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What do Recruitment Agencies do?

By Maggie Worth
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Recruitment agencies are responsible for matching qualified employees with employers who need workers. Such agencies are experts in evaluating a hiring company's needs against the skills and experience of job seekers. Recruiters can conduct a number of job searches for a variety of companies simultaneously, so their efforts are often more efficient than the efforts of a single company hiring for a single position.

When a company needs to fill a position, it can contact a recruitment agency to help. The company provides the agency with a job description, pay rate and list of required and preferred education, skills and experience. The agency then finds candidates who best fit the hiring company's needs and presents those candidates to the potential employer.

These agencies advertise jobs, collect resumes, interview prospective candidates and maintain a database of job seekers. They assist in setting up interviews with the hiring company. They may also arrange drug, physical or skills testing, may coordinate background or credit checks when necessary and may check an applicant's references. Some recruitment agencies also offer resume assistance or interview skills training to job seekers.

Most often, recruitment agencies step out of the hiring process once a deal is signed between the future employee and the hiring company. The hiring company usually handles further human resources duties such as verification of employability and payroll and benefits setup. The agency, however, may check in with both the employee and the employer from time to time to ensure that the match has been successful.

Some recruitment agencies conduct searches for a broad range of industries and positions, while others specialize. For example, an agency may specialize in recruiting salespeople or attorneys. Another agency might fill a variety of clinical and non-clinical roles in the health care industry, but not fill administrative jobs outside the industry. A third might focus on filling openings for executive positions such as presidents, vice presidents or c-level officers.

Recruitment agencies may focus only on local businesses and job seekers or they may work on a national or international level. Some agencies focus only on permanent positions. Others staff temporary roles. Some agencies fill both types of positions.

Recruitment agencies may also be called employment agencies, staffing agencies or headhunters. The agency makes its money by collecting fees on successfully placed employees. Agency fees may be paid by either the hiring company or by the candidate, though in some areas, candidate-paid fees are considered unprofessional or unethical. The fee is often based on a percentage of the employee's annual salary.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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