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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.