Recruitment agencies

Find out how recruitment agencies can be part of your job search


What are recruitment agencies? 

Using recruitment agencies to find work can be an effective way of finding a broader range of opportunities. They operate in a wide variety of industry sectors and advertise both temporary and permanent positions so can be used at any stage of your career. 

Recruitment agencies streamline the job hunting process by matching candidates to suitable vacancies.

Employers may use an agency for all their recruitment, taking advantage of the agency’s expertise in head hunting or recruitment support. Their roles may only be found on the recruitment agency site. 

Other employers may find agencies offer an effective way to recruit for specialist posts. This can be beneficial to you if you are interested in specific roles which require specific skill sets. 

Types of recruitment agencies 

Not all agencies are the same so it’s important to do your research and approach the right ones for you: 

  • Specialist graduate agencies - large employers outsource their graduate recruitment to these agencies which give you access to opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have known about. 

  • Industry specific – have insights into particular sectors and strong links with employers. 

  • Generalised – offer roles at all levels. 

How does it all work? 

  • Search the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) member directory to find an REC accredited member. You can search by sector, location or company name: 

       REC member directory

  • Register with an agency either through their website, by email or by telephone – have your CV ready to submit either by email or web form.  
  • Attend a short interview with a recruiter to find out more about the roles you’re interested in. Make a little effort to dress smartly; it’s not a job interview, but go business casual or smart casual.   
  • Complete skills tests if required, to assess your Ievel of literacy and IT proficiency.   
  • If the agency thinks you may be a suitable candidate for its client companies, it will add you to its database, and contact you when relevant vacancies arise.  
  • Register with three to four agencies; although there is no limit to the number of agencies you can register with it’s best to restrict yourself to a small number so you can build an active relationship with each one. 

 Next steps… 

  • Keep in touch with the agency. Recruiters register new candidates on a daily basis so it’s advisable to check in every 10-14 days to build a rapport with your recruiter. That way, your name will spring to mind when new opportunities come up.  

  • Respond promptly when they contact you – timing can be crucial so make sure you get back to them quickly or you might miss out.  

  • Keep an open mind – if you’re put forward for an interview that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, don’t dismiss it -  it could be a stepping stone to your future career. 

Recruitment agencies are a valuable resource in your graduate-level job search but many employers choose not to use them. Use agencies as a part of your job hunting strategy; not as your sole approach.