What is a Recruitment Agency?

If you have a job, then it is highly likely you have been in contact with a recruitment agency at some point in your life. From chefs to barristers and everything in between, there is a specialist recruiter for everyone. This is no surprise considering there was a 230% increase in the number of recruitment focused businesses from 2010 to 2019 and in 2021, we can only guess how many more recruiters have popped up.

With such a jam-packed sector, what does this mean for the industries reputation? Well, have you heard the saying, “a few bad apples spoil the bunch”? Unfortunately, this is quite relevant because there is a stigma attached to recruitment agencies. We will not lie there are bad recruiters out there who spam inboxes, do not give feedback, or make a half-hearted approach to their profession.

As a specialist IT recruitment agency that takes pride in the services we offer, we want to set the record straight by diving into what a recruitment agency should do and how choosing to work with a recruiter could be beneficial for your business or your job hunting.

In this article:

  • What is a Recruitment Agency?
  • How do Recruitment Agencies work?
  • Why Work with a Recruitment Agency?
  • How do I Choose a Recruitment Agency to work with?

What is a Recruitment Agency?

It is a business that is engaged by an external client to find suitably qualified individuals or teams of specialists for roles that need to be filled. Recruitment agencies are experts in headhunting and usually have access to a network of talent other businesses would not. They essentially increase the efficiency of the entire recruitment process for organisations that need to hire.

They also help those looking for a new role. A job seeker can sign up with a specialist recruiter to seek out new opportunities on their behalf. The good ones can even go further by supporting CV improvement, providing useful advice and guiding candidates on the best way to prepare for an interview

Many recruitment agencies have niche specialities. Using ourselves as an example, we are focused on the IT and digital recruitment sector. Having this focus means we can develop a deeper knowledge of this arena and better serve clients and job hunters. Whatever industry you are in or expert you require, there will be a specialist recruiter to suit you.

How do Recruitment Agencies Work?

Agencies work in several different ways depending on the needs of the employer. To keep things simple today we will use contingency recruitment as our example but there are many other recruitment methodologies agencies use to serve their client needs. Contingency recruitment is the most common form of recruitment where an employer engages a recruitment company to find a candidate for a specific role on a contract or permanent basis.

The recruiter will charge the employer a salary-based fee to find someone for a role and this is only paid if a placement is made. If you are a job hunter a recruitment agency should never charge you for finding you a role, if they try to, turn around and run.

So, you have a role, the recruiter fills it, easy right? There is actually more to it and the contingency method of recruitment looks more like this…

Recruitment agency process

As mentioned before, this infographic just covers contingency recruitment and it is still a simplified overview of the process. Even though it seems straightforward, there is a lot of work involved in finding the right candidate to be a technical and cultural fit for a business. It takes experience, commitment and industry know-how to deliver the highest level of service. There are many other models of recruitment to suit the varying needs of hirers such as volume-based recruitment or executive search. Each model’s methodology should be tailored to the needs of the employer and their business goals.

Why Work with a Recruitment Agency

Organisations and job seekers choose to work with recruitment agencies for different reasons, no two requirements are the same but common motives for choosing a great agency include:

Faster Hiring – The agency will be specialists in their fields and can greatly speed up the time it takes to make a hire. They can go to market immediately and have access to several job advertising platforms suitable to your needs.

Specialist Knowledge – Specialist recruiters focus on one sector or vertical, which means that they have a better knowledge of the technical roles and skills that are required for certain specialisms.

Hiring Insights – Recruiters know who is hiring and who is not, they can introduce you to businesses that are not on the job boards or match you to organisations you would have never found without them.

Higher Quality Candidates – The quality of the candidates provided reflects the recruiter. The best recruiters should take time to pre-screen candidates and only provide the absolute best fit for your requirement.

Save Costs – Although you are charged a fee for successful placements, choosing a recruitment agency can save you money. Recruitment takes time if you must do it yourself, you will need to publish adverts, trawl through CVs, and make many calls to organise interviews. The cost of your time will often outweigh that of the recruitment fee.

How do I Choose a Recruitment Agency to Work With?

Recommendations are a sure-fire way to find a good recruiter. Speak to connections on Linkedin or even your colleagues and find out if they have used an agency before. With so many professionals having had experiences with recruiters, someone should be able to point you in the right direction.

Websites like Glassdoor are a good indicator of whether a recruiter is good or not. The site will give an idea of how the organisation treats their own staff, if they treat their internal teams well then you can bet they do the same for their customers.

Finally, trust your gut. It does not cost anything to have a conversation with a recruitment agency, you can usually feel out whether the recruiter is legitimate or not by speaking directly to them. Are they just yes machines agreeing to everything you need from them or clearly over-promising? You should be wary. A good recruiter will be natural, realistic, and easily be able to demonstrate technical knowledge around your professionalism.

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Finally, remember the recruiter works for you, they can open doors, share expert knowledge and be a great partner to your business success or your personal job hunt. If you want to find out more about the benefits of engaging with a recruiter then get in touch using the “connect with us” link below.

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