Recruitment Blog

Hot vs. cold desk: Know which one you’re sitting at?

Guest Author
Recruitment Expert
JobAdder Desk

RPO, BPO, LMS… Recruitment terminology can be almost as complex as marketing talk when it comes to industry lingo.

A hot desk and a cold desk are two terms that apply specifically to the recruitment industry and chances are, you may need a refresher.

Want to find out the temperature of your desk?

Hot Desk

In recruitment land, a hot desk has nothing to do with hot desking i.e. sitting at a different desk each day and not being able to set up shop in one spot.

A hot desk refers to a recruitment environment that is already set up for a recruiter; this includes having existing contacts, leads and a database of candidates and clients to work with.
With a structure already in place and a hot trail of connections, the recruitment professional working at a hot desk can focus on expanding their network, increasing traffic and upping their number of successful placements.

An example of a hot desk scenario would be a temp worker covering a maternity leave contract, where they slip into a recruitment environment that’s already established.

Cold Desk

Just like being the first person to arrive at a party, a cold desk refers to a recruitment environment that’s devoid of contacts and an existing network.

The job of a recruitment consultant at a cold desk is to strike up new connections, build a portfolio of candidates and clients and establish their brand in order to attract business. In other words, to heat up the desk.

Although they have a larger hurdle ahead of them during this formative stage, recruiters that work at a cold desk get to play an active role in selecting what kind of clients and candidates they will work with. The recruiter working at a cold desk can decide what verticals to specialise in and what jobs to fill.

A perfect example of a person working at a cold desk would be a recruiter who has just established their own business.

Warm Desk

As for a warm desk?
You guessed it, it’s somewhere in between the two.

A recruiter at a warm desk may have some leads but no system or structure in place, or be connected with some candidates looking for work but not with clients.


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