What is a recruitment agency?

A recruitment agency functions as an independent broker between their client companies and the job seekers they hire for a position. Some recruitment agencies focus on sourcing and recruiting for permanent or full-time, direct hire posts, contract positions, and jobs for specific industries (I.T., Marketing, Finance, etc.)

Recruitment agencies operate in two ways. Those specializing in Client Relationships and Recruiting or Sourcing candidates tend to offer a wider range of service involving executive search, training and consultancy, and career counseling. Those focusing on contract placements (hourly payment for temporary work) split their tasks into two functional groups, with one working on sales and open job orders and the other focusing on recruiting. A headhunter is an agency that places job seekers in full-time posts with their client companies. Take note that some recruitment agencies take offense at being called a “headhunter” and prefer recruitment consulting firm or recruitment agency.

How does a recruitment agency work?

An employer looking to fill a job opening selects a recruitment agency to generate a list of suitable candidates. The recruitment agency then reviews the resumes on its database and picks out and actively hunts for possible candidates and forwards a report to their client employers for further selection.

Depending on the job being offered, the recruitment agency’s work may involve directing the candidate for interview with the client, furnishing the client with a compilation of resumes, or making the final decision themselves.

When the right candidate is chosen and hired, the employer pays the recruitment agency. The transaction costs them nothing. Most jobseekers simply need to pass their applications to a recruitment agency and have their contact details listed. In theory at least, the recruitment agency should notify them of any suitable job openings.