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Using recruitment agents

Recruitment agencies are an important tool for job seekers and most people will use an agency at some point in their lives. This blog will address how to find an agency and what to expect.

How do recruitment agencies work?

Agencies work on behalf of organisations to find the most suitable person for a job vacancy. Many employers choose to recruit through agencies to save time as they can outsource the initial sifting of CVs and associated administration.

Usually employers will send a job description to their chosen agency and the agency will send them a shortlist of candidates sourced from their pool of candidates. The employer will choose its preferred candidates to interview and ask the agency to arrange this. The employer pays the agency a fee for this service. This is usually a percentage fee based on the starting salary of the candidate or an upfront fee.  There is no fee for the job seeker.

Some agencies will specialise in a particular sector or geographical region while others such as Reed and Hays will cover lots of different sectors and regions.

Why use a recruitment agency?

Using an agency can give you access to roles that are not advertised elsewhere. A good agency should have inside information on an employer and the market that they can pass to you before an interview to help you prepare.

How to find a recruitment agency

  • Use the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (the professional body for recruitment) members list
  • Through agency central’s directory
  • Look at a jobs board (e.g. Totaljobs) specialising in your sector and the names of agencies advertising jobs there
  • Word of mouth

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