How do recruitment agencies work?

Finding a job isn’t always an easy process… 

But whatever stage you’re at in your career, having the right people guiding you through your job search can make all the difference when it comes to finding the right role. And one of the best resources you can take advantage of are recruitment agencies.

Not sure how they actually work? Here’s a quick guide to recruitment agencies, and a few tips to help get you started:


What is a recruitment agency?

Recruitment agencies match candidates to job vacancies, working with companies directly to help fill their roles.

Their consultants’ source new opportunities, edit and optimise CVs, and even provide pointers to help candidates prepare for interviews.

Essentially, they streamline the whole jobseeking process


How do recruitment agencies work?

Recruitment agencies work in a number of different ways.

Initially, a company will get in touch with them to say they have a role on offer. The recruitment agency will then either:

  • Look at their current database, to find matching candidates
  • Post the job online to source applicants with the right skills

When they’ve sourced some suitable candidates, they’ll then send them through to the company for approval, and generally arrange interviews for the best-matching candidates.


How do I join a recruitment agency?

Many agencies will let you come straight into the office to sign up for work.

However, it’s always worth calling ahead and making an appointment, just to make sure they have roles available in your industry. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some agencies don’t have traditional shop fronts, so meetings will have to be pre-arranged.

Alternatively, if you’ve added your CV to an online database, recruitment consultants may contact you directly to let you know they have a relevant role.


How do I apply for jobs through agencies?

Your recruitment consultant will act as the middle-man between you and the recruiter, sending in your CV and putting you forward for an interview.

If your application is successful, they’ll help with interview preparation and give you lots of tips and pointers, from providing you with directions, to advising you on what to wear on the day.

You’ll then be able to walk into that interview feeling totally prepared, with everything you need to nail it.


What are the benefits of using a recruitment agency?

Finding a job through a recruitment agency has a lot of advantages.

Firstly, they’ll often have built up good relationships with a lot of top employers, giving you exclusive access to their jobs. You’ll also get put forward for positions that you wouldn’t otherwise have heard about.

Other benefits of using a recruitment agency include:

  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Expert interview coaching
  • Constructive feedback from each interview and employer
  • Specialist advice for your chosen field
  • Being put forward for any relevant roles that come up


What if I see a role advertised by a recruitment agency?

Recruitment agencies post many of their vacancies online.

Anyone is able to apply for these positions, although it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be signing up to the agency as a result. And, even though the roles they advertise will be working for other companies, many of them won’t state the company name until you reach the interview stage.


How much does using a recruitment agency cost?

You should never be charged to use a recruitment agency.

Consultants are paid by the employers, and receive their fee based on whether you’ve successfully started in a role. There should be no payment directly from the individual.


What happens once I get a job?

Once you’ve secured the job, the role of your agency doesn’t stop there.

They’ll handle all of the paperwork and other formalities, and liaise with your new employer to make sure everything is in place for your first day and beyond.  They can even negotiate your salary for you and make sure you get the best package out there.

Essentially, it’s in their best interest to make sure they find a role that’s right for you – and make it as easy as possible for you to apply, and get started.

Job hunting can be a lonely process, but it becomes so much less so when you’re with a recruitment agency.


Think a recruitment agency is right for you? View all recruitment agency roles now.


2 comments on “How do recruitment agencies work?

  1. caiusCaligula - January 8, 2019 at 10:14

    When i young and had no skills recruitment consultants in Reed, Ble Arrow and others were great. Now i have a battery of skills, but am flexible yet know the market i’m aiming for which is crying out for people, i get 20 something years olds calling me from recruitment consultants to “update their records” every 5 mins. I,ve yet to receive a call about a real relevant job. They only speak in generalities or offer you a board room position when yoyr 10 yrs from such a position. I wouldnt use that type of recruitment consiltant. I dont think they recognise aplicants time is too valuable to give time to yet anither recruitment agency with nothing relevant to offer. These comments are about Reed just recruitment agencies in general.

  2. TJM - November 26, 2019 at 16:25

    I am an engineer, and I am always amazed at how little recruitment ‘consultants’ know about candidates skillsets and where their expertise can meet the clients requirement. Many of these recruiters specialise in a niche area of the job market and should have a grasp of candidate skillset vs client requirements. The view I have is that many recruiters are dealing with huge numbers of resume documents and resort to some quick-fix template match to whittle down the candidates to focus on a shortlist of hopefuls for a particular role. That is understandable, what does not make sense is how little of these remaining candidates experience is analysed to an appreciable degree to at least meet exceed clients expectations on first impression. The client requirement should already have been discussed with and disseminated with the recruiter so that she/he fully understands the requirement so that they are able present high quality calibres of candidate.