Everything you wondered about recruitment agencies

Everything you wondered about recruitment agencies

When we asked what questions people have about recruitment agencies and why they sometimes struggle to use them, many answered that they feel confused about the way they work. How would candidates have nothing to pay to get a job to the point where recruiters contact them without them having anything to do? So here are the answers you wanted!


How does the process of using a recruitment agency work?


  1. Companies have job openings they need to fill with the right people.

  2. Companies decide to get help from a recruitment agency. They pick an agency based on its reputation and expertise.

  3. The company and the agency agree on terms, like fees and services.

  4. The company tells the agency exactly what kind of person they’re looking for—skills, experience, etc.

  5. The agency uses resources like databases, job boards, and social media to look for potential candidates.

  6. The agency checks CVs and interviews potential candidates to see if they’re a good fit.

  7. The agency gives the company a list of the best-matched candidates.

  8. The company interviews the shortlisted candidates, and the agency might help coordinate and provide feedback.

  9. The agency verifies a candidate’s work history and qualifications by checking references.

  10. The agency helps negotiate things like salary and start date between the company and the chosen candidate.

  11. The chosen candidate starts working for the company.

  12. The company pays the recruitment agency a previously agreed-upon fee, usually a percentage of the new employee’s first-year salary.


Will I have anything to pay?


In the traditional UK recruitment model, candidates usually do not have to pay fees to the recruitment agency. The fees are typically covered by the hiring company or employer that engages the agency’s services. The employer pays the recruitment agency a fee based on a percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary once a successful placement is made.

This means that candidates can use the services of a recruitment agency to help them find job opportunities without incurring any direct costs. However, candidates need to be aware of the terms and conditions of the recruitment process, as some agencies may offer additional services (such as CV writing or interview coaching) for a fee. These additional services, if opted for by the candidate, would involve a separate cost.

It’s always a good idea for candidates to clarify any potential costs or fees with the recruitment agency before engaging in their services to avoid any misunderstandings. In general, though, the standard recruitment services provided to candidates, including job search, application submission, and interview coordination, are typically offered at no cost to the candidates themselves.


Why isn’t everyone using recruitment agencies?


Costs for employers: Hiring companies typically bear the cost of recruitment agency fees, which can be a percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary. Some companies may find these fees to be a significant expense, especially for smaller businesses with limited budgets.

In-house recruitment teams: Larger companies may have their in-house recruitment teams with the expertise to handle the hiring process. They may prefer to manage the process internally rather than outsourcing it to an external agency.

Industry-specific networks: In some industries, professionals may rely on industry-specific networks, online platforms, or job boards to find opportunities. They may feel confident in their ability to secure a position without the need for a recruitment agency.

Direct applications: Some candidates prefer to apply directly to companies rather than going through a third-party agency. They may believe that applying directly gives them more control over the application process and allows for direct communication with employers.

Limited opportunities: Not all job openings are advertised through recruitment agencies. Many companies choose to advertise positions on their websites, job boards, or through other channels, making it possible for candidates to find opportunities without involving a recruitment agency.


How do I know what recruitment agencies to avoid?


Here are some criteria to consider:

  • Research and reputation – You can check online reviews and testimonials.

  • Transparency – A good agency should be clear about what you could pay and how the process will work.

  • Communication – pay attention to how much the recruiters communicate with you, if they answer your questions and listen to what you want.

  • Trust your gut feeling – if you think you ‘don’t know how to feel about this agency’, you have your answer. Run.