Finding the Right Balance: How Many Requisitions can a Recruiter effectively manage?

In the world of recruiting, finding the right balance between the number of requisitions assigned and the types of roles you’re handling can be a bit like walking a tightrope. Too few? You may be underutilized. Too many? You may be compromising the quality of your work. So, how many requisitions should a recruiter be assigned and what factors influence this number? 

Let’s explore this question by looking at the types of Recruiters and how their requisition assignments may vary.  

  1. Contingency Recruiters:

Contingency recruiters work with multiple clients and are only paid when a job order is fulfilled. This means that a contingent Recruiter may take on many more positions than can be realistically fulfilled in order to maximize their odds of placing candidates into those available positions. While all recruiters want to focus on quality candidates, the nature of contingent recruiting often forces a speed and quantity factor which drives up the total number of assigned requisitions per Recruiter. The exact number can vary, but research suggests that experienced contingency recruiters may juggle anywhere from 15-35 requisitions simultaneously. These are often shared among team members as well meaning that perhaps only 15 may be ‘owned’ by one Recruiter but that Recruiter is also pitching in on teammate searches.  

  1. Retained Recruiters:

Retained Recruiters are generally engaged by clients to fill specific high-level positions and each search is exclusive. Payment is generally split into milestones including an up-front, nonrefundable portion. This approach tends to be more consultative, focusing on quality rather than quantity, and guarantees the role will be filled. Because the client has a commitment and exclusive engagement, each Recruiter typically handles fewer requisitions. A retained Recruiter may work on as few as 3-8 assignments at a time. Any more than 10 retained searches is likely too many for one Recruiter without significant sourcing or administrative support available.  

  1. In-House Corporate Recruiters:

In-house corporate recruiters work directly for a company and handle the recruiting needs internally. The number of requisitions they manage depends on the company’s size, industry, and hiring needs. On average, corporate recruiters will handle 15 to 25 requisitions assuming a mix of hourly and salary positions. If an in-house Recruiter is working to fill high-volume roles with repeatability such as 20 Customer Service Representatives in one location, they may only have 3-5 types of roles but need to hire 50+ positions at a time. If the Corporate Recruiter is working on salaried, professional-level roles, the number will be more similar to retained Recruiters – likely maxing out around 10-15 positions at a time.  

More on High Volume Hourly Recruiting vs. Salary Professional Roles: 

The nature of the roles being recruited for can dramatically impact a recruiter’s workload. High volume non-exempt recruiting, where you’re filling numerous lower-skilled positions, can require handling a much larger number of requisitions, sometimes exceeding 50 or more. These positions often have shorter hiring cycles and a larger candidate pool. 

On the other hand, recruiting for niche professional roles or executive positions is more time-intensive. The focus here is on finding the perfect fit, and recruiters often dedicate more time to research, outreach, and candidate engagement. Thus, they handle fewer requisitions. 

Statistics and Sources: 

While the numbers mentioned above are general guidelines, it’s important to note that individual capabilities, tools, and company-specific factors can lead to variations. According to a study by HR.com in 2022, the average in-house Corporate Recruiter handles approximately 25 requisitions at a time. For contingency Recruiters, the number can range widely, with top performers handling more than 30 assignments annually. 

There is not a one-size fits all approach. If you are hiring an external or contract Recruiter, definitely ask how many requisitions each Recruiter is carrying and what the average turn around time is for fulfilling each order. A mix of contingency, retained, and in-house recruiting will often be a good fit for a large employer managing multiple roles and a high volume of need. For those with smaller volumes, a reliance on just one type of resource with occasional assistance may work well.  

If you’d like to assess your current Recruiting environment and process, Recruiting Experiences can help with a consulting engagement or Recruiting Assessment. Reach out for more info. 

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