Recruitment Blog

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

Guest Author
Recruitment Expert

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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