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Executive Recruiter vs. Recruiter: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Executive recruiters and recruiters are both responsible for finding and screening candidates for employment. However, executive recruiters typically work with high-level executives while recruiters typically work with entry-level or mid-level candidates. In this article, we compare the job duties, education requirements and salary information for executive recruiters and recruiters. We also provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in recruiting.

What is an Executive Recruiter?

Executive Recruiters are responsible for identifying, attracting and hiring top talent for their clients. They use a variety of sourcing methods to find qualified candidates, including job postings, social media, referrals, networking and headhunting. They screen candidates, conduct interviews and reference checks to identify the best fit for the open position. Executive Recruiters often specialize in a particular industry or field, such as IT or healthcare, and they use their knowledge of the market to help their clients make informed hiring decisions.

What is a Recruiter?

A recruiter is responsible for finding and screening candidates for employment. They may work with internal hiring managers to identify specific job openings and job requirements. They use a variety of sourcing methods to identify potential candidates, such as job boards, social media, employee referrals and networking events. Once potential candidates are identified, the recruiter will reach out to them to gauge their interest and discuss the opportunity further. If the candidate is interested, the recruiter will schedule an interview with the hiring manager. The recruiter may also provide feedback to the candidate after the interview.

Executive Recruiter vs. Recruiter

Here are the main differences between an executive recruiter and a recruiter.

Job Duties

A recruiter may focus on a specific type of candidate, like executive candidates. As such, their job duties might include researching and targeting executives from other companies who might be interested in working for theirs. Executive recruiters also evaluate the executive’s resume and background to determine whether they’re a good fit for the company seeking new employees.

In contrast, an executive recruiter focuses more broadly on finding qualified candidates for any position within a company. They might do this by searching databases of potential employees or networking with individuals already working in related fields. These professionals also help companies make decisions about which candidates to hire, based on their resumes and previous work experience.

Job Requirements

Executive recruiters typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, though some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree. They also must have several years of experience working in human resources or a related field. Many executive recruiters are certified through the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which offers the Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP) credential. This certification requires passing an exam and completing coursework on topics like behavioral interviewing techniques.

Recruiters generally only need a high school diploma to enter the field. However, many recruiters have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration or a related field. Additionally, some recruiters pursue certifications through organizations like NACE or the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). These credentials can help them learn more about effective recruiting strategies and stand out to potential employers.

Work Environment

Executive recruiters typically work in an office setting, often for a large company. They may travel to meet with clients and candidates, but they usually spend most of their time at the office. Recruiters who work as independent contractors or consultants may have more flexibility in where they work, such as working from home or traveling to meet with clients.

Recruiters who work in human resources may also work in an office environment, but they may also visit job sites to interview candidates. HR recruiters may also travel to attend conferences or training seminars related to recruiting.


Both executive recruiters and regular recruiters use similar skills, such as networking, research and communication. However, executive recruiters may need to use more specialized skills when recruiting for high-level positions. For example, they may need to have a better understanding of the specific industry or sector in which their client operates. They also may need to be familiar with the types of qualifications that are required for senior-level executives.

Regular recruiters typically work with a wider range of clients and position types. As a result, they may need to have a more general understanding of the job market and the types of skills that are in demand. They also may benefit from having sales skills, as they may need to convince potential candidates to consider a job opportunity.


The average salary for an executive recruiter is $82,716 per year, while the average salary for a recruiter is $63,192 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the recruiter has.


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