How do recruitment agencies work?

Recruitment agencies, also known as employment agencies or staffing firms, act as intermediaries between employers and job seekers. But how exactly do recruitment agencies work?

Their primary function is to help employers find suitable candidates to fill job vacancies and assist job seekers in finding employment opportunities.

Here's a general overview of how recruitment agencies work.

Client engagement

Recruitment agencies establish relationships with employers (clients) who require assistance in finding qualified candidates. They may have ongoing partnerships with specific companies or work on a project-by-project basis.

Job requirement analysis

When an employer approaches a recruitment agency with a job opening, the agency's staff work closely with the client to understand the specific requirements of the position. This includes gathering information about the job description, qualifications, skills, experience, and any other relevant details.

Candidate sourcing

Recruitment agencies employ various methods to source potential candidates. They may leverage their existing database of job seekers, advertise the job opening on job boards, social media platforms, or their website, or proactively search for suitable candidates through networking, referrals, and direct outreach.

Screening & assessment

Once candidates express interest or are identified, recruitment agencies conduct initial screening processes. This can involve reviewing resumes/CVs, conducting phone or video interviews, and assessing candidates' qualifications, skills, and experience against the job requirements. Some agencies may also conduct additional assessments or tests, such as aptitude tests or technical evaluations, depending on the specific role.

Shortlisting & presentation

Based on the screening and assessment results, the agency selects a shortlist of qualified candidates to present to the employer. They provide detailed profiles or resumes of the shortlisted candidates, highlighting their relevant skills, experience, and suitability for the position. The agency may also facilitate interviews between the employer and the candidates. 

Selection & hiring: The employer reviews the profiles or conducts interviews with the shortlisted candidates. If they find a suitable candidate, they inform the recruitment agency, which then coordinates the hiring process. This may involve negotiating the job offer, conducting background checks, verifying references, and managing the necessary paperwork and logistics.

Follow-up & onboarding

After the candidate is hired, the recruitment agency often maintains contact with both the employer and the new employee to ensure a smooth transition and address any concerns or issues that may arise during the onboarding process. They may also provide guidance on employment contracts, benefits, and other related matters.

Fee structure

Recruitment agencies typically charge a fee for their services, which is usually a percentage of the candidate's first-year salary or a flat fee. The fee is paid by the employer and may vary depending on factors such as the seniority of the position, the complexity of the search, and the specific agreement with the agency.

It's important to note that the exact workings of recruitment agencies can vary based on the agency's specialisation, size, and geographic location.

Some agencies may focus on specific industries or job levels, while others offer a broader range of services.

For more information regarding this topic, check out SEEK's article on six things you need to know when working with a recruiter.

Additionally, if you're interested in using a recruitment agency, click the button below to learn more about 11 Recruitment.

How do recruitment agencies work?