Recruitment agencies

Information about recruitment agencies.

A row of people standing side by side with a lady holding a sign saying 'Hire me' Recruitment agencies match the skills, knowledge and experience of candidates to the hiring requirements of companies. They can be found on a local, national and international level. Agencies handle both permanent and temporary vacancies from all sizes of organisation. Some agencies offer a variety of jobs across a variety of sectors, while others specialise in a particular sector.

How recruitment agencies work

Usually, you send your CV to an agency who will identify possible roles for you. The agency will contact you to discuss these with you and gain your approval before putting you forward. Then, the agency will coordinate the interview process and provide feedback.

Recruitment agencies should not charge candidates for registering with them or placing them. However, they may charge for additional services such as compiling a CV. An agency will not take a percentage of a candidate's salary directly from them; instead it will charge its client a percentage of the candidate's salary or rate as a separate fee.

Joining a recruitment agency

If you would like to join a recruitment agency, you should do your research before deciding which one is for you because agencies provide varying levels of service. The names and addresses of agencies can be found in various publications. Most agencies also have a website.

When you join an agency, you'll be allocated to a recruitment consultant whose job it is to ensure that you are put forward for the right jobs. It is your responsibility to keep your consultant informed of any changes in your circumstances. If you are invited to an agency to discuss your options, you should treat it like any other job interview.

You can register with as many recruitment agencies as you wish, however it may be best to limit the number you register with to a small amount initially. Many employers are also registered with more than one agency so they may receive your CV more than once for a vacancy.

You should avoid agencies:

  • That charge for finding or trying to find you work;
  • that try to persuade you to take unsuitable vacancies;
  • that offer you no guidance or information about the employer to whom they are sending you.

The Employment Agencies Act 1973 outlines the minimum standards of conduct for employment agencies and this is available online from the office of public sector information (OPSI).