One morning your phone rings and the caller says they are a recruiter with an exciting job opportunity that you might be interested in. Fantastic!

But did they just mention that they are a certain type of recruiter? Perhaps you’ve never considered that they can be different? Well, there are about five types of recruiters who work in slightly different ways –

Contingency recruiters

Contingency recruiting agencies earn their corn by finding the right candidates for employers; they are paid a contingency if and only if the client company hires a candidate they presented. Meaning, there is no upfront cost associated with using a contingency firm. Contingency recruiters are therefore full-service recruiters and are responsible for initial recruiting, screening of candidates and even interviewing. They then arrange interviews with candidates for the hiring company and coordinate offer negotiations. These recruiters are paid a service fee that can be calculated as either a flat fee or a percentage of the first year’s salary (but this DOES NOT come out of the candidate’s salary). Candidates are NOT charged any fees.

Internal, corporate or in-house recruiters

In-House recruiters, as the name suggests, work from inside a business. They are usually part of the Human Resource department and are paid a salary and relevant benefits just like other employees at the company. They are usually engaged in continuous staffing at the companies they work for. As soon as they are informed of a vacancy and instructed to find a candidate to fill that vacancy, they will arrange for everything from the advertisement to the interviewing and will even help with selection – though the head of the recruiting department usually has final say on who is picked. In-house recruiters will often work with recruiting agencies to fill roles that they either may not have the specialization in or capacity to recruit for.

Retained recruiters

Retained recruiters are similar to contingency recruiters in many ways with the main difference being that retained recruiters are paid an upfront fee (a retainer) to help them with the search process. The retainer is usually a percentage of the total fee, the balance of which is paid upon successful hire. So, the retainer is paid irrespective of the outcome of the search. Retained recruiters also call themselves Executive Search Firms. They generally recruit for senior level searches such as CEO or CFO.

Outplacement agencies

If there was a downsizing at your company and your position was one of the casualties, you’ll sometimes be referred to an outplacement recruiter. In many cases, these outplacement agencies are hired by the downsizing company to help find jobs for the downsized workforce. Remember that this is purely out of goodwill; many companies will downsize and never try to transition you to a new job. Outplacement companies also provide career counseling and help with resume writing, job hunting and interviewing skills. Again, job seekers don’t pay any fees.

Contract/temporary staffing agencies

Temporary recruiting agencies or Temp recruiters as they are popularly known, hire temporary or contract employees for a client company. The individual is actually employed by the staffing agency that pays all wages, insurance, employer taxes and relevant benefits. However, their scope of work is determined by the client company. This client then pays the staffing company an hourly rate for the temp/contract employee. Temporary employees are usually required to fill out weekly timesheets and have them approved by the client company before payroll is completed by the recruiting agency.