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Old 18.07.2014, 20:10
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What is the role of a HR agency?

Some time ago I applied for a job via the website of a job agency. My application was refused.

Then last week I got contacted by an HR manager in that agency. He said that he contacted me because in my last application I checked something like "keep my profile in the database for future possibilities" and his colleague forwarded my documents to him. He said that there might be a job opening in his hand matching my profile. He wanted to arrange a telephone interview with me.

In the interview we talked very generally about my experience, capability, personality... Then soon after he wrote me an email mentioning three temporary job openings and asked whether I am interested to any and want him to send my application to the clients companies.

It's the first time I have interaction with an HR in job agency so forgive me if my question seems a bit naive. I do not quite understand their role. Do they serve as a first-round screener for the client companies?

If I agree to send my application to his client company, then what will happen later? I guess that my documents will be forwarded to the company and his job is done? Will this at least save a telephone interview for me? (as I already did one with him)
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Old 18.07.2014, 20:43
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Re: What is the role of a HR agency?

I'd also ask if you get to pay this guy for the privilege of having him help you.
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Old 18.07.2014, 20:56
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Re: What is the role of a HR agency?

Yes. This is also one of my concerns. He didn't mention that. And I do not know at all how it works with an HR from the agency.
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Old 18.07.2014, 20:57
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Re: What is the role of a HR agency?

Recruitment agencies will liaise between you and the employer right up to a job offer is made and you start working. They often don't get paid by the employer until 1-3 months after you start working.

Generally when going through an agency you have very little contact with the employer except for the actual interviews.

Copied from lse.ac.uk

What is a recruitment agency?

A recruitment agency acts as an intermediary between an organisation that is looking to employ someone and an individual who is looking for a job. A recruitment agentís main function is to source the most suitable person for a job vacancy that they have been asked to fill.

How does a recruitment agency work?

Recruitment agencies differ in their approach but the general pattern is as follows:
The agency is sent a job description from the organisation that has an open position. A shortlist of applicants is drawn up by the agency who select individuals from the pool of CVs that they hold on their database. The organisation selects their preferred individuals from the CV selection and asks the agency to arrange and coordinate an interview.

Whatís the advantage of using a recruitment agency?

Using a recruitment agency can be a useful tool in searching for a job. Agencies often have in-depth knowledge of their employer so can offer inside information before an interview. Reputable agencies will prepare you for a meeting with the organisation, offering tips on what to ask and sharing information on the history and culture of the organisation. They can sell your candidature in the early stages and even negotiate on your behalf if you succeed to the later stages of an interview. Some agencies have exclusive access to jobs that would not otherwise be found through an online search.

Do I have to pay to sign up to a recruitment agency?

Very rarely. Most agencies should not charge you to hold your CV on their database. Usually, the agency will charge a fee to the employer should you secure a position in their company (a percentage of your basic salary). Some tailored exclusive boutiques may opt to charge you but this service will be based on a very different model and is more along the lines of a personal recruiter than a generic agency. If you are unsure, speak to one of our careers consultants.
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Old 22.07.2014, 13:56
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Re: What is the role of a HR agency?

Bottom line is the client of a recruitment agency is the would-be employer, not the candidate. As a result, you're just a resource or product - on of many - that they will try to sell to a client in the hope that they bite, as they only get paid on a 'sale'.

As a result, recruiters are principally salespeople, so it's not uncommon to see shabby practices, misuse of personal data and the like. This appears to be an industry-wide problem.

In a few rare cases, they will put in a modicum of effort in pushing candidates, typically if they think the profile is good (or the role is high enough that the commission will merit the extra effort). The rest of the time it appears to be a numbers game, with many flinging as many CV's that they think they can get away with in the hope one will stick.

It's also not uncommon to find that they have limited knowledge in the area they're recruiting for, so seeing ads that seek five years experience is something that's only been around for two is commonplace.

My advice is always approach a company directly if you can. If you see a job advert, copy some of the text and Google it. As many specs are lazy cut 'n paste jobs, you'll often find the original company Web site advertising the same job and be able to apply directly.

If you do have to use a recruiter, it's very much a case of learning from experience. To begin with, you do have to have a thick skin to a large degree. Sending an application, only to have no reply at all, is par for the course, so don't take it too much to heart.

The agency's reputation is no guarantee of quality as professionalism seems to vary hugely even within firms. Give them a try, see how they treat your application and if they treat you shabbily, keep a record and blacklist them - most jobs are not tied to any agency, so next time round better to go via an agency that has not wasted your time in the past.

Conversely, if you have a good experience with an agency (such as; how they work with you on 'tweaking' your application, keep you informed throughout the process or coach you prior to an interview) then flag them for future collaboration and connect via LinkedIn / Xing to the recruiter as you'll want to be able to context them again next time around as they may have changed agency in the meantime.
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