To recruit or not to recruit? Becoming a NYC Advertising/Media/Marketing Recruiter?


I am brand new to RecruitingBlogs and I'm hoping that you, as a community, can help me make a decision about the next step in my career.

I have been working in marketing and for advertising agencies for the past 6 years in and around NYC. I recently met with a recruiter who was interested in me as a candidate for one of her job orders. About half way through the meeting, however, our conversation changed. Initially we were talking about the ad agency job, but as it turns out her recruiting firm is actually looking for an "industry person" to help them build their Advertising/Media/Creative recruiting division. She mentioned the recruiting position only after I expressed an interest so I don't think she brought me in with the hopes of making me a recruiter.

I'm seriously considering the job as I have been thinking of making a change for some time, and I love the idea of helping people find positions that are right for them (the NYC ad scene is pretty hard core, but it's a great business if you can find the right agency). Also I'm excited about the opportunity to gain some sales experience while still staying close to the advertising industry. From a compensation stand point, the job would have a strong base (non-draw) and the commission percentages are good. Also it's a pretty new division to the firm so I have a feeling there is a lot of untapped opportunity with little internal competition.

My question for the community is, what do you think? If you were me (in today's economy already with an average paying job) would you change careers to become a recruiter? Do you all like what you do? Is the industry faring okay these days?

Also if any of you are in NYC advertising/media recruiting, how's it looking? Are there job orders to be had? Candidates to be found?

Thank you in advance for you help!

Views: 140

Comment by Drew Koloski on December 9, 2010 at 9:10am
Hi Lauren. I'm glad to hear you have an opportunity out there but I would be careful with this one. #1 - The Recruitment Agency's philosophy is usually centered around nothing but money. This means that it is only a good working environment for sales-like people who consistently are big producers. For everyone else there's no career path and it's a high stress, "you on your own" environment. Ask them after you knock this out of the park, what are the next steps in your career? There going to have nothing. The industry also fluctuates greatly with the economy. A few bad months and they'll have a choice between laying off a sales/recruiter producing product, or the advertiser - they'll choose the advertiser 10 times out of 10. If you are interested in a career in recruitment advertising - I would suggest looking at a branding agency like Bernard Hodes or TMP. Jobvite is pretty cool on the ATS/Social Media side too. I know a few people over at Hodes and Jobvite - wouldn't mind firing your resume over. Good luck!
Comment by Jerry Albright on December 9, 2010 at 9:41am
Hi Lauren. Recruiting is a fantastic career (for a few) and for the rest it's a grind. So many many ideas of how to go about it.

When all is said and done though - this is not a job involving "helping people find positions that are right for them" - it's about helping companies find the people that are right for them. And no - they are not the same thing.

Sales is tough enough when you only have to close one side of the deal. Add another party to the mix and it's a whole different ball game. Your client wants to hire someone? Super!! Woo hoo! - Oh - wait a minute - he doesn't want the job? After all this? What??????

I don't mean to discourage you. It sounds like quite an opportunity. I'm not so sure recruiting is the best place to gain your first sales experience though.

Regarding base vs. draw vs. commission etc. Regardless of how your pay is labeled - you will be paid based on your results. Results are invoices.

No invoices sent - no base, draw or commission. It's the bottom line in this world.

Good luck with your decision.
Comment by Lauren on December 9, 2010 at 9:42am
Hi Drew,

Thanks so much for getting back to me!

I think I accidentally wasn't clear about the position I'm considering, I would be an actual recruiter (producing, placing candidates) in marketing/advertising/media positions in and around NYC. I think they like me for this role because I understand the advertising/marketing world based on my years of experience working in the field. I wouldn't be marketing/or advertising support staff for the firm. Does that makes sense?

Does that change your thoughts about the situation?

Also thanks for offering to send on my resume! I'll take a look at the companies and let you know if it's something I'd like to pursue.

Best Regards,
Comment by Lauren on December 9, 2010 at 9:53am
Well put Jerry, thank you for your insight!

I think I could be one of the few that it would be great for but it is a risk... I have a few more meeting before decision time which should help me figure it all out. I'll let you know what happens.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 9, 2010 at 11:47am
I would suggest that you call some of your contacts in the ad world. Ask them if you went to work for a recruting firm A. do they ever use recruiters. B. Would they list a job with you?

If you get a luke warm response from the ones you know pay attention to the way it makes you feel. Then multiply that by about a million and you will know what it feels like to get a lukwarm response or a cold response from someone you don't know. If you can deal with that feeling four of five times a day for the rest of your career , welcome to recruiting.

The question is not can you help people get a job. The question is how do you handle people in crisis and do you like handling people in crisis ten times a day. Any job change even one that is positive all the way through the process is a life changing event for someone.

The rewards of recruiting are great but it's not a place for people who "love people" and want to help them. Although we do that there are many more people that we have to reject. or can't help.

I would ask a lot about expectations and time frame for production before i took the quantum leap withoug any sales experience.
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on December 9, 2010 at 12:39pm
Durning you most recent job search before you called a recruiter, did you call 50 advertising agencies a day asking them for work. You should try it. It will do 2 things. You will see if you like the recruiting side of the house. Cold Calls. And if you don't you will most likely land a job with an advertising agencies from all your hard work. Do that for a week and let us know what happens.
Comment by Paul Alfred on December 9, 2010 at 7:06pm

I hope all the Social Media Gurus are listening to this feedback as to  the Key Factors veterans look at... You're getting some good advice Lauren ...

Comment by Lauren on December 9, 2010 at 9:12pm

Paul, I agree with you completely! This is all great advice. Thank you Sandra and C.B. for your responses (Drew and Jerry for writing this morning too). 


Hmmm, you've all given me a lot to think about. C.B. and Sandra thank you for the examples that articulate what it's like being in recruiting (50 cold calls, lukewarm responses). I will call some agencies and see how they react. 


C.B. regarding getting another ad agency job... well, I think I'm ready for something different, but I definitely think that your suggestion of making a bunch of calls is an excellent one. I'll test the waters and let you know what happens. 


I have another question for the group... I was talking to my sister (who's in pharmaceutical sales) this evening and she mentioned that her firm has advised managers recently to stop working with recruiters because the sales talent pool is great right now due to our recent economic struggles (all the layoffs etc.). Their point of view is that they don't need to pay the recruitment fees in this economy. Is this an issue you all have been seeing a lot? And if so how do you handle it? 

Comment by Paul Alfred on December 10, 2010 at 6:59am

Lauren ... Getting a pulse on market you want to enter is a great thing and gathering market  intelligence is a really great way to make educated informed decisions on making your next career move ...  


You question is complex as established recruiting professionals may not be as vulnerable to pull backs on agency use by large Employers as say a new recruiter looking to establish themselves in the Market ...   


What's great is that you are based in the US and the Great City of New York the size of your internal economy is huge - so the opportunities to develop business is great .. Do you have what it take to make the calls and convince the hiring sponsor that you can solve their recruitment need and do so by providing great value .. Then deliver on your promise .. Get the repeat business -then do it all over again for another customer ... 


Comment by pam claughton on December 10, 2010 at 9:16am

Hi Lauren,

As long as you know what you are really getting into and are up for the challenge, this could be an amazing opportunity for you. I play in this space a bit as I do a lot of marketing and online media related searches. I don't focus fully on the online/creative space but follow it and am seeing an enormous pickup in my area, Boston.

What could give you an advantage is your contacts and knowledge of the space. If you are great at assessing Online Art Directors for instance, that's a role I've seen huge demand for and it's one of those things that is so subjective. I had a client pulling her hair out trying to understand what made one portfolio stand out over another....they all looked good to her. That's where the inside experience could be hugely helpful.


As far as growth potential as someone else mentioned, well there is definitely growth potential at an agency but maybe not the kind of growth most people are used to. When you work as a recruiter at an agency it's a very entrepreneurial thing. As my former boss used to say, your desk is like your own business and you have complete control over what you produce and how busy you are. As you grow in the business, your income can grow tremendously, and you may eventually want to go on your own and keep 100% of the commission. That's what I did and many of the others here. However, that is not everyone's goal and I know quite a few recruiters who don't want to go on their own and who are making impressive incomes at an agency and enjoy the comraderie and also the leverage that you get from having a's really nice to bring in a job order and have five people jump up and say, "I have the perfect person!"  Or who will make calls and find people for you.....and that goes the other way as well, when a colleague brings in an order and you've recently met someone through your daily recruiting who is ideal for the role.


Another growth opportunity is into training and management. Some people really excel at this. One mistake I've seen recruiting firms make though is to 'promote' a top recruiter into a manager role and it's not a good thing. Most top recruiters enjoy working a desk and are not the best managers...and I'll be the first to admit I fall into this category. It's just not my strength.


Another thing I'll say about recruiting is that one of the most rewarding things for me is when I am able to help someone secure their dream job. We do help people, but the thing to understand that a lot of people don't get about what we do is that we can't help everyone. Our client needs drive our recruiting efforts, so we are always focusing on finding that A candidate, often for needle in a haystack searches that others have given up on.


The pharmaceutical client you mentioned, that happens and is just an example of supply and demand and we saw a lot of this in 2009 when the market was really soft. If there's an excess of available talent, it's a tough sell to pay a recruiting fee when people are banging on the company's door. However, in some instances clients will still use us for the same reason. We had a pharmaceutical client that needed to fill a senior level HR role and used us because they were overwhelmed by people applying who were not appropriate, mostly several levels above the role and they didn't have time to week through the hundreds of resumes pouring in.


In my opinion, as one who has been through several recessions now, I think this is probably one of the best times to get into recruiting as the market is on an upswing and if you start now and work hard, you'll be positioned to do well.


The most important thing to consider is do you really want to do this job and do you know what it entails? Social media can definitely be a part of your recruiting, but to really ramp up and get things done, you need to pound the phones, 50-100 cold calls daily. The good thing is that you can get things going very quickly if you put the effort in, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.


Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions as I am very familiar with this space and happy to help.




You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service