The pros and cons of using an employment agency

An employment agency is a company that aims to recruit staff on behalf on behalf of another company. Some of the UK's most prominent employment agencies include Reed, Manpower and Grafton. When you're looking for a job online, you'll often come across vacancies advertised by an agency. But should you apply or should you look for a job directly from an employer? We offer some of the pros and cons of using an employment agency to help you decide.

The advantages of using an employment agency

  • Many employment agencies have been trading for decades and have built up excellent contacts in various industries. Their recruitment specialists are likely to be some of the first people that hear about a job opening. If you sign up with an employment agency, you may even get an interview for a job before it has even been advertised.
  • Few employment agencies charge you directly for their services - instead, they'll take a small percentage of your salary for a specific period of time. This means that they don't get paid unless they find you work - a great incentive for them to help find you a suitable job - and fast.
  • The employment agency may very well have sent candidates to an interview with this company before, so will be able to give you tips and advice on what the employer is looking for and what kind of questions they ask.

The disadvantages of using an employment agency

  • As mentioned, employment agencies will normally take a cut of your salary for a specified period of time. This means that you will be taking home 5-10% less than you might have if you found the job independently.
  • If an employer is faced between a choice of two candidates, who are identical in every other way except one applied through an employment agency and one applied independently, they are likely to choose the one who applied independently to cut down on recruitment fees.

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