What does a Recruitment Agency actually do?

What does a Recruitment Agency actually do? A simple question that does not have a simple answer. Essentially, a recruitment agency works with employers (clients) and jobseekers (candidates), gaining an understanding of the needs of both to make a suitable introduction. Sounds easy right? Wrong. Recruitment is an extremely competitive market and with historic high levels of employment (meaning a lack of candidates), it is only getting more competitive.

Those with a dim view of the industry (and there are a few!) would say agencies forward CVs all day and charge a fee for the privilege. And whilst there is a fee involved, a good recruitment agency will provide their clients with an in-depth and holistic approach to their recruitment needs. Oh and any fee is due only when a candidate commences employment (unless working on a retained basis) and there is a guarantee period thereafter.

How does a good recruitment agency ‘do more’?

Job descriptions/adverts

Internal job descriptions can often read like an instruction manual, stating the job duties and little else. A good recruitment agency will put the job role into a wider context, get to understand the essential criteria and clarify the jargon. Believe it or not there are scientific guidelines to write a job adverts that incorporates psychology and behavioural science.

There are also Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) principles in play to keep job adverts at the top of listings, especially with Google for Jobs now in the UK.

Good recruitment agencies will also be aware of the legal requirements when advertising and recruiting, being able to remedy any issues that may appear on an employer’s job description.

Sourcing candidates

Like some employers, agencies will advertise job roles on various job boards but crucially will spend hours searching for candidates on their internal database, CV search facilities and LinkedIn. We can’t rely on simply putting an advert out and wait to see what comes back.

Recruitment professionals are in the field all day, every day! Building connections and relationships. Therefore, they are able to draw on a deep network of individuals who may not necessarily be “active” candidates but could be interested in hearing about a particularly exciting role. An old adage goes “the best candidates are the ones that are not even looking”.

Due to the competitive nature of the industry and wider jobs market, good recruitment agencies will act with speed to acknowledge receipt of application, assess and keep candidates informed at each point of the process.

Agencies will also offer an attractive referral scheme to widen the net. Professional referrals are an excellent method to get to the best talent.

Employer Branding

An issue becoming more and more prevalent and a key tool to attract candidates is Employer Branding. A good recruitment agency will get to understand your business and in doing so will be able to position your vacancy in the best possible light. This will be an increasingly crucial issue as a new generation with evolving priorities enters the workplace.


Offer Management

After interviews have been arranged and you have identified your preferred candidate, using the agency to manage the offer can be crucial. Even before this stage, a good recruitment agency will have managed the expectations of both parties and making sure they are aligned. When an offer is made, a good recruitment agency will know what candidate expectations are and be able to mitigate for any mismatches. Not only that but candidates will be more open to share information to the agency about other opportunities ensuring that your offer is the most appealing.


Again, something that is becoming ever more crucial is providing feedback to unsuccessful candidates. Not only does this protect your employer branding it also keeps doors open for candidates who may be suitable for a role in the future. Having a poor candidate journey will diminish the possibility of returning candidates. And in a candidate driven market reducing the talent pool due to a basic oversight could prove costly. A good recruitment agency will not only smoothly handle the offer to the successful candidate but also provide feedback to those not selected this time.



Bowen Eldridge Recruitment is based in Cardiff and specialises in Accountancy Practice, Finance and Marketing recruitment.