How to Find the Best Professional Recruiting Agency

10 MIN
Date Published
March 9, 2021

Professional recruitment agencies can make a huge difference for both job seekers and companies recruiting capable workers. Through the advice and connections offered by a headhunter agency and job placement agencies, job seekers are given powerful tools to find work and companies are spared the burden of time while being connected with the best possible hires. But you may be asking, “how do I find a recruitment agency?” and “what exactly are placement agencies?” Read on to learn more about how to find the best professional recruiting agency.

What is a professional recruiting agency?

Professional recruiting agencies act as a bridge between businesses that are recruiting and job seekers looking for employment. Staffed by experts, placement agencies act as intermediaries and lift the burden of this time-consuming task from a company’s shoulders while also providing job seekers with the opportunity to apply to fitting positions in their field that may not be publicly advertised. Job placement agencies are experts that arm job seekers with the necessary tools to find the positions that best suit their qualifications.

Hiring manager vs. recruiter

To further streamline the recruiting process, experts from a headhunter agency or job placement agencies usually work alongside a company's hiring manager. The recruiter deals more often and more directly with job seekers, working from outside the company that is recruiting using the information provided by the hiring manager in order to find the right candidate. Recruiters from placement agencies conduct interviews with job seekers before passing the information along to the hiring manager, who decides whether or not they will hire the suggested candidate. Hiring managers will then supervise the job seeker once they have been hired.

The types of professional recruiting agencies

If you are wondering how to find a recruitment agency, it is important to first be familiar with the different types of job placement agencies.

Employment agency: Employment agencies are traditional job placement agencies that help job seekers looking for work to find the right companies in which to apply. Along with recruiting, this type of recruiting agency will also offer training and assistance with updating resumes and improving interviewing skills. Most reputable employment agencies will not ask the job seeker to pay.

Search firm: Search firms are either skill specific or industry specific placement agencies that come in two main forms: contingency agencies and retained search firms. Contingency agencies are placement agencies that are not paid until a hire is made. They tend to send a lot of resumes back to the employer and are typically used for low- and mid-level recruiting. Retained search firms are job placement agencies that have a relationship with the employer that is exclusive. These job placement agencies are used for senior-level recruiting usually and for specified periods of time. Payment is made for expenses and based on a percentage of the job seeker’s salary, even if the candidate is not hired permanently.

Recruiters/headhunters: Also known as search consultants, recruiters/headhunters contact job seekers directly. Headhunter staffing involves the headhunter agency working with job seekers throughout the entire hiring process. Headhunters tend to search for and contact possible candidates directly themselves, rather than the job seeker needing to initiate contact. However, headhunter/recruiters do also accept applications for the headhunter jobs in which they are recruiting.

Temporary agency: This type of job placement agency focuses on recruiting candidates for temporary job positions. The positions they are recruiting for may be seasonal or to cover vacancies left by employees on temporary leave. Temporary agencies may also seek to fill positions that have the potential to become permanent. Temporary placement agencies also do recruiting for temp-to-perm positions.

When should you use a recruiter or a search firm?

Job placement agencies can help you find work at pivotal moments. When the search becomes difficult and you stop receiving calls for interviews, it may be time to turn to a professional recruiting agency to help widen the net of your search. Often, high-level positions are not openly advertised, so headhunter jobs and the connections held by placement agencies are extremely valuable. Headhunters staffing for companies have unique opportunities due to their extensive and expertly carried out research into available jobs within your field. A headhunter agency or job placement agency will thus save you a great deal of time, and enable you to work with a broader range of potential employers.

In addition to acting as a bridge between yourself and companies you may not even know are recruiting, job placement agencies will also help you market your skills and resume more effectively, polishing your professional image and making you a more attractive candidate to companies that are recruiting. The experts within a headhunter agency and professional recruiting agencies are skilled at both recruiting and marketing skills, and will directly represent your qualifications to companies in a way that is compelling and professional.

The benefits of hiring a recruiting agency

Turning to a headhunter agency or job placement agencies for assistance with recruiting is very beneficial for the following reasons:

1. Variety of jobs: Job placement agencies help with recruiting for a wide variety of jobs. Temporary, temp-to-hire, and permanent jobs can all be found through job placement agencies. Additionally, headhunter jobs are unique opportunities that may not even be advertised. These professional recruiting agencies also have strong connections with nearly every industry, and you can find different job types within nearly every recruiting agency. 

2. Feedback: The experts in job placement agencies communicate with job seekers throughout the entire recruiting process. This means job seekers can receive helpful advice on how to revise and adjust resumes to be as persuasive and attractive as possible, and help strengthen interview skills through helpful advice and feedback. The agents working at a headhunter agency or in job placement agencies will provide this feedback throughout the entire recruiting process.

3. Experience: The staff that work at job placement agencies should know everything about the job market you want to work in. They are skilled with research and communicating with businesses, and can provide you with lots of detailed information. The recruiters working at job placement agencies can tell you which employers are hiring, what qualifications and experience levels they are looking for, and can quickly determine which places you should and should not apply to, saving a great deal of time.

4. Motivated to help: Recruiters that work for recruiting agencies are determined to help you find work because they get paid when you do. This means you and the recruiter have the same goal, and that they will do their best to ensure you get called in for an interview, at the very least. Since the recruiters working at a headhunter agency or at job placement agencies are so concerned with your success, they will offer helpful advice to improve your resume and will provide coaching. 

5. Exclusivity and unique opportunities: Job placement agencies are deeply entrenched in the world of recruiting and know of high-level opportunities most people do not even know are available. A lot of companies choose to rely on headhunters for staffing and hire placement agencies to find workers for them instead of advertising, since the process is so streamlined and saves the company so much time. This means job placement agencies may have exclusive relationships with employers and lots of unique listings and headhunter jobs that you will not encounter without turning to a recruiting agency for help.

Questions to ask before hiring a professional hiring agency

Since finding work is so important, and recruiting is such a detailed process, you should find out the following information from any headhunter agency or job placement agencies you are considering:

1. How do recruiters place candidates? In order to be on the list for headhunters staffing or for recruiters to place you within a job, they need to know what positions would suit you best. To place candidates, the recruiters who work at job placement agencies should be recruiting you by conducting interviews. Recruiting usually begins with a telephone interview so the recruiter can discuss goals, skills, qualifications, and your experience with you. Make sure the placement agency is really looking out for your best interests by assessing the time and effort they put into getting to know you. If they respond in a generic way and do not arrange calls or in-person meetings, you should look elsewhere.

2. Is the recruiter familiar with your industry? While you can find placement agencies that do recruiting for nearly every industry, it is important to make sure you find the right agency that is recruiting for your field. Some job placement agencies may be recruiting for multiple fields, while others may specialize in specific industries. Some research is necessary to determine which job placement agencies serve the industry in which you hope to find employment. This is especially important if your industry is a niche market. The headhunter agency or recruiter you end up working with needs to be very knowledgeable about the job market associated with your industry. If they don't, they won't be able to help you find a fitting job, may not have connections to the right job opportunities, and will not know how to properly advise you when it comes to interviewing and your resume. Expertise is invaluable, and not just when it comes to recruiting as a whole, but when it comes to recruiting within your field specifically.

3. Is the agency open to students and graduates? Depending on where you are in your career journey, you may need to seek job placement agencies that are open to helping graduates and students and headhunters that are staffing younger individuals. Some placement agencies may cater only to students and graduates, and some job placement agencies may be open to young people specifically. Unfortunately, some placement agencies will not help students and graduates with recruiting at all, so you should contact the agency you are interested in first to find out if they will help you with your job search.

How to hire a professional hiring agency

Now that you know how to find a recruitment agency, you should follow these steps when trying to select which one to work with:

1. Do your research. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what job placement agencies are, how they work, and which ones are recruiting for the kinds of jobs you are interested in, including for both permanent and temporary positions. You should also have all of your documents up to date and have clear career goals in mind before reaching out. To ensure you hire a professional recruiting agency that aligns with your career goals, you should also make sure you have a clear understanding of the qualifications and skills typically needed for your industry. Once you have completed researching your industry, it is time to track down recommendations for a headhunter agency or other job placement agencies.

2. Check out agencies that are familiar with your industry. Once you have narrowed down placement agencies that sound like a good fit, you should find out which industries these headhunters are staffing and job placement agencies specialize in. It is also good to research how far their connections reach within your industry on a geographical level. While some agencies may be recruiting locally, others may be recruiting on a national scale for your industry. It is also important to know if the jobs they are recruiting for are typically at low- or high-level positions, full time, part time, permanent, or temporary.

3. Get your name and goals front and center. After determining which placement agencies or headhunter agency is recruiting for your industry and at the location and level you find most desirable, you should prepare to contact them. Seek out the professional profiles of recruiters at the agency you want to work with, such as on LinkedIn. Try reaching them through social media, by email, or through phone calls. Reaching out brings your name forward and shows initiative. Making it clear that you are determined to find work and that you communicate effectively will make you look attractive to recruiters and will increase the chances of an agency assisting you with work and headhunters staffing. Additionally, make sure all your information is up to date, your resume is attractive, your social media represents how you want your potential employers to see you, and that your accomplishments, experiences, and skills are all clearly and boldly emphasized.

4. Follow up regularly. Once you hire a recruiting agency or a headhunter agency, make sure you reach out and check in with them regularly. Showing initiative ensures that you do not get lost in a sea of other job seekers and can open up further opportunities for employment. For example, if the headhunter agency or recruiter is struggling to fill positions outside your area of skill, you can network with them and suggest other people they may wish to consider recruiting. This will improve your relationship with your recruiter or headhunter, and will increase your chances of being made a priority when a fitting position emerges.

Wondering where to begin your search for the best professional recruiting agency? Check out Rocketplace’s curated marketplace and find your perfect fit.

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