What type of recruitment agency do I need?

There are different types of recruitment agencies that you could use to find the staff you need for your business. We outline the four main types here.

As any business leader knows, finding the right staff for your organisation is absolutely key. You want individuals who are motivated, highly skilled and experienced, and will make a tangible positive difference to your company.

But finding the right talent – particularly during a national staffing shortage – is not always easy. That is why so many companies turn to a recruitment agency like Anne Corder Recruitment, who are the experts at finding the best candidates for the roles you want to fill.

But it can be challenging knowing which type of recruitment agency to use with so many different agencies around.

So we’re going to outline here the four main types available so you can make an informed decision on which one is right for your business.

Types of Recruitment Agencies

  1. Temp agencies

If you’re a business looking for temporary staff, then a specialist temp agency may be the right choice (although most full service agencies also source temporary staff).

Often known as staffing agencies, they specialise in finding employees for short-term assignments, such as covering a period of maternity leave or just working over a seasonal period such as the summer or over Christmas when you’re the busiest.

Temp agencies also find staff for short-term projects (which may require specialist technical skills) and for periods when full-time members of staff are sick or on holiday.

Unlike other types of agencies, temp agencies pay the salaries and benefits of the staff they source, rather than them being paid directly by the company. Temporary staff are usually paid an hourly rate and may also be entitled to holiday and sick pay (as well as other benefits), all of which the agency reclaims back from the employer.

Temporary workers may include students who have long holidays, parents returning to the workplace, or simply those who like the flexibility of working in different roles for different companies.

They are sometimes paid more per hour than permanent staff, but even when they aren’t, they have the opportunity to demonstrate their professionalism and capabilities which could lead to the offer of a permanent position.

  1. Traditional full service agencies

Traditional full service agencies source candidates for a wide range of jobs for businesses from many different sectors or industries.

They typically advertise roles on appropriate job sites, filter applications, liaise with the strongest candidates, and manage the whole recruitment campaign for their clients.

The best of them also offer added value services such as providing resourcing reports for senior managers, taking part in interview panels if requested, and even providing assistance for ‘outplacement’ services when a company needs to let staff go.

Sometimes known as ‘contingency agencies’, these types only get paid by their clients if they successfully put forward candidates who are hired by them. This means they work hard to ensure the candidates they source and put forward are high quality and have the right skills and experience.

Most full service agencies not only source candidates for full-time permanent roles, but also for temporary and short-term contract jobs, as well as part-time positions.

And some have deep expertise in particular job types – such as Finance or HR – as well as being experts in other jobs.

In addition, some full service agencies are experts in a particular geographic area – such as a city or county – and understand local hiring trends, the local employment market, and the needs of local businesses and candidates better than many national agencies.

  1. Specialist agencies

These niche recruitment agencies typically specialise in one particular business sector or industry type, such as healthcare, banking, or the manufacturing industry.

They are generally experts in these fields and have good connections to, and relationships with, businesses and candidates within them. This means they understand the specific challenges these organisations face and are well placed to source candidates with the right knowledge and relevant experience.

And as these agencies are often asked to source candidates with highly specialist skills, they rarely look for candidates in just one location, but instead look nationally, or even internationally.

They also typically use specialist job sites to advertise roles, or in some cases they may contact potential candidates directly to see whether they would be interested in applying.

Specialist agencies can work on a contingency or project basis and can source part-time, full-time, and temporary specialist staff.

  1. Executive search agencies

Executive search companies are used by businesses that are looking for a senior level, usually high-paid, executive member of staff, such as a director or chief executive.

Unlike other types of recruitment agencies, they are hired by clients on a retainer basis, meaning they are usually paid a fee upfront to source the best candidate, with some also charging a percentage of the successful candidate’s salary when they are hired. This percentage could be up to 50% of their starting salary, far more than that charged by a traditional full service agency (which is usually between 15% and 25%).

As these agencies are looking for very specific types of people for the positions they have been tasked to fill, they rarely use job sites to advertise roles. Instead, they head-hunt the best candidates (often internationally) and approach them directly to discuss with them the new opportunity.

Many of these potential candidates are not actively looking for a new position and already have a highly paid executive role, meaning it can take several months to find and entice a suitably qualified person to the new position.

Other agency considerations

After deciding which type of recruitment agency is right for you, it’s important to ensure that the agency you select shares your values and is a good fit.

Many agencies may offer the services you’re looking for, but some could operate in a way that is wrong for your business.

They may be focused on filling vacancies fast rather than ensuring the candidates they put forward are a perfect match. Or they could ignore your business’s culture and philosophies and just be interested in whether a candidate meets the job specifications.

Others could be high volume agencies that are less interested in building a long term relationship with you and your business than they are in generating revenues quickly.

Read the article ‘What should employers look for in a recruitment agency’ to learn more about this.



Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

E: alex@annecorder.co.uk
T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

E: sarahjane@annecorder.co.uk
T: 01733 235298

Emily Hill

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”

Outside of work

“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my husband and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”

Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
E: emily@annecorder.co.uk
T: 01733 235298

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