What do recruitment agencies do? Here’s the real answer…

If you’re someone looking for a new job or a company that has been thinking about taking on staff, you may have asked “what do recruitment agencies do?”

It may be a question that many people think they know the answer to, but the truth is there is sometimes misunderstandings or confusion about what these kinds of companies actually focus on and how they differ from other businesses.

So in our role as an educator here at Anne Corder Recruitment, we’re going to explain in simple terms exactly what recruitment agencies are and what they specialise in.

Core activity

The fundamental thing to know is that recruitment agencies are service companies that help businesses (their clients) fill their staffing vacancies by finding them suitable candidates.

They act as the ‘middleman’ between the employer and the jobseeker, matching the business’s requirements with candidates who have the right skills and experience.

Sometimes known as employment agencies or talent acquisition agencies, recruitment firms are experts in finding the ‘talent’ companies need, often using methods such as advertising to source them.

They typically encourage job applications from suitably qualified individuals and filter them down to a small number for the client to interview.

Recruitment agencies can be engaged by hiring managers or company owners within a business or by Human Resources (HR) departments in larger organisations.


Many recruitment agencies specialise in particular work sectors, such as finance, HR (finding internal Human Resources staff for companies), IT, marketing, or sales.

This makes them experts in these fields, often with good connections to businesses working in these areas, as well as employees already working in these sectors who may be open to new opportunities.

Likewise, some recruitment companies specialise in sourcing certain levels and types of staff, from temporary shift-workers for a factory to full-time company directors for multinational firms.

Geographic focus

In the same way that some recruitment agencies specialise in particular work sectors, some also focus on specific geographic areas or territories.

For example, at Anne Corder Recruitment, as well as recruiting nationally for some of our clients, we specialise in finding the right staff for companies based in the Peterborough region of the UK. Having been established in the city of Peterborough for more than 25 years, we are experts in the local jobs market and the needs of businesses in the area.

Likewise, other recruitment firms focus on different geographic areas or offer a nationwide service, often from one central office located in a large city such as London or Birmingham.

Added-value services

Many recruitment agencies limit their activities to finding and attracting staff for their clients, whilst others offer a range of added-value services.

These can include helping their clients create job specifications for candidates they want to recruit, developing strategies for their long-term staffing needs, taking part in interviews, and carrying out personality and psychometric tests of shortlisted potential employees.

In addition, some provide resourcing management reports, offer ongoing support to new employees (post placement support), and can even assist with ‘outplacement’ activities when a company must make staff redundant and wants to help those affected secure new jobs.

Different approaches

As you may expect, recruitment agencies take very different approaches to what they do.

Many focus on the quantity of candidates that apply for a job they advertise and use technologies to filter out those that don’t precisely meet the job specifications. Others take a very different approach and instead focus on the personal qualities of each candidate, believing that the right ‘match’ for their clients is about much more than just qualifications and an impressive CV.

Similarly, many agencies remain very ‘hands-off’ from their clients, never actually meeting them or taking the time to understand their business and their internal business culture or philosophies. But a small number choose to do things differently and meet every one of their clients face-to-face to really get to know the business and understand their ambitions and aspirations.

For candidates

Although recruitment agencies are commissioned by businesses to find them staff for their vacancies, ethical high-quality agencies also show the same level of respect and courtesy that they show their clients to candidates applying for the roles.

These agencies develop relationships with the candidates regardless of whether they secure a job advertised or not, and can often help them find their perfect new position in the future.

Unfortunately, many agencies approach recruitment as a numbers game, ignoring or side-lining candidates who don’t meet a specific business’s requirements (and quickly moving on to the next potential candidate instead), rather than building a connection that may last throughout the candidate’s career.


There are a vast range of recruitment agencies available, from those that specialise in particular sectors to those that offer services far beyond just advertising jobs and filtering applications.

Whether you’re an employer looking for staff or someone looking for a new role, it’s important you work with a recruitment agency that you trust and can rely on.


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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