Banner Default Blog

Pros and Cons of Working in the Recruitment Industry


by Will Dennis

You often hear contrasting accounts of what it’s like to pursue a career in Recruitment. Some will tell you it’s the most stressful, ‘soul-destroying’ career you could choose. Others will tell you it’s a highly fulfilling and financially rewarding career path.

But who to believe? Is it all just targets, pressure and worry, or is the feeling of joy experienced in helping people find jobs they’ll love actually the overwhelming emotion?

Sure, it depends on the person, and also the organisation and industry, but there are some general facts about working in recruitment – and that’s what I’m going to offer in this post. Take it from someone who has worked as a recruiter; what follows is a pretty definitive list of the pros and cons of working in the recruitment industry, which I know many of my colleagues and acquaintances would agree with.

Let’s start with the pros...

Working in Recruitment – the Pros:

Highly rewarded

The common counter-argument to someone saying that recruitment can be a stressful job is the financial rewards – and rightly so! It’s true: depending on the role and company, you are able to earn astronomical amounts of money if you succeed in achieving your targets, but it’s all down to you and it’s unlikely that you’ll earn a huge amount at base level.

Build up an impressive skill tool box

To be a truly successful recruiter you have to develop a number of different skills, such as:

  • Problem solving

  • Negotiation

  • Communication

  • Empathy

  • Relationship building

  • Project/event management

Developing these skills will benefit you both personally and professionally throughout your life and career, whatever direction you choose to take, making this career choice all the more rewarding in that respect.

Help candidates achieve their goals

Perhaps the most fulfilling part of the job (no, it’s not the money!) is assisting people with finding the right job for them – sometimes you can even be a part of fundamentally changing their life for the better. On an emotional level this is satisfying for both parties, and over time the honing of this art will make you a greater recruiter who can achieve more both for themselves and their employer.

Solving clients’ problems

As mentioned earlier, problem solving is a required skill for any recruiter wishing to enjoy a long career in the recruitment industry. Whilst it can be challenging, finding the solution to the issues that your clients face is both highly fulfilling and lucrative.

Every day is different

Whilst there’s a rhythm to what you’re doing, every day is in fact completely different. In fact, even if you followed the exact same routine each day, you would still experience a totally different day each time. That’s because recruitment is a people business, and your day is full of interactions with humans. And humans are by nature quite unpredictable! It never gets boring, I can tell you that much.

In addition, the required skills in each sector are constantly evolving, and the skill gaps present across industries shift over time, so it’s rare to find a market so static that it would lose your interest.

Your market is not for life

Many recruiters choose to specialise in a core market that fits with their knowledge, strengths and interest. The great news is that even if you choose to do this to be the go-to recruiter in your niche, it doesn’t have to be for life: there are many transferrable skills that mean it’s not outside the realms of possibility to make a change of markets.

Different types of roles to suit different types of people – it’s not all sales!

Within recruitment there are a number of different roles that could be right for you, depending on your skills and personality type. So, if you think you would just like helping people find work and building relationships with candidates, you can be a Resourcer or a Delivery Recruiter. If you want to do that as well as seeking out new business opportunities and forming long lasting relationships with clients, you can be a Recruitment Consultant.

If you don’t like the recruiting but love winning new business you could be a Business Development Manager, or if you want to focus on a small amount of clients and really develop relationships, you can be an Account Manager. There are more options than these of course, but you get the gist.

Have influence in global businesses

If you are doing your job right you should become a trusted recruitment partner to your clients and they should be listening to your guidance on their recruitment, because you are the expert. In this manner you can have quite a bit of influence on how they recruit and their recruitment strategy. If your clients are large global businesses, you could soon find yourself finding talent for and shaping the future of some of the biggest brands in the world.


Gain international experience easily

Due to the amazing world of technology, you are no longer limited to recruiting people in your local area and it is now possible to recruit for roles worldwide, from anywhere. This leads to the opportunity to travel around and gain international experience, and with large recruitment firms there could even be the opportunity to transfer to a different office overseas.

Get out and about to meet candidates and clients

With many office jobs there’s little opportunity to leave the desk behind and venture out into the open world, and when you do it’s often a welcome change! Thankfully, for those of us working in recruitment, there is the opportunity to do this more often than in most office-based roles. Meeting candidates and clients in person obviously strengthens your relationship with them, and most managers tend to realise the importance of those assets and will be understanding about you stepping away from your desk to attend these meet-ups.

Great incentives for hitting targets

The prospect of having firm financial targets can put people off the idea of working in recruitment, as it can be a source of pressure, but it is also important to remember the usefulness of tangible goals, and there are always incentives available for hitting them. Don’t forget, you’re in the same boat as others within the organisation too, so there’s rarely a lack of motivation and support!

You are recognised for your hard work

As a recruiter, your contributions have a direct impact on the bottom line of the business overall. Not many other professions could boast such an impact. Because of this, your hard work will be acknowledged and praised when it pays off.

It’s competitive, which pushes you to be better

There is a competitive element to working in recruitment which can be a bit of a negative for some people, but once you’re in the environment and you realise how important your work is to the business and to your team’s targets, you are likely to welcome the extra motivation from the competitive streak in your colleagues!

Potential for quick career progression

Year on year at Volt I have achieved a promotion and this has been based on success. We have had people start as consultants and because of their hard work and great achievements, rise to become Team Leaders of 8 people within 3 years. If you put the work in and generate success you can progress your career quicker than most other industries, especially if you are in a big enough company.

Of course there are cons to working in recruitment too and I’m not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes or pretend they don’t exist. Here are some of the difficulties involved in working in the field of recruitment:

Working in Recruitment - the cons:

You’ll often have to deal with problems

As a recruiter you’re the intermediary between an employer and a potential employee. Coordinating these two parties inevitably means that you will have to deal with issues as they arise. Anything from candidates dropping out of the process to a client changing the date of an interview is in your remit to communicate back to the relevant person.

You’ll have to handle rejection

Your candidate(s) won’t always get the role – that’s just a fact. Sometimes it’s something you can affect and sometimes it’s not, but all you can do is keep learning and trying to make sure you find the right candidates for your clients, and the right roles for your candidates.


It’s hard – but all things worth doing are!

Make no mistakes, some days it can be a real grind. That’s just the nature of the beast – the perfect candidate rarely just happens to email their CV to you. However, you can find happiness in recruitment, as best described in the blog post I just linked to:

“I’m a recruiter – the detective who researches, builds links, and finds the right people that perhaps would never have been found organically.

It’s a challenge, but at the end of it there is a reward for everyone involved – the candidate secures the role they wanted, the client is satisfied with fulfilling the role, my boss is happy that we did our job, both businesses profit and me…? Well, remember that most of us recruiters are full of empathy and happiness for this wonderful budding relationship. Solving the challenge and earning this reward is what makes me happy to work in recruitment.”

People change their minds

Even when your candidate gets offered the role you put them forward for, it may turn out that they choose to reject the offer. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • They received a better offer elsewhere.

  • They realised that the company wasn’t right for them.

  • With more information about the role, they decide that it’s not actually for them.

  • They are concerned about working with the people they met.

What you have to remember is that you are working with humans – complicated creatures who are driven by emotion. It happens, but what’s important is being able to dust yourself off and try again – that perfect candidate is out there!

It can eat into your weekends

Unfortunately (yet understandably) candidates can’t always answer your calls whilst you’re in the office – usually because they’re at work too! As such, conducting business can creep into the evenings or weekends whether you like it or not.

Whilst this isn’t necessarily a requirement of the job, you will find that a percentage of candidates simply won’t be able to communicate with you inside their working hours, which means if you’re not willing to talk to them outside your working hours, they effectively become unavailable to you: it’s in your best interest to be flexible and occasionally work the odd hour in the evening or at the weekend.

You occasionally have to fight against bad recruiters’ reputations

It’s quite common for people to have a negative perception of ‘recruiters’ as a whole, simply because of bad experiences with other 'bad' recruiters. Whilst these particular recruiters only represent a small percentage of the industry, their poor behaviour can act as a black mark against the profession as a whole, regardless of the good approach, abilities and reputation of the majority. 

Combating this can be tough as although you haven’t put a foot wrong, you are automatically at a disadvantage with some candidates. Having said that, this is of course all part of the challenge, and changing people’s perceptions is just another of the many rewards you can earn in the field of recruitment.


So, that’s an honest summary of what to expect when working in the recruitment industry – the good and the bad! Every profession has its pros and cons, but for me, I find that in recruitment many possibilities for progression, fantastic rewards and the job satisfaction far outweigh the negatives. If you’d like to know more, my colleague Jackie is happy to advise you with her knowledge and experience of working in the industry.

Give Jackie a call on +44 1737 774100 or drop her an email at