This is a very simplistic theory, but I think it bears exploring.  In my experience there are two distinct types of recruiters; those who naturally thrive in the recruitment of Permanent Staff, and those who excel running a Temp Desk.  

Perms recruiters typically handle 10 to 15 concurrently running recruitment projects, which can each take from 2 to 6 weeks to complete (and only some resulting in a placement).  This individual recruiter focuses on each project in relative isolation, and will work methodically through the steps to completion. Skills required for this role include the ability to think laterally and creatively, like a detective trying to solve a case.  Perms recruiters don’t usually display much empathy for candidates, as they will only know them for a short period of time.  Perm recruiters always benefit from taking some “thinking time” during their working day, to conceive of solutions and methods that will help fill a vacancy.

By contrast. Temp recruiters need to consummate multi-taskers.  Everything they do affects everything else.  They are at the centre of a buzzing eco-system of candidates and clients, whom they can get to know very well indeed.  In fact many temp recruiters need to be part social worker and agony aunt to many of their temps.  As the temp recruiter has a direct responsibility for their charges, they can find themselves to be on-call at all hours of the day, and weekends too!

It’s clear to me that the personality traits that help to make you a natural perm or temp recruiter extend to other areas of your life, where the same skills can be invaluable 

I should declare myself as a natural perm recruiter.  Whilst I have recruited many professional contractors, and managed teams who at one point employed 2,000 temps assembling PC’s for IBM, I never found it to be a good fit.  I much prefer working on projects, seeing them through, and being as meticulously focused on the details.  I could never run a shop, where each day relied upon the adherence to a set routine, in order to succeed.  I do however, have immense admiration for the abilities of Temp Recruiters to always maintain that forward momentum, whilst continually fire-fighting.

Let me ask all the recruiters and former recruiters out there, which are you, Perm or Temp?

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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