How To Get The Most From An Employment Agency

Whether you are a seasoned job hunter or this is the first time in twenty or thirty years that you have needed to change your job, I have created some useful information about dealing with agencies drawing on my six years experience working in the recruitment industry in the United Kingdom.


As an ex recruiter who worked for a well established local agency in the Midlands I have often heard first hand the horror stories of what happens when agencies get it wrong and make people’s lives a misery.

This section aims to clear up a few myths about agencies and also some hot tips and advice of how you as the job hunter should take control of them.

Remember that agencies can be your best friend or your worst enemy, so don’t be rude to them, a good agency will do all the running around for you, organise interviews and in some instances negotiate a higher salary or hourly rate.

-What does an agency do?-

The role of an agency is quite simple to find individuals with the right skills to meet the needs of the employers that they represent. In other words to match the Candidate (agency speak for you the job hunter) to the Client (the Employer)

I hear lots of people say, I work through an agency and they take loads of money of my hourly wage. I get paid 4.00 but the agency charges the employer 6.00 per hour.

It may feel that you are being ripped off but the answer to this is simple. All agencies have agreements with employers that allow for an additional percentage to be added on to the hourly wage. This percentage generally ranges from between 15 and 30% but can easily be higher.

This means that whatever rate the employer decides to pay to you as an employee; the agency can add its additional percentage on as a reward for finding suitable people to fill the position.

Most of the time it would be unlikely that you would be paid the amount the agency receives even if you applied directly to the firm because this is the agency’s fee for finding you. Having said this there are some agencies that will eat into the hourly rate they pay you in order to boost their profit margin, but it is not generally the case.

-What should I expect from my agency?-

A good agency should;

a) Offer you a face to face interview to find out your suitability for the types of positions they recruit for. I would strongly recommend that you make time to go to this as it allows you to leave a lasting impression on the recruiter and they are more likely to remember you amongst the thousands of CV’s they receive.

Hot Tip: Beware of agencies, who do not want to meet you, I would ask the question what have they got to hide? From my own personal experience I have found that such agencies add little value to the recruitment process and will simply send your CV to any and every employer that has registered with them in a mail shot approach, even your own employer due to their lack of care!

b) Help with your CV. A good agency will try and help you sort out your CV. They often have templates that you can use and will help you think about your experience and how best to present it.
Even if you have a stunning CV, the agency should have an intimate knowledge of the employer they are recruiting for and may be able to help you tailor your CV to the needs Agencja Reklamowa Warszawa of the employer by focusing on those skills that are most relevant.

c) Feedback

Regardless of the outcome of your application you should always expect to receive feedback from a good agency, even if it is no more than a brief telephone call to inform you that you have been unsuccessful. Please be aware that employers don’t always provide feedback or are unwilling to disclose exactly way you have been unsuccessful and it is not always the agency that are holding information back.

-What is the process?-

It can differ from agency to agency but a good agency will generally follow the basic format outlined below.

1. You send your CV to the agency requesting that you are placed on their database and considered for available work.

2. The agency contacts you to arrange a 30 minute interview to discuss your CV and perhaps do a basic testing relating to the specific skills you have, i.e. typing, IT skills etc.

3. Following your interview with them the agency considers you for suitable jobs that are placed with them.

4. The agency contacts you to discuss any suitable positions and asks your permission to send your details or CV to the company.

5. The agency contacts you with 1-2 weeks with feedback

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