How Do Recruitment Agencies Work?

You’re on the hunt for a job (be it part-time, full-time or perhaps even a paid internship), but you’re finding it pretty tough to find a role that’s right for you. You’ve exhausted all the local and national job boards and even tried to find the ideal job on Linked In, but unfortunately to no avail. You feel like finding a job is like the most difficult Where’s Wally? puzzle ever created!

Enter our expert Where’s Wally? ‘finder’… the recruitment agency! Recruitment agencies act as the middle man between a company that is looking to employ someone and someone like you, who is looking for a job. Their job is basic – to find the most suitable person for the vacancy. Sounds awesome, right? Want to know more about how recruitment agencies work? Of course you do!

What’s the Recruitment Agency Process?

So a company who want to hire somebody as amazingly talented as you, but may not have to time or resources to hire directly, knock on the metaphorical door of a recruitment agency and say, “Hey! Here’s a job description. Can you please advertise our job and find us a 20 ideal candidates?”

The recruitment agency then sift through their database of CVs (which are submitted to them by people like you) and present them to the company. The company then gives the thumbs up to getting the agency to arrange an interview.

How Can I Get Involved?

Recruitment agencies are really useful when looking for a job – they know what the employer and soon-to-be employee both want. They might even help you prepare for an interview if you manage to land one, so it’s understandable that you’ll want to get involved. We should stress now though, that using a recruitment agency (or several, as there’s nothing stopping you using more than one) should form part of your job search, not all of it!

Anyway, back to how you can get involved. Contact recruitment agencies that specialise in the industry you want to land a job in, e.g. management consulting. Recruitment agencies aren’t careers advisers, so if you’re not sure what industry you want to work in, take our career test before getting in touch with any agencies.

When you contact them, they will arrange an over-the-phone or face-to-face interview. They’ll ask about your career goals, salary expectations and your qualifications. You may have already been asked to send a CV over, and they may ask you questions on that, so make sure you know it backwards. A top tip from is to make sure your CV has keywords on it relating to your skills, academic achievements (i.e. degree classification), career choice (e.g. finance) so that when it’s put onto a database, the recruitment agency can find it quickly when they do a search.

What Happens Next?

Once your CV is on the system, the recruitment agency will contact you if they find a suitable role to see if you give permission for them to send your CV off. If it’s a ‘good’ time of the year for hiring, such as September or January, you may get an interview sooner rather than later. Christmas and summer holidays are quieter time of the year due to people being on holiday.

If you don’t get something, contact the agency every couple of weeks to make sure you stay on their radar and see if any opportunities have arisen which may have bypassed you. You can also discuss things like other career paths that you want to explore and what you can do to make yourself more employable. If you haven’t heard about any roles within four weeks, find another recruitment agency.

Recruitment agencies are free to use and can open door you previously didn’t know were there. As long as you don’t rely on them solely, what’s there to lose?

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