Recruitment agencies can be a useful part of any job search, whether you are looking for a permanent graduate job, a temporary role or a part-time job.

They manage the recruitment process for organisations and companies who have chosen to outsource vacancies. They work to match your skills and abilities to suitable roles.  They advertise extensively both on a local and national basis, and therefore can have a good range of employer contacts and an awareness of the labour market. 

Why do employers use recruitment agencies?

Employers use recruitment agencies for a number of reasons, some of which include:

  • Large employers may want to outsource the initial stages of the recruitment process in order to save time.
  • They may be seeking a specialist post, and know that certain agencies work in specific sectors.
  • They may not have the staff capacity to deal with a large number of applications.
  • A high profile company may not want to advertise under their business name, as this can prevent unsuitable candidates who are only attracted by the name.

You will need to research the agencies that seem most appropriate for you.  Where possible do not restrict yourself to one agency but try and send your CV to a number of agencies.  If you are successful at this stage you may be offered a 'screening interview' which could be over the phone or undertaken face to face.  This is a good sign, and means that they are interested in you!

Do not forget that the agency act on behalf of the employer, this is where they make their money, and therefore their main goal is to find that employer the right calibre of applicant.  They have targets to meet and quota to fill.

Top Tips

  • Agencies like candidates who are looking for career roles that are similar to their past experience.  Ensure your CV is up to date and ‘fit for purpose’. Be explicit about the skills you have and pay close attention to the structure and layout. Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • If you apply online make sure you mirror the key words used in the specification.  This helps you to tick the right boxes as they sift through the applications.
  • Never part with money to sign up for an agency.
  • Register with more than one agency to maximise your chances.
  • Don't go forward for a job without good information regarding the employer and the role.
  • Be proactive and keep in contact with the agency.  Giiving a good impression should spur the agency into action and help to find you a suitable role.
  • If you are offered a job, the agency may be keen for you to accept as soon as possible so that they can claim any commission owed to them by the employer. Try not to let them put you under any pressure. It is your decision to accept or decline the offer.      

Recruitment Agency Information and Resources