Recruitment agencies – how do they work and are they a good idea?

People sometimes ask me how a recruitment agency works and I always have to pause and think where the best place is to start! Recruitment can be split into two areas; Candidate liaising and Client management but you can’t have one without the other.  Recruitment can be an unnecessarily stressful time for people and an agency is there to ease the whole process. In basic terms they are essentially a matchmaking service which takes into consideration things like skills, experience, characteristics, location and personality.  Clients can spend days, weeks and even months trying to source staff using their own means and actually this can end up being highly stressful, time consuming and costly.

When it comes to candidates a good agent likes to forge a good working relationship right from the beginning of the candidates’ journey. Agents like to get to know their candidates in order to get a better understanding about them and what they are particularly looking for.

What is the first step? 

The norm is for candidates to be invited to meet one of their consultants and other members of the team.  They will spend about 30 mins to an hour with the candidate discussing their careers to date, going over their skills and ideal companies/roles they would like to work in.  It is a great time for candidates to get to know them as well and get a feel for how they work and the type of clients and roles they work on.

After an initial chat they will go through the roles they currently have on their books and see if the candidate would be interested in any of them.  If the candidate is keen, the team will collate a short list of CVs which they then send to the client.  When an interview is requested by the client they will arrange the day/time, prep the candidate and brief them on the job giving them more detail.  They will, if they feel it is necessary, coach candidates with interview techniques and suggest interview attire as well as spending time on the phone prepping them on the company and who they are meeting, covering all the important information which they think will help them in the interview.

What about the clients? 

Agents follow the same process for their clients as they do with their candidates. They discuss the role and their requirements, and then draw up a short list of candidates who will fit the requirements for the role, putting forward only the best candidates that match.

It can be a very daunting experience starting your career but an agency is there to help you on your journey; assisting as and when they can, advising, coaching and even mentoring.

Most agencies work in a very similar way but may vary slightly and you may just “gel” better with one rather than another.

Pip Cox is Managing Director of Joyce Guiness, a boutique recruitment agency in London – www.joyceguiness.co.uk

Joyce Guiness works very closely with Oxford Media & Business School who offer the one year, intensive, Professional Business Diploma, teaching the advanced workplace skills that employers need. This Diploma on a CV will guarantee that the candidate will stand out and be seen above the rest of the job applicants – www.oxfordbusiness.co.uk

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