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Staffing Specialist vs. Recruiter: What Are the Differences?

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

A staffing specialist and a recruiter are both responsible for filling job openings within an organization. However, there are several key differences between these two roles. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between a staffing specialist and a recruiter, and we provide helpful tips for those interested in pursuing a career in either field.

What is a Staffing Specialist?

Staffing Specialists are responsible for finding and hiring qualified candidates to fill open positions within a company. They use a variety of sourcing methods to identify potential candidates, such as job postings, online databases, referrals and networking. They screen resumes and conduct initial interviews to identify the most qualified candidates. Staffing Specialists also coordinate background checks and drug tests. They may also be responsible for onboarding new hires and orienting them to the company.

What is a Recruiter?

Recruiters are responsible for sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates for open positions within a company. They use a variety of methods to identify potential candidates, such as job postings, online databases, referrals and networking events. Once they have a pool of qualified candidates, they conduct initial screening interviews to further assess their skills and experience. Recruiters also work with hiring managers to determine the specific qualifications and characteristics they are looking for in a candidate. They may also coordinate and attend job fairs or other events to promote the company and attract top talent.

Staffing Specialist vs. Recruiter

Here are the main differences between a staffing specialist and a recruiter.

Job Duties

Staffing specialists and recruiters share some of their job duties, but each profession has its own specific tasks. Staffing specialists focus on the internal operations of a business by finding suitable candidates to hire. Their job is to match candidates with positions that both parties are qualified for and interested in.

Recruiters work to find external hires for companies. They advertise jobs to attract candidates from different sources, like job boards or social media. Recruiters also evaluate potential employees’ applications and resumes to determine which applicants qualify for the open position. Both staff and recruiters may conduct background and reference checks before offering a candidate a job.

Job Requirements

Staffing specialists and recruiters typically need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many staffing specialists and recruiters pursue certifications through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use applicant tracking systems and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

A staffing specialist may work in an office setting, but they also travel to meet with clients and candidates. They may spend time on the road or at a client’s location. A recruiter typically works in an office environment, where they can access databases of job seekers and employers. Some recruiters may travel for business purposes, such as attending career fairs or interviewing candidates.


The main similarity between staffing specialists and recruiters is that they both need to have excellent people skills. This is because they will be working with a lot of different people throughout the day, including job candidates, hiring managers and colleagues. They need to be able to build relationships with these individuals, understand their needs and communicate effectively.

Staffing specialists also need to have strong organizational skills. This is because they need to keep track of a lot of different information, like job openings, candidate applications and interview schedules. They also need to be able to multitask and prioritize their work effectively.

Recruiters need to have additional skills beyond people and organization skills. They also need to be knowledgeable about the job market and the specific industry they are recruiting for. They use this knowledge to identify qualified candidates and match them with open positions. They also need to be persuasive in order to convince candidates to accept a job offer.


Staffing specialists earn an average salary of $48,107 per year, while recruiters earn an average salary of $63,192 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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