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What Do Recruitment Agencies Do & Why Should I Use One?

To put it simply, recruitment agencies help companies find candidates for their available positions. They operate as the vital middlemen between both employers and employees.

To put this into context, let’s say Amazon are looking to hire 1,000 new Warehouse Operatives. Being Amazon, they may be able to find a lot of these via direct applications to their site, however chances are that they’ll still be left with a number of vacancies to fill.

This is where a recruitment agency(s) such as Adecco, Manpower or Ranstad will come in and go through their own databases and job applications to find the right talent on behalf of Amazon.

In return, the recruiter will be paid a placement fee, which is normally a percentage of the employees first-year salary. This is usually between 15-20%, but it can vary. For more intricate and harder to fill jobs, this fee may be even higher.

It’s worth noting that the candidate should never be charged in the process, only the employer.

Why should I use a recruitment agency?

The main benefit for the candidate is that they can take the weight of their shoulders by supporting them finding relevant roles whilst also being assisted by the recruiter with both CV writing and interview coaching too.

Stat: Over a million candidates find work directly via recruitment agencies each year in the UK.

Can multiple recruitment agencies represent me?

You certainly can use a number of different recruitment agencies during your job-search, as solely relying on just one may narrow down your opportunities.

However, it’s vital not to enlist the support of too many consultancies as you’ll quickly be bombarded with calls and emails which you’re not prepared for and this will simply confuse your job-hunt. Be respectful of your recruiters time and don’t be afraid to let them know if a role isn’t right for you. They’ll rather know sooner so they can quickly re-target your search to a more fitting role.

It’s also worth remembering that they work for the employer and not you (the candidate).

Why can't companies just hire candidates directly?

In theory, any business can undertake their own candidate search and many do with great success.

Yet, the theory works quite a bit differently to the reality in this case. Similarly to how selling a house through an estate agent or advertising through a marketing agency may seem like an unnecessary middleman to some, there's certainly both value and convenience in doing so. Not only do you acquire the market-knowledge and expertise of these third-parties, but you also offset (some of) the responsibility and stress.

Anything to bear in mind when using a recruitment agency?

It's quite important that you trust your recruiter, as they'll be supporting you with a pretty huge step in not just your career, but your life! Like all industries - legal, property and sales to name a few - you get your fair share of dodgy characters. Recruitment is no different.

If you don't feel comfortable when speaking to your recruiter and see some red flags, it's maybe best to let them know that you're not interested and find a new contact. Pointers such as the following can be helpful:

  • Does your recruiter work for an agency? If so - does their website, Trustpilot and LinkedIn all check out?

  • Are they trying to sell you some paid-for course or charge you for anything?

  • Do they have a valid office address? Not a huge problem if not, but it's good to know either way.

Have you had much experience with a recruitment agency? If so, was it a positive experience? Please leave your thoughts below!

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