What Is A Recruitment Agency And Should I Used One?

If you're considering applying for a job in the UK, chances are you'll engage with a recruitment agency. If you're new to the world of recruitment agencies, the prospect of working with one might seem a bit daunting. However, gaining a better understanding of how these agencies operate and what to expect from their services can greatly benefit you in your job search journey, helping you secure the role you desire.

What's a recruitment agency?

A recruitment agency is essentially a middleman in the job market. They play a pivotal role in connecting job seekers with employers who have job openings.

Their main source of revenue comes from successfully bringing together the right candidates and job opportunities. To make this happen, they have specialised professionals known as recruitment consultants. Just like our consultants, they are industry experts with an in-depth understanding of the tech landscape. These experts are responsible for actively searching for potential candidates, engaging with them through interviews and assessments, and ensuring they are well-suited for specific job roles.

Once they identify suitable candidates, they collaborate with employers to recommend the most qualified individuals for the job, making the hiring process more efficient and effective.

How do they work?

When a company needs to hire, they tell the recruitment agency about the job. The agency's experts search for potential candidates among their pool of job seekers. If they don't find the right fit there, they expand their search. After identifying potential matches, they conduct interviews to choose the best-suited candidates. Then, they share the top candidates' details with the company.

Benefits of registering with an agency:

Recruitment agencies vary in quality, but a good agency can offer you valuable benefits, such as:

  • Industry knowledge and free advice: They provide insights into current market conditions, salary levels, and role suitability based on your skill set. They can also assist in refining your CV for the UK job market.
  • Access to unadvertised jobs: Agencies often have privileged access to job openings that are not publicly advertised. Many roles are filled directly from their candidate database.
  • Timesaving: They help you avoid wasting time on roles that don't align with your career goals by matching you with suitable positions.
  • Negotiation assistance: In salary negotiations, recruitment consultants can advocate for you, increasing your chances of securing a better offer without straining your relationship with the employer.

Constructive Feedback: Recruitment consultants can provide valuable feedback on your interview performance, helping you identify areas for improvement.

Do I have to pay the agency?

No, you should not pay for a recruitment agency. Their fees are typically covered by the employer who eventually hires them. If an agency requests payment from you, it's a red flag, and you should seek another agency.

Why do companies use them?

Companies, especially smaller ones, often use agencies because they lack the resources (time and money) to sift through numerous CVs received for job openings. The fees charged by agencies are typically lower than the costs of advertising and managing the hiring process independently. Larger firms with ongoing hiring needs may have their own HR departments, while others turn to recruiters when a position becomes available.

How do Recruiters find candidates?

Recruitment agencies employ various methods to source and engage candidates. Some of the critical methods include:

  • Candidate databases: Agencies collect and store CVs in a database, allowing them to quickly match candidates with job vacancies.
  • Job boards: Agencies search job boards for potential candidates, using relevant keywords to identify suitable candidates.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a crucial platform for networking and candidate sourcing, as agencies search for candidates using keywords and employer history.
  • Job fairs and networking: Agencies attend job fairs and networking events to connect with potential candidates directly.

What makes a good agency?

To identify a good agency, consider the following factors:

  • Specialisation: Look for agencies that specialise in your industry, as they have a deeper understanding of your field.
  • Google reviews: To gain insights into a recruitment agency start by checking their Google reviews. These candid testimonials from candidates who've experienced the agency firsthand can provide the real level of service and support you can expect.
  • Face-to-face meetings: Agencies willing to meet with you in person tend to be more committed to understanding your job preferences and goals.

How can I find recruiters relevant to my sector?

To find agencies specialising in your sector, you can:

  • Find online communities where individuals may have experience with agencies in your field.
  • Contact Innova's consultants, who have collaborated with hundreds of SME businesses. Our consultants can open doors to a wide range of job opportunities in sectors such as Product, Data, and Engineering increasing your chances of finding the perfect role.
  • Search job boards for your industry to identify agencies that frequently post relevant roles.

Tips to enhance your relationship with a recruitment agency:

  • In-person connection: Meeting your consultant face-to-face goes beyond a formality; it builds a strong connection.
  • Build a partnership: Establish a meaningful relationship with your consultant for valuable insights.
  • Be transparent: Share your work history and relevant details transparently to streamline the process.
  • Stay in touch: Open communication matters. Timely responses and post-interview feedback are invaluable.
  • Embrace flexibility: Don't overlook roles that aren't an exact match; they might lead to your ideal job.


To recap, partnering with a recruitment agency is a valuable step in your job search. Understanding their operations and services helps you maximise this collaboration and improve your chances of securing your ideal job role.

If you wish to contact one of our consultants, we have a team of experts specialising in various sectors. Don't hesitate to reach out to the consultant whose expertise aligns with your career objectives and industry of interest.