Full Desk Vs. Team Recruiting—Why Do I Need To Know About This?

By Mike McDonnell on March 19, 2014

If you’re looking to hire a staffing firm, chances are, you’re already short on time. And the idea that you need to add something called full desk versus team recruiting to your list of criteria may seem a bit unnecessary.

However, as you assess a firm’s experience, cost, size, etc., I encourage you to find out if their recruiting model is full desk or team. Because there are pros and cons to both, and you should know what you’re signing up for in order to align with the best agency for your needs.

Full Desk Recruiting

A full desk recruiter is a sole practitioner— a person who builds a network on both the client and candidate side. They are responsible for getting their own jobs and filling their own jobs, working directly with clients and candidates alike.

For agencies using full desk recruiting, this model encourages healthy competition and enables the company to assess their employees individually. And for some clients, the idea that the person they’re working with directly is also the one who will ultimately find their candidate is appealing. A potential downside to full desk is that the “sharing” of candidates isn’t a typical practice, so a client’s choice of candidates is often limited to their recruiter’s network.

Team Recruiting

At Communications Collaborative, we maintain a team recruiting model. We have business development managers working with clients and recruiters working with candidates. We believe that team recruiting allows for more specialization— a business development manager understands how busy clients are, what they need, etc., and a recruiter understands the struggles and wants of candidates.

The key to successful team recruiting is communication. With good communication, the team model is just as responsive to a client’s need as a full desk recruiter (or more so). The talent pool is bigger and better, because there isn’t one person dividing their time between clients and candidates. The network of candidates is available to all clients, and arguably, the best candidates are presented against each client’s need.

Though it’s unlikely that full desk versus team recruiting is the first question you’ll have for a potential staffing partner, if cost, experience, and all other factors are equal, it’s certainly a good one to ask.

Mike McDonnell is Senior Vice President, General Manager at Pile and Company/Communications Collaborative. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.

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