Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

Generalist vs. Industry Niche Recruiter?

Industry Commentary

Lately I’ve had conversations with candidates asking me whether or not I would follow up with them after submitting their resume to a client. That’s a great question and something candidate’s should be asking. I’ve seen postings on LinkedIn that share stories of a recruiter asking for a candidate’s resume and then never hearing back from them. This really boils down to one thing…many conversations with clients that don’t understand the difference between a Generalist Agency and an Industry Niche Professional Recruiter.

Whether you are a company needing to grow your organization or replace an under-performing team member or a candidate looking for your next challenge and opportunity, make sure that you’re choosing to align yourself with the right choice for you. There are key differences in Generalist Agencies and Industry Niche Professional Recruiters.


Will work in most industries and with most functions. Generalists are far more transactional – they tend to post on job boards, collect resumes, and submit resumes; rinse and repeat. A Generalist tends to primarily match a resume to a job spec. The key attribute for Generalist firms is speed; and if they’re not successful quickly, they need to move on to another assignment.

Industry Niche Professional Recruiters

Specialized in a given industry and have earned an industry-wide reputation. A Niche Recruiter at a professional search firm will focus on specific client needs and devote careful time to selection and qualification; rather than a being a resume service. A Niche Recruiter will develop relationships both with the client and candidate. They will get a full and complete understanding of their client’s needs and qualify candidates and provide information beyond a resume… that takes time, attention and most important…respect. They will have their finger on the pulse of industry trends, conditions and technology. They speak with their industry’s leaders every day and will understand the culture of their client and what traits a candidate will require to achieve success. As a result, retention and ramp up time will be improved with their presented candidates.

Another big difference is in the quantity and quality of candidates presented. A Generalist Agency will wade through hundreds of resumes with limited industry experience. A Niche Recruiter will have a firm understanding of the role and function and what will be required in order to achieve success. In the end, the client will ultimately receive three to five qualified candidates that have been thoroughly qualified for both a professional and cultural fit. The Niche Professional Recruiter will save their client time and money by presenting candidates that are both interested and qualified and ready to make a move to their organization.

Generalist Agencies and Niche Professional Recruiters offer different solutions, based on the client’s needs. If a client has a position that requires a large volume of applicants and only transferable skills, the Generalist Agency may make sense. A Niche Professional Search Firm is a better fit for clients that require candidates with a highly specialized skill set and strong industry knowledge and established relationships.

About Egret

Egret Consulting was established in 1999 and has grown to become the largest search firm exclusive to the Electrical Industry. Egret Consulting has a proven search process that includes 32 discreet steps to identify, attract, and land qualified candidates in Sales, Operations, Marketing and Engineering roles.

Written by Rob Wieska