You’ve probably heard of a recruiter. You may even have mixed feelings about them.

But have you heard of a reverse recruiter?

A quick search on LinkedIn for “recruiter” yields more than 1,970,000 results. That’s a lot of recruiters!

However, searching “reverse recruiter” on LinkedIn will get you only 21 results. That’s a huge difference.

While recruiters and reverse recruiters share some of the same skills, their job functions are nearly opposite.

In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between recruiters and reverse recruiters.

What Is a Recruiter?

Rasmussen University defines recruiters as experts in the finding, screening, and attracting of applicants for open positions.

A recruiter’s primary job is to find qualified individuals for open positions.

Notice that I didn’t say a recruiter’s primary job is to find open positions for qualified individuals.

There’s a distinct difference here, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Recruiters often get a bad rep. There are literally hundreds of articles and forums on the topic “Why Recruiters Suck So Bad”.

quote icon

Here's what "dopkick" from Reddit has to say about recruiters:

Most recruiters suck. Some are good. But most won’t listen to anything you say and will try to push some job that you’re not really interested in. I told a recruiter I am not interested in a job where I’ll be coding all day. She told me she had the perfect job for me – a software engineering role where I’d be able to go to daily team meetings. She obviously had no idea what she was doing and just wanted her commission.

This is a common complaint among job seekers. And to be honest, it’s a valid one.

While not all recruiters are bad, there is a large enough number of unethical, money-hungry recruiters out there to give the industry a bad reputation.

A good recruiter will nurture a pipeline of talented job seekers and contact them when a great fitting position comes up. They don’t rush things, and it becomes a win-win for the job seeker and the company.

A bad recruiter will push job seekers into poor-fitting positions in order to earn a quick commission. This is a lose-lose for the job seeker and the company.

Remember, recruiters get paid when they fill a position. It doesn’t matter who gets the job, as long as they fill the position with a body, they get paid.

Let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of working with a recruiter.

Pros icon Pros
  • Access to open positions that may not be posted online.
  • Completely free for job seekers – fees are paid by employers.
  • Usually recruiters will reach out to you, so less work on your end.
  • Good recruiters can help you with resume and interview prep.
Cons icon Cons
  • No vested interest in the job seeker since they are paid by the employer.
  • Unwilling to help you find a job outside of their open positions.
  • Limited job opportunities (must have contracts with hiring companies).
  • Bad recruiters may upsell a job that is not a good fit to earn a commission.

What Is a Reverse Recruiter?

A reverse recruiter is someone who assists a job seeker in performing a job search, applying to jobs, and finding interviews. This concept was pioneered in 2015 when Mike Podesto started Find My Profession.

A reverse recruiter’s primary goal is to find and secure quality positions for job-seeking individuals.

Notice that I didn’t say a reverse recruiter’s primary job is to find qualified individuals for open positions. That’s a recruiter’s job!

Reverse recruiters work directly for the job seeker. Not the hiring company.

This also means that the job seeker is paying for the services. There’s no cost to hiring companies.

But what!? Why would I want to pay a reverse recruiter when I could use a recruiter for free?

Valid question. The answer is, reverse recruiters do significantly more than a recruiter would ever do for you.

Reverse recruiters have access to every company in the world. Not just a select handful like recruiters.

Reverse recruiters will find the jobs, fill out your applications, and network on your behalf.

They have no agenda to promote a job that is not truly a great fit. You are their client and they are only motivated by your success.

While reverse recruiting services aren’t cheap, they offer far more value than a recruiter ever could.

Pros icon Pros
  • Entirely vested in your interests and job search success.
  • No agenda to promote positions that aren’t a good fit.
  • Will find, apply, and network to jobs on your behalf.
  • Find a job 2-3x faster by hiring a job search professional.
Cons icon Cons
  • These services are rarely cheap. Expect to pay $2,000+.
  • Some reverse recruiting services are better than others.
  • Fewer reverse recruiters than recruiters to choose from.
  • Waitlists for these services can exceed 2 months.

Key Differences Between Recruiters & Reverse Recruiters

As we touched on above, recruiters and reverse recruiters are very different. Below we break down some of the key differences between recruiters and reverse recruiters.

Recruiters vs. Reverse Recruiters
Reverse Recruiters
Paid by hiring managers to fill open positions.
Paid by job seekers to manage their job search.
Limited number of jobs to promote.
Unlimited number of jobs to promote.
Will not apply to jobs on your behalf.
Will fill out job applications on your behalf.
Employer comes first and job seekers second.
Job seekers comes first and employers second.
Best for a passive job seeker in no rush to find a job.
Best for an active job seeker ready to start a new career.

Excellent Recruiting Services

Now that you know the difference between recruiters and reverse recruiters, it’s time to get in touch with someone.

To avoid “bad recruiters”, we’ve provided a shortlist of some of our favorite recruitment companies.

These companies work throughout the nation and even the globe so don’t be afraid to reach out and see if they have any positions that might be a fit.

1. Robert Half

Robert Half is a global human resource consulting firm based in Menlo Park and San Ramon, California, founded in 1948. It is a member of the S&P 500 and is credited as being the world’s first and largest accounting and finance staffing firm, with over 345 locations worldwide. Robert Half has expanded beyond just accounting and finance roles offering thousands of unique positions.

2. Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a management consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1969 and as of 2019, operates in 111 offices in 53 countries and employs 8,198 people worldwide. Korn Ferry operates through four business segments: Consulting, Digital, Executive Search, and RPO and Professional Search. This is a great option for anyone looking into executive leadership positions.

Excellent Reverse Recruiting Services

If a reverse recruiter is more along the lines of what you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.

Below are two of the most well-known reverse recruiting services including the originators of the term reverse recruiting, Find My Profession.

1. Find My Profession

Find My Profession is the leading reverse recruiting service on the market. Their services go above and beyond other reverse recruiting services by taking a more hands-on approach. With more than 900+ 5-star reviews, there’s no question about the value they provide. The reverse recruiters at Find My Profession will fully manage your job search by finding, applying, and networking for jobs on your behalf.

2. The Barrett Group

The Barrett Group is another excellent reverse recruiting service to consider. The Barrett Group was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. They provide coaching in all aspects of career management including job search, career change, and how to best employ the services of professional recruiters (executive recruiters, headhunters, and staffing agencies).

Here’s What We Recommend

Recruiters and reverse recruiters both play an important but different role in the job search process.

One is not better than the other. They are simply different. Depending on your individual needs, one may be a better fit than the other.

Here’s what we recommend.

First, contact a couple of local recruiters who recruit for positions that you’d be interested in. Usually, you can search LinkedIn for “recruiters” and then add a couple of additional words related to your line of work.

“Software engineer recruiter”, “sales recruiter”, “executive recruiter”. You get the idea.

Send them a message on LinkedIn letting them know that you’re on the market and you’d like to be considered for any positions they might have that look like a fit. If they have something that looks good, you can schedule a time to speak with them.

Do this for a dozen or so recruiters. This should only take a couple of hours.

At this point, you’ve done just about everything you can do with recruiters. They are aware you are on the market and will reach out if anything comes up.

If you’re passively looking, you can stop there. But if you actually want a job in the next 3-6 months, you shouldn’t hold your breath.

Now it’s time to move on to reverse recruiters. These services will charge you a fee, which is why we recommend starting with the free options. But more often than not, they are worth the investment.

Simply contact a company that provides reverse recruiting services and hear what they can do for you. We recommend contacting 2-3 companies before making a final decision so that you can compare the service offerings.

We hope you found this helpful and wish you the best of luck in your job search. You got this!