Recruitment 180 vs 360

Recruitment 180 vs 360

Recruitment 180 vs 360, what’s the difference and why you need to know?


If you’re not part of the recruitment world and have never heard these terms then don’t worry, your part of the majority.

We’re here to shed a light on the obscurity of recruitment 180 vs 360 and which model may suit you best for your business.

By the end of this post, whether you decide if 180 or 360 recruitment is best for you, just remember that each process has the goal of selecting the right candidate for the role. They just differ in their methods to achieve the same outcome.

Challenges within the recruitment industry today

The biggest ongoing challenges businesses have today is not only attracting but retaining talent!

With the exception of this last year (due to the impact of Covid-19), we have seen unemployment rates fall quite considerably since 2013.

When there is low-unemployment the recruitment market is candidate-driven. In the past few years recruiters have needed to re-think their recruitment strategies and techniques to attract the top talent. Leaving more recruiters flocking to the 360 and 180 models.

What exactly are the 360 and 180 recruitment models? And are they effective in the job market today? The future remains even more obscure with the looming devastation of Covid-19 and increased unemployment rates on the job market.

So, let's take a deep dive into 180 and 360 recruitment and find out what they are all about.

Introducing the 360 recruitment model

Back in the 80s and 90s when we first started to see the emergence of professional recruitment agencies, we were first introduced to the concept of 360 recruitment.

But these were different times.

Back then, businesses could give larger commission payments, which attracted very highly skilled recruiters to the industry.

Selling over the phone was a common sales strategy, enabling these highly skilled recruiters to not only build a dialogue with prospects but maintain relationships and eventually convert them into clients.

Managing each stage of the recruitment processes took some serious skill. Phone skills, people engagement, a welcoming personality and persistence. But with the large commission dangling, motivation was at an all-time high for these skilled recruiters.

In effect, these recruiters were managing the 360 recruitment model as we know it today.

Fast forward to today’s recruitment market and more and more of the recruitment process is shared and spread out between employees, agencies and sometimes even separate departments (such as utilizing the marketing department for advertising roles). And they need to be! It’s virtually impossible for one person to meet the demands of the entire recruitment stages.

Today’s recruiter is expected to find and obtain candidates, use Linked In, write job adverts, search, post job ads, manage the recruitment database, head hurt for potential candidates, use social media for postings and attracting candidates, manage accounts, manage between client and candidate, work on business development, organise and attend client meetings, work with client reviews and SO MUCH MORE.

The recruitment process is not only more complicated but recruiters are expected to be experts in each of these fields.

What is a 360-degree recruitment model?

360-degree recruiting comes from the idea of ‘doing it all’. You may also hear it being called life cycle recruiting, full cycle, or end-to-end. uses the analogy of a pizza to visualise the concept.

The 360 model is the whole pizza.

This is where the recruitment consultant(s) manages the entire recruitment process from start to finish. Instead of splitting up individual segments of the recruitment process, a 360 recruitment strategy will 100% focus on all stages of the recruitment process.  360 recruiters typically are with their client from the start to the end of the process. Developing a long-lasting relationship and having an intimate knowledge of the client's needs and the needs of candidates.

360 recruiters need to be highly organised and have a large range of skills to not only manage stakeholders but be able to sell, have business skills and be able to prioritise.

What are the various stages of the 360 recruitment model?

The whole pizza of stages for professional recruiters in the 360 model includes the following:

Sourcing leads

Very good recruitment consultants will know about a vacancy prior to its public announcement either through very intimate existing relationships with candidates or just knowing about a candidate who is leaving their role, therefore creating a vacancy needing to be filled.

Securing clients

Sometimes a recruitment consultant will win over vacancies by calling clients and explaining who they are and why they're the best agency to fulfil the role.

Negotiate contracts

A recruitment consultant will talk with their client over fees, timeline, salary, job role requirements.

Identifying client needs

A consultant will need to understand what the client is looking for exactly, what their candidate will need to have in terms of skills, qualifications, experience and personality. Through their expert knowledge in the industry, consultants may even propose a suitable candidate for a vacancy that doesn't exist yet.

Generating and shortlisting candidates

Professional consultants will utilise their networks and skills to generate candidates for the role. They then will shortlist these candidates into the top talent for the role.

Oversee the interview process

Consultants will work with both their client and candidates by supporting them each through the interview process. Giving advice and feedback to candidates. While offering candidate management to their clients. There may even be future negotiations with clients at this stage.

Client management

Recruitment consultants will also make sure their clients are happy with their service. While keeping a close relationship, they should listen and take on feedback. Maintaining a good working relationship with clients is crucial to securing future work.

Pros and cons of a 360 model

By now you’ve got a decent understanding of a 360 recruitment model. So let’s look at both the pros and cons of 360-degree recruitment.

Pros of 360 recruitment

Relinquish control to the professionals

As a business, you can focus your resources elsewhere and leave the entire recruitment process in the capable hands of a professional recruiter.

Trust in expertise

The recruiting consultants are experts in their field. So as a business, you can rely on their inside knowledge on the job market. Vacancies can even be fulfilled extremely fast if consultants already have the ideal candidate waiting and vice versa.

Limits errors

With fewer people in the chain, both clients and candidates are managed effectively by the same person/team. That means no time wasted or errors made when directing different teams or failure to pass the correct information when exchanging ownership. And the minimal scope for miscommunication.

Best talent fit

A 360 consultant will be with client and candidate through all stages including the adjustment period into their new role during the probationary period. This typically leads to securing more suitable and skilled talent. Their expertise in the market also means they understand both the needs of recruiter and candidate, ensuring the best successful match, and more long-term success.

Cons of a 360 model

Takes control of the entire process for you

The appeal for the 360 model for businesses is that clients can sit back and relax and let the consultants do every part of the process. Less work for you!

Attention to detail

While 360 recruitment consultants are professionals and are very skilled in what they do, they are stretched thin with the enormous amount of tasks and responsibilities on their hands. Therefore, you can safely assume that attention to detail may be affected. This may have an impact on the quality of service to both client and candidate.


Again with the high range, a 360 consultant needs to cover the hiring process may take longer as the burden of the tasks aren’t specialised or even shared with other teams. As a result, the talent may go elsewhere, not to mention the higher cost this will cause to the business. Unfulfilled vacancies cost organisations in many ways.


While most consultants will be very good at their role, there may be the instance of a spanner in the progress if for any reason the consultant is unavailable for a while. Without the workload being shared, accountability is primarily on the consultant in question, which can be a problem if they fall sick or take leave.


Sourcing and attracting a good 360 recruiter is hard. There aren’t that many around, and many businesses want them! And with smaller margins, the pay for a 360 recruiter is less so there are fewer people going into the profession.

This brings us onto the 180 model.

What is a 180-degree recruitment model?

The 180 recruitment model, otherwise known as ‘The American Model’ is a more specialised version of the 360. They hone in on aspects of the recruitment process, instead of actioning the whole process. You could call this half the pizza.

180 recruiters only focus on either the candidate generation or business development- never both.

The majority of 180 recruiters will focus on candidate generation as its easier for entry-level recruiters. Leaving the recruitment account managers to look after the business development, and contacting the candidates and clients for the ‘sale’.

What are the various stages of the 180 recruitment model?

The 180 model has a shorter list of responsibilities which typically makes them more specialised in their field.

Their body of work includes:

Identify the client needs

180 recruiters will work with their clients to identify their needs, candidate skills, experience and qualifications to fit the role.

Generating candidates

180 recruiters will have a deep network in the recruitment field which they can utilize to generate candidate leads.

Shortlisting candidates

With more time to spend on fewer tasks, 180 recruiters can shortlist the most ideal talent to be proposed to clients.

Managing the process

180 recruiters also guide and give feedback to candidates through the interview process. While also having further negotiations and candidate management with the client afterwards.

Pros and cons of a 180 model

By now you’ve got a decent understanding of a 180 recruitment model. So let’s look at both the pros and cons of 180-degree recruitment.

Pros of 180 recruitment

Speed to market

The 180 models are great for progressing much more quickly as the tasks are split.

More focus on client needs

With fewer steps to focus on, it goes without saying that more energy and time will go into understanding the client's needs.

Reduced costs

180 models typically cost less. This is because the work requires less skilled recruiters, more junior recruiters can be employed to carry out the candidate sourcing, while the larger salaries typically go to account managers.

Cons of 180 recruitment


With the workload being split across different teams, miscommunication is more commonplace which could lead to mistakes or issues in the recruitment process.

Also as a client, you’ll be dealing with different people at different stages.

Less intimate relationship

As you’ll be dealing with different consultants throughout the process it’s more difficult to generate close working relationships.

Loss of market knowledge

With the gap between teams across the recruitment process, knowledge can more easily be lost as the relationships with candidate and client aren’t as strong as they are within a 360 model. Limiting their ability to give insider market knowledge.

Recruitment 180 vs 360, which recruitment model would suit my business best?

Take a look at the pros and cons of both the 180 and 360 recruitment models and decide which would suit your business better.

Do you want someone to take on the bulk of the work for you? Or is managing recruitment costs more important?

The main focus here is ensuring the right candidate is selected for your vacancy.

We hope you’ve understood the difference between recruitment 180 vs 360. If you’ve found this post helpful, help us out and please share on your social media and tag us.

See you next time!

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