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A recruitment agency is a company that helps a company find the right talent when they’ve a vacancy. The agency will look for the right candidates to interview, and work with these candidates to help them prepare for the interview process.

As an individual looking for work, a recruitment agency will help you access these openings and make sure that you are better able to gain the work that you are looking for. 

How do I join a recruitment agency?

You can sign up for a recruitment agency online if they have an application form, via email attaching your CV and cover letter or by calling them. In this brief introduction you’ll need to explain to them the type of position you are looking for along with your skills and work experience to date. 

The agency will then reach out to you to offer you an interview to find out more about you and the opportunities you are looking for. Although this is informal, it’s important to be dressed appropriately to the roles you are interested in, as they’ll then see you as a suitable candidate to be put forward for these roles. 

Some agencies will also ask you to sit skills tests such as spelling and IT literacy. 

If the agency feels that you are the ideal client for their company base, they will assist you in your search and get in touch with you when appropriate vacancies arise.

There are a number of specialist recruitment agencies that deal with specific industries or sectors so before you sign up to an agency do your research. You’ll want to sign up to agencies that are likely to have the right positions for you. You can do this via websites such as Agency Central or CV Library

How do recruitment agencies work?

When an appropriate vacancy arises, the agency will be in touch with you to ask you whether you would like to be put forward as a candidate. You’ll then follow the recruitment process in the normal way, for example through attending interviews. 

After each interview you will liaise with your recruitment agency to get a better understanding of how well you did and what went wrong, which means that, if you don’t get the place you can work to being more prepared for the next set of interviews. 

How do I apply for a job through agencies?

The agency will contact you when they have a vacancy they think is appropriate for you, whilst you can also ask them to put you forward if you see something on their website that interests you. 

What are the benefits of applying through a recruitment agency?

Agencies have built relationships with their clients which means that they understand their culture better, and you can therefore interview better with this knowledge, and are able to put you in forward for positions that you wouldn’t otherwise have heard about.

They can also give you advice on your CV and cover letter, coach you to interview and offer constructive feedback from each interview and employer. They will also be able to give you specialist advice on your industry or position. 

Should I join more than one agency?

You can join as many agencies as you like, but remember to work with those that will have relevant positions available to you.

How much does it cost?

Using a recruitment agency should never cost you money, as they charge the company and receive a fee based on whether you’ve an individual has started in a role. If you are unsure about a recruitment agency, they should be registered with the industry's professional body, The Recruitment & Employment Confederation