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So How Does A Recruitment Agency Actually Work?

By Siobhan on

This may be your first time using a recruitment agency – maybe you’re new to the job market, or maybe you’ve simply never wanted or had to before. Whatever the reason, if you’re going to work with us then it’s important that you know how we work. Here, we try to answer all of the questions that you might have wanted to ask but didn’t!


Where do you get your jobs from?

We work with loads of agencies and companies who register their jobs with us.  They are predominanlty people that we have worked wiht for many years so have a deep insight into what they’re about. We find applicants for them, and pass on their CVs; this is called an introduction. The client will then interview them (or reject them). If they offer one of our candidates the job, we get paid a fee. That’s how we make our money.

Because we’re a niche recruitment agency, all of our jobs are in the fields of marketing, PR & Social, digital, and creative. Similarly, we focus almost entirely on permanent roles. Other recruitment agencies may specialise in other sectors, or temporary roles, or will do a bit of everything.

 I sent my CV to you for a job. What happens next?

We look at and read every single CV that we get sent – on average, about 60 a day. Then we make a decision about each one, which boil down to these four options:

1. We can’t help you. Unfortunately, your CV doesn’t have the skills or experience that our clients look for, or you don’t have enough experience. Our clients generally ask for a minimum of professional experience, so that it’s worth them paying the fee for using our services.

Trust us, if we think that we can help you, then we will. We earn our living from placing excellent candidates with our clients – so it is in our interest to register you if we believe we can place you. If we’ve rejected you for a job that you’ve applied for, then sadly there is a reason for it.

We do our best to reply via email to everyone we’re unable to help. Believe us, we wish that we could help everyone but sadly it’s just not possible!

2. We might be able to help you, but we’re not sure. There might be some information missing from your CV, or there might be an unusual job title that we don’t recognise. You might have applied for a job in Birmingham but live in Brighton, and it’s not clear that you’re looking to relocate. In these cases, we would get in touch to ask these questions, and then decide between options 1, 3, and 4.

3. We can help you, but not right now. Your skills and experience fit the roles for which we recruit, but we don’t have any relevant roles right at the moment.

4. We can help you now. Your skills and experience fit the roles for which we recruit, and there are one or more current roles for which your CV looks good.

In the case of 3 or 4, we will get in touch so that we can arrange for you to have an interview with one of our recruitment consultants.


What is the interview with one of your recruitment consultants for, and how does it work?

The interview with us is the first step of the process. The interview will be either face-to-face, over the phone, or over Skype – whatever is most convenient for you.

We want to speak to you to find out about you – your career and your experience, but, more importantly, what you’re looking for, where you’re looking for it, and why you’re looking for a new role. Not only do we learn about what sort of work you really enjoy and are ideally searching for, but we can tell our clients that we’ve met or spoken to you and how well suited you are for the job!


What happens after the interview with one of your recruitment consultants?

Now that we know what you’re looking for – in terms of job description, location, salary – we will tell you about any roles we have that would be relevant. We may not have any relevant roles at the moment, and if that’s the case then we’ll tell you that too.

Either way, we will then register you on our database. This means that if any new jobs come in, you will pop up on our database search. We will then be able to get in touch and tell you about it.

We may – in certain circumstances – also be able to do some speculative work for you. This means that we would send your CV anonymously to companies that we know would suit your skills. This in no way guarantees that you will get hired, or even an interview, but it often does.

When we register you on our database, we store your contact information and your original CV. We then create a new CV for you that is formatted in our house style and branded with our logo; this is then the CV that we send to clients if we put you forward for a job. We do this so that it is clear that your CV was sent by us, and that we earned the fee if the client hires you. It also means that a client won’t be biased, one way or another, by the appearance of your CV.


What happens when you tell me about jobs? How do I get put forward?

Whether we have a job to tell you about during your initial interview, or whether we call you about a role a few weeks after you’ve registered, the process is the same.

We will tell you about the job and the company in detail. We’ll send you a job description, which we will have received from the client. We will do our best to answer any questions you might have. And then we’ll let you decide whether you would like your details to be put forward for the role. We will never send your details to a role without your permission. If you give us permission, we send your details to the client as an introduction.

If it’s not the role for you, then please just say so – we won’t mind at all! We would much rather you simply say that you’re not interested in a role at the outset, than explain to a client why you’ve decided not to attend an interview.  


If you tell me about a role, should I go and apply for it myself? Or contact the hiring manager directly?

Whatever you do, please DO NOT DO THIS!

The whole point of using a recruitment agency is that we introduce candidates to clients. If you were to email the hiring manager directly after we’ve told you about the role, before we’ve had a chance to send your details over, then we haven’t introduced you – you have. This means that all the work we’ve done interviewing you and telling you about the role is wasted, since the client counts this as you applying directly to the role. Even if you were to contact them directly after we’ve sent your details, this can still put us in a sticky situation. And since this is how we earn our money, it’s not very fair!

Accidents happen, and if it’s your first time using a recruiter then we’ll forgive you. We understand that the process isn’t necessarily clear to an outsider! But if you make the mistake once, don’t repeat it! Recruiters everywhere will thank you.


What happens if I’ve already applied to that role myself, or through another recruitment agency?

You may think that being submitted to a role twice will double your chances – it doesn’t!

If you have already applied to a role, either yourself or through another recruitment agency, please tell us when we tell you about the role. We’ll always ask you if you have, so you have the opportunity to do so! You have nothing to gain from having your details submitted twice, and you risk appearing unprofessional in the eyes of the client. It also makes us look unprofessional, which we’d really rather avoid!


So what happens after you’ve sent my details to a job?

After we’ve sent your CV to a client, we wait for the client to get back to us. There are two options:

1. They reject your CV. There’s nothing more we can do after this, unfortunately. We will try to get some feedback as to why, and inform you as soon as possible.

2. They want to see you for an interview. We will get in touch to tell you the good news, and arrange the interview for you. We do all the back and forth between you and the client to arrange a suitable date and time. And we then we send you a confirmation with all the information included. All you have to do then is do your interview preparation and show up!


Once I go to the first interview with the client, what do you do after that?

We still act as the go-between for you and the client. After you’ve been to the interview, you should let us know your feedback and how you feel it went. This is so that we can pass this on to the client and let them know how interested (or not!) you are in the role.

We then let you know the client’s thoughts, whether that be a rejection, an invitation to a second interview, or a job offer. We are the conduit between you and the client. This also means that we will do any salary negotiation or similar on your behalf, or reject the offer of another interview or of the job.

If you accept a job offer, it is at that point that we hand over the reins of communication to you and the client – your new employer – directly.


This is what you’re getting when you sign up with a recruitment agency!

We aim to make your job search easier and we try our best to find you your next job. But you shouldn’t put all your eggs in our basket; instead, use us as just one tool in your tool belt of job searching! If you find your own job, then that’s great. But please just let us know so that we can stop looking for jobs for you!

We’d love you to get in touch if you have any other questions about working with a recruitment agency that you’d like us to answer.

Good luck with your job search!