Recruitment agencies are used by organisations to find people for both permanent and temporary jobs they have on offer. They may be able to help you with your job search
There are pros and cons to using a recruitment agency. A specialist recruitment agency for your chosen field often has great knowledge of that industry and tips that might enhance your application. An agency gives your CV access to many different employers, too, although it is the recruitment consultant, with many candidates on their books, who will decide whether it gets sent to them.
Recruitment agencies earn their money from the employer when they find someone for the job, which means that sometimes they might be inclined to encourage you to apply for roles for which you may be well suited but not really interested in. It's wise to be open and honest with a recruitment consultant about your requirements. Don't rely on a recruitment agency and always continue your job search elsewhere, too.
UK directories of recruitment agencies are available from:
Recruitment agencies can be generalists or specialists in certain fields. Use agency websites to browse the jobs they currently have advertised to help you decide which agency might be most suitable. Some employers will use one specific agency for their recruitment or they may use a variety for the same roles. Find out which agencies are used by employers you're particularly keen to work for by researching their advertised roles or by getting in touch with the employer to ask.
You can register with more than one recruitment agency, although registering with too many isn't advised as many will be working to fill the same positions. Always check that the agency is a member of the REC (the professional body for the industry).
Make sure that the agency deals with your field, and then call them or read the information on their website to find out the process to sign up with them.
Often they'll ask you to submit a CV, and sometimes they might ask you to come in for a quick consultation about what you're looking for. Very occasionally (more commonly for temping agencies) they might ask you to take short tests of skills, such as numeracy, IT, spelling or typing.
Agencies will usually only register you if they feel confident that they might have a role in the near future for which you would be suitable, so make sure all communication is professional, as if you were being interviewed for a job.
Keep in touch as your job search progresses, build a good rapport with your consultant, and make sure that you let the agency know when you no longer wish to be on their books.
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