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What are recruitment agencies?

Recruitment agencies, also known as employment agencies, can help you to find work, either permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time.

Employers will contact an agency when they are seeking candidates for a specific positions. The agency will help fill that role by looking for candidates who would be a good match and contacting them to see if they would be interested in putting their CV forward for consideration.

If the agency successfully helps to fill the post, they will get a payment from the employer.

It is illegal for a recruitment agency to charge for helping you to find work, although they may charge for other services they offer, such as CV writing.

Benefits of using an agency

There are many benefits to using an agency:

  • they specialise in certain fields where they will have excellent contacts
  • they can offer advice and help you with your job search and your CV
  • they do some of the legwork of job hunting by calling you when there is an opportunity
  • they can help you find a position quickly, especially if you're willing to do temporary roles (also referred to as ‘temping’)
  • some employers will only recruit through agencies, so you could find a position that isn’t advertised elsewhere.


You should also be aware of some of the downsides:

  • some agents are under pressure to reach targets and could put you forward for jobs that aren’t what you really want
  • you still need to spend time job hunting as not all jobs will be offered to agencies
  • some popular sectors are unlikely to use agencies, for example, the media sector, as they already have a lot of demand for jobs.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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