Generalist Vs Niche – Battle Of The IT Recruitment Agencies

Feb 14, 2023

It’s a great debate in recruiting, HR and business circles. When recruiting for a new position, who do you choose to help you? For example, if you’re hiring for a cyber security role, would you want a general recruitment company or one that specialises in hiring for IT and cyber security based roles? It’s something we hear discussed a lot, and honestly, there is no clear-cut ‘yes or no’ answer. It all depends on what you’re looking for, and how much of your own elbow grease you’re willing to put into the process. But since many of our own clients have come to us after using a corporate, generalist recruiter first, we wanted to share with you some of our thoughts on the difference between generalist and niche recruitment agencies, and why a specialist IT recruiter might be the right choice for your business.

Generalist Recruitments

Generalist corporate recruiters are very much what they say on the tin. They are sweeping generalists, covering every area of business imaginable, from CEOs to entry-level assistants. So if you’re an HR manager who needs to hire a cyber security expert, a receptionist, a bookkeeper and a marketing manager, they will be able to solve all of your problems in one place.

Generalist recruitment agencies will often give you a  wide range of candidates for a role, all varying in skills, experience and knowledge, for you to then weed out your favourite candidate. But there’s a big problem with that approach. It’s more commonly known as the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ problem. Because they work with such a wide range of industries and roles, they don’t generally get an in-depth knowledge of any of them. So, the approach becomes more ‘spray and pray’, with recruiters playing a numbers game to come up with good candidates.

We like to think of the generalist recruitment agencies as a GP – somewhere you go for general roles that don’t really require specialist skills or knowledge. But if you’ve got a very specific medical problem – like a heart defect – you’re going to want to see a surgeon who specialises in that problem. So, if you’re hiring for a specialised, skilled role, like an IT service desk engineer or cyber security consultant, then you probably want to use a recruitment agency that specialises in that field.

Why Is Niche IT Recruitment Different?

The main upside of partnering with a specialist IT recruitment agency is that they are, by definition, the experts. They have a broad and deep understanding of the skillset you’re looking for, and where to find the right candidates for your needs.

In the digital world, there are a wide range of skills and areas of specialisation, and a general recruitment consultancy may struggle to understand them all and find the right fit for you. For example, if you’re looking to hire someone for an IT service desk role, and you’re working with a specialist IT recruitment agency, you’d assume that they will either know the person you’re looking for or definitely know where and how to find them. That means no database searches, no wasting time advertising on job boards and doing broad sweeps for interviews. They will either have a strong list of candidates already that they know and rate, making the recruitment process much quicker, simpler and more effective for everyone.

Another advantage to using a niche recruiter is that they’ve often spent time in the corporate recruitment space before niching down. This means you get all of the skills of a generalist recruiter, as well as the knowledge and connections of a specialist. For example, at Wildcat Careers we’ve worked in larger corporate recruitment firms all the way down to local general recruiters. So we’ve seen the side of recruitment where everything is just a number and nothing is looked at in great detail. And we’ve seen the skills it takes to succeed in the IT industry. That’s part of the reason we formed Wildcat Careers in the first place  – to become a boutique agency that’s focussed on IT and cyber security recruitment, providing a highly tailored, proactive and personalised service for our clients.

At Wildcat Careers, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to IT recruitment. Instead, we combine the experience and skills of a larger corporate recruitment agency with a deep and practical knowledge of the cyber security world to create an IT recruitment agency that can tailor the recruitment process to your exact needs. We work with businesses all across the UK, and have access to a wide range of IT and cyber security professionals at all stages of their careers. If you’re looking to fill a new IT service desk or cyber security role for your business, we’d love to help. Just get in touch with the team today, and see the difference between a corporate and a niche agency for yourself.


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