Insider Guide

Professional Recruitment Careers

Introducing opportunities in the niche and high-end business of Recruitment.

What is Recruitment?

A recruitment company helps its clients hire people for key positions with the company, usually paying the fee once the person starts. This requires a consultative sales role. As a recruitment consultant you may be responsible for winning new clients, managing existing clients and finding candidates for key roles.

Recruitment companies serve just about every sector and job type, from private firms across the business worlds of legal, financial services, management consulting and sports to the public sector, including government and not-for-profits. Recruitment is often organised by ‘job types’, where you recruit for a specific skillset, such as software engineers, lawyers, accountants or sales people.

Timberseed focuses on niche professional recruitment companies, which in turn have a highly educated candidate and client base. That’s why our clients look for intelligent and articulate graduates with drive and motivation. These ‘high-end’ recruitment firms prize long-term client relationships, while practicing solution- sales techniques.

What are the core responsibilities?

  • Attending client briefings and/or briefings from internal Account Managers
  • Prospecting/researching potential candidates, such as via LinkedIn, internal databases and external databases
  • Approaching prospective candidates about job opportunities through both warm and cold calls
  • Qualifying candidates through meetings and/or phone calls
  • Managing candidates through the interview process (arranging interviews, collating feedback and negotiating contracts)

As you become more experienced you can also expect to:

  • pitch for business
  • manage client accounts
  • attend client briefings
  • provide market intel to clients
  • mentor junior consultants

How do recruitment companies make money?

Recruitment companies charge their client a fee when the candidate they have placed starts. The amount for permanent candidates is usually 20–25% of the candidate’s first-year salary. For example, if a candidate accepted a role at £100,000 per annum, the recruitment firm would charge £20,000 to the client.

Recruitment companies also place people into interim and contract jobs. The fee for contractors is typically 15% of the daily rate. So, if a candidate accepted a role at £600 per day, the recruitment firm would charge the client £90 per day.

It’s worth knowing that candidates do not incur any charges, or get a lesser salary, by accepting a role through a recruitment firm.

Why should I consider Recruitment

  • You’ll be afforded big responsibility from day one, whether speaking to C-Level executives or attending important client meetings
  • You’ll be networking with high-end individuals who will make important business decisions based on your advice
  • You’ll quickly become an industry and subject-matter expert
  • You’ll develop invaluable skills, from research to persuasion to sales negotiation
  • You’ll be working with like-minded people who share the same passions and ambitions as you


  • fast-tracked career progression; expect regular promotions and increases in responsibility
  • fantastic perks: company holidays/monthly lunch clubs/team events/ excellent earning capacity (see below)

What can I expect to earn?

New graduates can expect a starting salary from £25,000–£30,000, with recruitment companies paying commission directly attributed to the placements you make.

You can be highly successful very quickly in Recruitment, depending on how hard you work, the sector you work in, and how quickly you pick things up. Good recruitment consultants can earn £100,000 in their first year.

What do Recruitment firms often look for in candidates?

  • Drive and determination: a hunger to succeed and be the best at what they do
  • Communication skills: the ability to build rapport and construct high-impact written messages
  • Initiative: coming up with great ideas on your own, and quickly implementing these
  • Resilience: not everything will go your way! You’ll need to be prepared to keep going when things seem difficult
  • Target oriented: working to a plan, and setting objectives and targets, are key
  • A strong work ethic: recruitment is not a ‘9-5′ job. You’ll often need to discuss jobs outside of your candidates’ core working hours
  • Someone who wants to work in a fast paced, high-progression role
  • Financially motivated outlook: a main reward is commission, so firms often like graduates who are financially driven
  • Culture fit: recruitment companies often have a great social aspect where team events and target-based holidays are common. Enjoying a highly sociable environment is essential

Lingo to know

360 consultant:
A recruitment consultant who manages both candidates and clients

180 or delivery consultant
A consultant focused on identifying candidates for supplied jobs

Preferred Suppliers’ List (PSL)
Companies usually only work with a set number of recruitment agencies who are on their ‘PSL’

An arrangement where a fee is paid upon successful placement of the candidate

Key Performance Indicators

Where a candidate is offered a permanent contract with an annual salary and benefits package.

Where a candidate is offered a temporary contract, paid on a daily or hourly rate

How much money a recruitment consultant has made in fees. For example, placing a candidate on £75,000, charging 20%, is a billing of £15,000

Latest opportunities

Executive search and Recruitment