The Role of Agencies in the Recruitment Process



The Role of Agencies in the Recruitment Process.

According to the CIPD report Resourcing and Talent Planning (2015) the recruitment outlook is positive in terms of increasing resourcing budgets and a growing demand for labour. Despite this there remain a number of difficulties faced by firms in recruiting the right staff with the right skills.
“UK employers are now operating in the most buoyant employment market experienced for some time” which is adding to the challenges they face in the labour market (2015:7). The same report goes on to state that many organisations are turning to external agencies to assist, particularly for attracting top talent.

Scenario: You have been newly appointed to a HR Adviser role in a large private company. The company is finding it difficult to recruit staff and your manager wants you to explore the option of using a recruitment agency to help improve the quantity and quality of the applicants that apply for positions.

Task: The HR manager is keen to explore the options available and wants you to provide a proposal that presents an evaluation of the use of recruitment agencies so that she is able to make the decision whether to use these or not in improving the recruitment process.

Format: A management report that discusses the findings from your investigation on the advantages and disadvantages of the use of agencies. Based on these findings, you need to consider whether to use an agency but you should also provide recommendations on how the company could manage the relationship with the agency effectively for a successful result (if the decision was made by management to go ahead with the proposal).

Suggested structure:
Aim: to investigate the use of recruitment agencies
Scope: investigate range of literature (both academic and practitioner) to explore the use of agencies and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages – you must be careful to assess the quality of the evidence that you are using to make judgements.
Conclusions / recommendations
Reference List.

This coursework assesses student’s fulfilment of the following module learning objectives:
• To demonstrate ability to research a topic or problem, observe, describe and record information.
• To demonstrate intellectual ability to think critically, analyse problems, understand, and apply concepts, synthesise different types of information, evaluate and make rationally argued judgements.
• To structure and present written work to meet specified criteria.

Reading from recommended text (Taylor, 2008): Chapter 10: Alternative Recruitment Methods, as a starting point.


Research Paper


The Role of Recruitment Agencies in the Recruitment Process

Recruitment agencies are firms that assist employers to find suitable candidates for available vacancies. These agencies have turned into valuable resources in the employment sector both to the job seeker and the employer; they match employees to their potential employers. They normally inquire on available vacancies or employers themselves giving them a list of available vacancies then they advertise on internet platforms and other accessible places and are paid by the companies either on the number of jobs that have been applied or a constant rate for a given period (Herbert, 2012). This paper will explore the advantages and the disadvantages associated with recruitment agencies to give an informed decision on whether an organization should use recruitment agencies in improving it recruitment process.

How Recruitment Agencies Work

After a company identifies the need for recruiting new staff and internal recruitment processes are not preferable, the recruitment agencies are involved. The terms are discussed and agreed involving fees to be paid to the agency, job descriptions and the skills required. The agency then embarks on seeking the required personnel, before considering new applicants they first look at those who have already posted their resumes on their database. They also advertise on their websites and other platforms to ensure they have enough candidates to the jobs. They then filter the applications to have the most relevant and well skilled for the job requirements. The remaining will be briefed on the details of the job and asked if the agency should send their details to the employer. The agency can then call for an interview with the candidate and can involve the employer in the process. If the employer and employee accept their terms, then the agency is paid as agreed, if not, the process starts again. A rebate period is normally given to the agency such that if the employee leaves within three months of employment, the agency will have to repay the amount at a given percentage (Forde, Slater, and Green, 2008, p 5).

Advantages of Recruitment Agencies

Cost Reduction

Recruitment agencies heavily help organizations in dealing with costs related to the recruitment process. Major costs to an organization are the advertising expenses. The job vacancies need to be advertised to ensure that it reaches diverse candidates. The expenses may be high to organizations especially when just one or two positions are vacant. Administrative expenses also pose a challenge to companies, costs related to communication with candidates, perusing CVs and organizing interviews can be too high (Dinnen, 2014). Recruitment Agencies will absorb all these costs and what they will be paid a commission, which is way less than what the company could have spent. More so, they always have the best bargain when it comes to salaries and giving advice and guidance to the company regarding candidates.

Time Saving

Hiring process takes up most of the company’s time which could be used in doing other profitable activities. Receiving applications, filtering and going through their huge number of CVs and background information, contacting their referees and holding interviews are time-consuming activities; recruiting agency will take these responsibilities allowing company personnel to concentrate on their duties. The final few selected by the agency can then meet the company personnel that will be much easier and time-saving.


Recruitment agencies have advanced expertise as compared to internal employment committee. They have diverse knowledge on how best to handle candidates as they have employed qualified personnel and employment specialists. The process could be long for internal recruiters, but agencies normally handle applications and filter them within a very short time but ensure qualified personnel are selected (Herbert, 2012). They have conducted continuous interviews and assessments and hence have experience in employee and job market trends and better recruitment practices.


Recruitment Agencies have received and stored several applications in their database. Therefore, they have a wide network of employees that will be advantageous to companies. A company looking for short-term employees can seek aid from recruitment agencies instead of going through the process of advertising, filtering and interviewing. The recruitment agencies have data on qualified and reliable employees for such instances (Eichhorst, Werner, and Michael, 2013, p 18). The network maintained help in sudden and unanticipated jobs and consequently reduced unbudgeted expenses.

Peace of Mind

Recruitment agencies usually have and maintain a good record of selecting the right employees for any company that seeks their help. After doing their selection and giving the required advice on the chosen employees, employers usually have confidence in their final decision on employees. Recruitment agencies ensure employers do not regret employing the wrong workforce, becoming a burden and costing the company. Therefore, agencies give employers more assurance on the hiring decisions they finally make (James, 2015).

Screening Process

There are several activities being done during a screening process. An employer needs to verify the background information given by a candidate as well as their referee. They will then organize an interview to compare what the candidates have on paper and what they can portray. These, as far as they take most of the employer’s time as pointed out above, are also hectic and boring.  Recruiting agencies will conduct all the necessary steps and requirements until an employer has the qualified candidates they will choose from in a final interview they will organize.

Access to the Best

Recruiting agencies have received several resumes and have conducted a huge number of interviews. Therefore, the agencies know most of the best talents in the market as well as those who are already employed.  Agencies can call some of the already employed individuals but who feel that what they are currently doing does not match their potentials. More so, employed individuals can work with agencies so that in case of an opportunity, they will be contacted as they may not be satisfied with their current jobs (Herbert, 2012). Therefore, recruitment agencies can have the best candidate for an employer’s vacant position whenever they need them.



After working with a given recruitment agency and their services satisfies the company standards, the future employments will be easier and cheaper. The agency will already have the information about the company concerning the qualities demanded of the candidates and will pick candidates easily who will be a perfect match to the company (Dinnen, 2014). This will be more satisfactory and may reduce their commission so as to maintain the relationship.

Disadvantages of using Recruitment Agencies


A common demerit related to using recruitment agencies is that most candidates do not find the information about the vacancy. Employers normally use one or two agencies to find the right candidate for a job, but even more qualified personnel could have been obtained if the company had used other methods more accessible to the public, like social media (LaVoie, 2013). Most job seekers do not visit recruitment agency websites frequently meaning that the company may miss perfectly qualified personnel to fill a vacancy.


Although most recruitment agencies have lowered their costs to suit companies, there are some agencies charging high fees not affordable by many companies. They may argue that they are the best in selecting candidates but at this day and age, with the available technology, such costs should be avoided (Mekie, 2011).

Contract Basis

Recruitment agencies normally bargain for long-term contracts with the company to recruit their employees. Companies on their hand do not always need the help of recruiting agency for every available job. Companies are turning to outsourcing instead of hiring, but with the long-term contract the company will have to comply with the agency’s demands as the contracts are binding (Eichhorst, Werner, and Michael, 2013, p 45).

Same Candidates in Their System

Having candidate profiles in the system is advantageous in time and effort saving, but the system has been misused by these agencies that modify candidates’ information and CVs to suit the needs of employers instead of advertising and filtering (Lindsay, 2013). Employers normally take the candidate’s qualification and experience as a guarantee to their competence. Therefore, candidates will be employed in jobs for which they not qualified. They end up performing poorly, and because recruitment agencies are never held responsible after recruitment, the company is left wasting their time and resources looking for replacements.


Recruitment agencies have assisted companies in recruiting qualified staff to a vacant position at low costs the company could have spent hiring on their own. There are many advantages as well as disadvantages that should be scrutinized before making a decision. Based on the findings of this report, the Human Resource Manager should use recruitment agency but on a one–off contract basis. When new jobs arise, agencies are called in to recruit the relevant staff. The company should avoid long time binding contracts as there are some jobs the aid of recruitment agencies won’t be required. Stronger terms should also be set stipulating standards required of the recruited staff and payments should not be made immediately to the agency so as to hold them liable for some period.


















Curtis, M., Recruiting Agency Benefits, Demand Media. <>

Dinnen, M., 2014 6 Advantages of Hiring Through a Recruiting Agency, Broadbean.


Eichhorst, Werner, and Michael J. Kendzia, 2013, Report No. 57: The Role and Activities of Employment Agencies. No. 57. Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pp 15-36

Forde,c., Slater, G., and Green, F,. 2008, Agency working in the UK: What do we know? Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change, University of Leeds.

Herbert, Stuart, 2012, Getting Hired, Role of Recruitment Agencies, GitHub Pages

James, 2015, The Benefits of Using a Recruitment Agency, HR Recruitment Services.


LaVoie, L., 2013, 4 Disadvantages of Third-Party Recruiters,

HRMS World. <>

Lindsay, 2013, Recruitment Agencies: Advantages & Disadvantages, Career Ambitions. <>

Marsden, H., 2014, 5 Disadvantages of Traditional Recruitment Agencies,

Recruitment Info and Support. <>

Mekie, B., 2011, Disadvantages of using recruitment companies, RSS. <>

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