What Recruitment Agencies Do

Recruitment agencies are companies which have a list of jobs and they try to match the people on their books to the right job. Recruitment agencies were first seen in the United States 1893. This was the year that a man named Fred Winslow opened an engineering agency. Later on this became part of a wider network called General Employment Enterprises. The latter performed the same sort of services as today's recruitment agencies do. The main purpose of recruitment agencies is to find or hire people for permanent or contract, full time work. Temp agencies on the other hand recruit people for short-term or temporary contract. Temp agencies often work with firms who wish to outsource some of their work at specific times of the year, either their busiest period or periods when permanent staff are on holiday. However, there is some overlap with recruitment agencies in that sometimes a temporary post may result in a person getting a more permanent full-time job.

Temporary workers in the UK are often actually employed by the agency which then gets paid by the firm in need of temporary staff. Again this can sometimes result in full time employment whereby the person then becomes a paid employee of the firm rather than being paid by the agency. There are also student recruitment offices which are generally found on college campuses both in the US and in the UK. Nowadays there are also recruitment agencies which recruit people for specific professional roles, for example teaching. Sometimes the teacher is paid by the agency as a supply teacher and sometimes the supply teacher is then employed in a permanent capacity by the school. There are also recruitment agencies which specialize in jobs for engineers or for sales professionals.

Some agencies specialize in executive recruitment. They add executive's names and skill listings to their database and then match them with executive recruitment agencies and head hunting agencies. This makes it more difficult for employers to prevent their employees from being head hunted. There are also employment agency directories where employers can choose the agency they regard as most suitable for supplying their recruitment needs. Agencies also ask potential employees to send in their resumes or CVs so that they can be matched with the right jobs when employers actively seek people to undertake a specific job.

The face of agencies has changed over the years. Not only are there specialist agencies who only recruit for specific jobs or careers, there are now agencies aimed at finding employment for mothers only. Nowadays there are agencies who recruit staff to work in other European countries - for example some agencies recruit Polish staff to come and work in the UK.