial. After all, in many cases, recruiters only get paid if they find someone to fill a particular role. As such, it’s in their best interest to serve your best interests. Consequently, it’s important that you have a strong sense of what you are looking for before meeting with a recruiter. Sometimes, they may be more likely to match you with a job that meets your skill set but may not interest you, because they are trained to identify strengths of candidates and match them to available roles.

Since many recruiters get paid a percentage of the salary you’ll be offered in your new role, they will work hard to get you in at the highest possible earning level. This is excellent news for job seekers. It’s OK to speak openly with your recruiter about how much money you are hoping to earn. Shoot a little on the high side and see if they can help you achieve your financial goals.

Finally, be sure to keep in mind that, ultimately, a recruiter works for the company whose job they need to fill. In many cases, the interests of you, the recruiter and the company will be aligned, however, this isn’t always the situation. But this can also work to your benefit as a job seeker since recruiters are trained to help you get a job. They know the hiring company intimately and may be able to provide the right job seekers with some excellent advice and guidance to help them ace their interviews and get hired.


About the Author

Danielle Smyth is a content writer and social media marketer from upstate New York. Her company, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, services clients in a variety of industries.