Overview of the Recruitment Industry
The recruitment industry is made up of tens of thousands of employment agencies, providing an independent advice and a vital link between employers and jobseekers. The owners of many small businesses prefer to use the professional services of a recruitment agent to attract and shortlist suitable applicants (rather than rely on in-house recruitment directly). The recruitment industry includes both public sector and private sectors and operates across all sectors of the economy. The employment specialist takes away the employers' cost and hassle of attracting, vetting and short listing suitable candidates for a position. These costs may include advertising, background checks, first pass interviewing of candidates, human resources personnel staff and administration. Recruitment agents deal in both the permanent job market and temporary labour markets.
Most small business employers find it relatively straightforward to retain the business services of a local recruitment agent. This is because there is intense competition and the barriers to entry are reasonably low. Finding an employment agent with the experience to interview suitable candidates is vital. Many agents specialise in vertical industry sectors (such as financial services, computing or secretarial). Industry experience can be helpful in tapping into potential contacts already working for a competitor. These situations tend to be associated with executive search consultants and head-hunters who generally target highly placed permanent positions. They may work closely with a manager to understand the job specification in detail.
The vast majority of revenues in the recruitment industry stem from providing employment contracts for large numbers of temporary staff. This may or may not include charging the employer directly for the services of one or more temporary staff. Many employers require gaps in the workforce to be filled during seasonal peaks (such as Christmas), as well as coping with staff absences. Many jobseekers seeking part-time jobs tend to visit their local high street, where branded recruitment branch offices are located. These offices tend to be part of a national recruitment network and will focus on advertising vacancies amongst local employers (such as retailers or factories). These will have centralised IT infrastructure and may have thousands of job seekers on their books. Employment consultants based in a branch are a great source of information and can answer questions regarding vacancies.
Other more specialist recruitment agents will have slick websites in order to accept online CV and resume submissions. As a jobseeker, always check the authenticity of the website before disclosing personal information. This could include a simple companies house check on the contact details displayed. There are many online business directories of employment agencies and recruitment consultants. These can be a great start point, by reading ratings and reviews of the behaviour and execution of recruitment companies. As so much information is shared online, the particularly wary of historical information posted across social networks (which may deter potential employers). Many now use the Internet to find out what type of person a candidate is. These will supplement the usual reference checking and background checks conducted by most employers.
The recruitment industry is all about people skills. The collective aim is to match the right person to the right job within the right type of employer. So as a jobseeker, ask the recruitment agent what type of person the employer is looking for. Many large organisations have distinct cultures and seek out candidates with specific personality traits. For example, many sales organisations have strict sales targets and goals which are used as incentives and deterrence. A face-to-face meeting with a recruitment agent can often be the first interview before a short listing could be considered. Consequently, good recruiters often have experience in a particular industry and can thus empathise and pick up on comments on claims made by potential candidates. More rigorous procedures include personality testing, speaking with previous employers and reference checking.
There are also many employment agencies that specialise in recruiting graduates fresh out of university or college. This type of recruitment specialists tends to work closely with the human resources departments of international firms. Many large organisations have specific graduate programs and internship programs. They work exclusively with established employment agencies to fulfil a steady flow of new recruits into their huge employment base. However, during periods of financial stagnation and rising unemployment, the recruitment industry has directly suffered from fewer vacancies (as employers have opted to advertise directly on their websites or across other online advertising platforms).