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Specialist vs Generalist

Temporary employment agencies, recruitment agencies, secondment agencies and managed service providers have the opportunity to distinguish themselves as a specialist or a generalist.

A generalist recruitment agency can provide recruitment services for all kinds of different sectors and disciplines (from the food sector, banks and insurance companies to government, in combination with the disciplines Human Resources and IT, to Finance and Supply Chain), and at various function levels (from operational to executive). As a result, these agencies can offer companies a full service recruitment solution. Generalists are often the largest and most well-known agencies precisely because they cover all kinds of jobs.

Niche recruitment agencies, also known as specialist recruitment agencies, are agencies that focus on a specific sector or a specific field or job level. Their recruitment methods are no different from those of generalist recruitment agencies, but they can be expected to have detailed expertise of the market in which they operate.

The services offered by generalist and specialist recruiters are generally broadly similar. As generalist agencies cover lots of jobs across many sectors, they usually have a very large pool of candidates to draw on. While this may sound like a good thing, in practice they have to wade through hundreds of CVs from candidates and you have to stand out of the crowd.

Specialist consultancies only deal in a specific sector, which means that they only register candidates with relevant experience and skills in the first place. So when you work in a field with a shortage of talent or when you are an expert in your profession you’re better off with a specialist agency to help you find a job and get the most out of your benefits. Their individual consultants will have a much better knowledge of your sector and understanding of organizations, as they only deal with similar roles.