Why do people use recruitment agencies? What are the benefits?


Whether you're searching for staff or thinking of a career change, read on and find out about the benefits of using a recruitment agency.

Why use a recruitment agency to find a job?


If you know how a recruitment agency gets paid, you'll be aware that recruiters work on behalf of the employer - not the job seeker.


But can candidates still benefit from using a recruitment agency?


Answer: yes!


"...a job seeker will need to put in some work in order to get the most from a recruitment agency."


Consultants are always on the lookout for skilled people and might be able to open the door to opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible.


Advantages of using a recruitment service to find work


  • They're free to job seekers!

  • Recruiters can open up a large network of clients who are looking for staff.

  • Some job vacancies will only appear via a recruitment agency.

  • There are recruiters who specialise in YOUR industry.

  • Many agencies will offer tools to optimise a job seeker's employability (such as CV writing).


All sounds great, right?


Well, this relationship isn't completely one-sided and a job seeker will need to put in some work in order to get the most from a recruitment service.


How candidates can reap the benefits of a recruitment agency


Recruitment agencies can be hugely advantageous to job seekers.


But what do candidates have to do to make sure the agency process works for them?


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Chris Dickenson, Managing Director at The Advocate Group, believes that developing an effective relationship with a recruitment agency is ultimately the most important factor for any candidate (or client):


"Working closely with the correct recruitment partner is imperative whether you are a client or candidate. Picking a consultancy that takes the time to assess your skills, experiences, characteristics and circumstances, in order to effectively match both company and candidate together, adds huge value to any process."

Should graduates use a recruitment agency?

Although university leavers may think that employment services are for those with a little more on their CV, recruiters are always interested in hearing from new talent.


As an inexperienced job seeker, the task of finding a job can be daunting - so what better way to increase the odds than by working with someone who understands the graduate job market?


It goes without saying that contacting the right recruitment agency is key, but many firms provide a service that will significantly boost the chances of landing a graduate job.


As well as putting candidates forward for relevant job roles, agencies will also commonly offer further guidance to help make a graduate more employable in the real world. This can range from CV writing services to interview tips.


"As recruitment agencies already have a pool of qualified candidates, and resources to attract even more, agency recruitment is usually faster than in-house recruitment."


Regardless of the circumstances, and whether they have immediate vacancies, recruiters can help graduates to best market themselves in a competitive environment.  

Why use a recruitment agency to find staff?

Hiring can be time-consuming and expensive - and that's just if the process goes smoothly.


What if things don't go completely to plan? Or an employer is forced to take on the cost of hiring the wrong candidate?


Why companies use recruitment agencies


There are a number of reasons why an employer may decide to outsource their hiring process, but the main benefits that a recruitment agency provides to businesses are:


  • Market knowledge.

  • A wider candidate reach.

  • Recruitment experience.

  • Reduction in the time of hire.

  • Lower risk of a bad hire.


As businesses are often lacking the time, resources and expertise to recruit effectively, turning to a recruitment agency is an attractive proposition.


With most things, though, money is typically a deciding factor, but do agencies really fall down when it comes to cost?


Are recruitment agencies cheaper than in-house recruitment?


One reason why employers may choose to carry out their own candidate search is because, on paper, it seems cheaper than outsourcing to an external company.


But what about the hidden costs?


While the fee for using a recruitment agency might be larger than the initial in-house spend, unforeseen costs soon pile up - often making it more expensive.


Nathan Bruton, Managing Director at Le Breton, believes that: "The biggest advantage of using a recruitment agency, rather than in-house recruitment, is the time and money saved by cutting out the advertising of job roles, vetting and the interviewing of candidates."


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Whether it's the time taken from others in order to assess candidates, or the amount of time that a job role is unmanned, time is not on the side of an actively recruiting employer.


How do recruitment agencies reduce time and costs?


As recruitment agencies already have a pool of qualified candidates, and the resources to attract even more, agency recruitment is usually faster than in-house recruitment. They also allow managers and other staff to concentrate on their own jobs - thus maintaining high-levels of productivity in the workplace.


Additionally, there's nothing to say that a hiring campaign is going to find the right candidate(s) at the first time of asking. This could mean repeating the process numerous times and racking up even more costs. Recruiters are experts in their field and minimise this risk, as well as that of making a bad hire.

Why and when to use headhunters

Headhunting recruitment firms specialise in attracting those hard to find candidates, usually for high-end or high skilled jobs.


When to use a headhunter


Recruiting for a senior or well-paid role?


Also referred to as an executive search, headhunting is used by an employer who is looking for a specific individual for a specific job. This often involves approaching passive job seekers who fit a very narrow criteria.


A headhunter usually employs a much more intensive process than a recruitment agency, typically calling on a greater pool of resources and knowledge.


What are the benefits of using a headhunter?


Headhunters are the mysterious ninjas of the recruitment world. They usually work on a retained basis, so they have a larger incentive than most to find the right people.


"Senior talent with itchy feet will always be of interest to a headhunter, especially if they can lead to a hefty commission."


One of the main advantages of working with a headhunter is their contact book. Headhunters are lauded for their list of contacts, and chances are, they already have someone in mind before hearing the intricate details of the role.


Headhunting consultancies will also look to attract active AND passive candidates, meaning that employers are more likely to get the best person for the job - rather than just the best person currently looking for a job.


Should a candidate approach an executive search firm?


It can't hurt.


While it's more typical for a headhunter to approach a candidate, that's not to say that someone who's looking for a career change can't reach out.


Senior talent with itchy feet will always be of interest to a headhunter, especially if they can lead to a hefty commission.


Top professionals will likely have developed the right personal brand to enable them to be found, however, letting a headhunter know that they're in the market will ensure that they're near the top of the pile when the right opportunity arises.

Find a recruitment agency

The key to any successful recruitment process is finding the right recruitment agency for you. Regardless of your needs though, whether you're searching for staff or that next step on the career ladder, agencies offer a valuable resource that can help you reach your short and long-term goals.   Written by Dan Whitelegg