How recruitment agencies work internally

Recruitment agencies are used by many companies to find them both short term contract workers and long term staff. They take on the work of advertising vacancies and filtering potential candidates to a small number of people with the right skills and fit for the company.

When you deal with a recruitment agency, whether as a client with a vacancy to fill, or a candidate looking for work, it can feel like everything is done by one person. All of your contact is with a single person who appears to handle matching candidate with vacancy, but in reality recruitment agencies tend to be broken in to small teams internally.

Standard practises within recruitment agencies

When a recruitment agency has more than a few staff of their own, they are generally split in to one of two roles. 'Consultants' talk to the clients of the agency to talk about the vacancies they need to fill, whereas 'Resourcers' concentrate on finding candidates for open positions.

By specialising, the agency can offer the best experience to people on both sides of their business. Clients have a main point of contact who understands both the skills they need and what sort of person fits within their organisation. Candidates talk to someone who is focussed on finding them the right position for the next step in their career.

A recruitment Consultant will be able to help a client formulate what they want from their staff. Not everyone knows exactly what they need from new staff and a good Consultant will help with narrowing down the skills required to fulfil a position, working out who will compliment the current staff in a department, and what sort of personality traits will fit well within the company. Over time, a Consultant will learn more and more about their client's company and the sort of staff that fit in well there.

For helping candidates, a Resourcer needs separate but complimentary skills to a Consultant. They need to be good and talking to people looking for work and assessing their personality and what other personalities they will fit in well with. For a short term contract, the fit with the company is not too important if the candidate has the right skills, but for full time staff, ensuring they are a good fit with the client's organisation is very important. A Resourcer will evaluate a candidate's skills, how reliable they are, and how their skills have developed over time. They will also need to understand the candidate's needs - would they be willing to commute a long distance or stay away from home on contracts? Would they relocate for the right full time position? Over time these details may change, a single person can become part of a couple, a couple have children and are no longer willing to work far from home. A good Resourcer will keep track of these details and factor them in when suggesting a candidate for jobs they suit.

Within an agency Consultants are often experienced Resourcers who have been promoted in to Consultant roles. This is not always the case, some Resourcers will stay in the role for their whole career and be very successful.

When you talk to a recruitment agency, you're really talking to a small team - a Consultant and a Resourcer acting together to find the right candidates for a client's vacancy. You become part of a larger team - the client, the Consultant, Resourcer, and candidate all working together to fill the position.

ApplicantExtra is excellent employment software which runs behind recruitment agencies and HR departments to help post vacancies, track applications, and narrow down searches to just the right candidate.