Types of Employment Agencies

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In today’s competitive job market, you may decide to enlist the services of an employment agency to help you find your next position. There are a variety of different types of employment agencies that help job seekers get hired.

Types of Employment Agencies

Review information on each type of agency and how they work.

Traditional Employment Agency
A traditional employment agency assists job seekers in finding work, as well as helping companies to hire staff.

Some firms charge the job seeker, so be sure to clarify, upfront, if there is a fee.

Others are paid by the employer. Many agencies specialize in a particular industry, such as sales and marketing, legal, sports or IT.  In most cases, I would not recommend using an agency that charges the job seeker.

Contingency Employment Agency
A contingency agency is paid when their candidate is hired by the employer. Some contingency agencies charge the candidate, and you should be careful to clarify who pays their fee before you sign up. These types of firms are most often used for low and mid-level searches and they often send a large number of resumes to the employer.

When applying for a position through a contingency agency, you will likely be competing with candidates who found the job opening from a variety of sources, including the company’s HR department, job boards, and possibly other recruiters.

Retained Search Firm
A retained search firm has an exclusive relationship with the employer. Search firms are typically hired for senior-level searches and for a specific period of time to find a candidate to fill a job. They are paid expenses, plus a percentage of the employee's salary, regardless of whether the candidate is hired.

Retained agencies will be thorough in reviewing the candidate’s qualifications before sending them to the hiring manager, as their agreement with the company is to present only the most appropriate applicants for the position.

Temporary (Temp) Agency
Temporary agencies are employment agencies that find employees to fill temporary jobs. For example, temps are often hired to work during seasonal increases in business or to cover vacations or illnesses.

Many temporary agencies have expanded their role in the employment sector to fill "temp to perm" positions where the position starts out as a temporary job, but could become permanent if the employer decides to hire the candidate.

Suggested Reading: How to Find a Recruiter | Tips for Choosing a Recruiter