How does a recruitment agency work?

You may have noticed when browsing job boards, that some positions are advertised by a recruitment agency on behalf of the organisation looking to hire. If you haven’t gone through a recruitment agency before, you may be wondering what next and what does it mean for you?

Let our latest top tips guide you through:

I’m interested in the advertised role – who do I contact?

If a job is being recruited by an agency, then the contact details on the ad will be for the recruitment consultant rather than the hiring manager or employer themselves. This will be the person managing the recruitment process so it’s best to direct your application and any queries to them rather than skipping directly to the employer.

Does it cost to go through a recruiter?

Recruiters earn their keep by finding suitable candidates on behalf of the organisation looking to hire. They are paid by the employer, therefore as a candidate you should not be expected to pay anything for their services unless you’re paying for private coaching or mentoring.

So what does the recruiter do?

Depending on what the employer wants, recruiters will either run the full process from end to end, or they may only be involved in one particular stage, working in conjunction with the employer.

A typical recruitment process run by an agency looks like this:

  • Receive a brief from the Hiring Manager about the vacancy and what they are looking for in a candidate
  • Create online and print advertising
  • Receive and process applications
  • Create a longlist of potential candidates and undertake initial phone screening
  • Interview long-listed candidates and recommend a final shortlist to the employer
  • Provide the employer with candidate reports and facilitate panel interviews with shortlisted candidates
  • Undertake background and reference checking on the employer’s preferred candidate(s)
  • Facilitate contract/salary negotiation
  • Communicate with unsuccessful candidates and provide interview feedback

What does this mean for you as a candidate?

The upside of applying for a job through a recruitment agency is that it gives you access to important information about the prospective employer, the job itself and interview prep guidance and advice that you wouldn’t typically get if going it alone. This means that by the time you get in front of the hiring manager, you’ve already had a practice run at interviewing for the role with your recruiter and a lot of opportunity to cover off any queries or concerns you may have had. Not sure how to ask about the salary range or your pre-booked holiday? Your recruiter can manage those tricky questions on your behalf, giving you the best opportunity to really impress at interview!

Recruiters are also in the know when it comes to upcoming opportunities that haven’t gone to market yet. So even if your application is not successful, having a recruiter on your side gives you an excellent chance at finding other roles that might suit.

Pro tips:

  • Because of the nature of their work, recruiters will interact with dozens of people in any one day, so if you are emailing or calling to enquire about a role, make sure you remember to include the job title that you are interested in!
  • Recruiters don’t typically get involved in visas or sponsoring overseas candidates, as this is the employer’s responsibility. If you are going for a role but are not eligible to work currently, it may pay to check with them to see if your application can be considered!
  • Remember that the recruiter will be representing you to the employer, so interact with them the same way you would with the Hiring Manager. Common courtesy goes a long way!
  • If you are being put forward for a role by a recruitment agency, don’t be shy around asking them for advice and tips regarding your interview and whether there is anything in particular you should know in advance. The more you know going in, the better prepared you can be!

One last thing: recruiters are not employment advisors

It can be easy to confuse the two! Whilst employment advisors work with you one-on-one to provide career advice and guidance, recruiters are assisting the employer to fill their vacancy and therefore will likely be working with many different candidates and clients all at the same time. Recruitment agencies have extensive candidate databases used to identify suitable people for their clients, meaning they may not necessarily have capacity to assist on a personal level with your job hunt. If you are looking for someone to guide you and provide personalised career advice, you may want to connect with an employment advisor – we’ve provided a couple of links below to get you started.

If you’ve registered your details with an agency, make sure you keep them in the loop regarding your changing circumstances. The more up-to-date information they have on you, the more likely they will be able to keep you in mind for upcoming opportunities!

Good luck!
Kirsty and Nikki

Career Advisors:
My Career Brand
Career Development Association of NZ

For current students or recent graduates:
Massey University Student Resources
Victoria University Career Advice Centre

Partnering with a Recruitment Agency
What not to say in an interview


Add yours →

  1. Md.Zakirul Hussain May 12, 2023 — 3:53 pm

    Dear Sir, Greetings of the day, am Md. Zakirul Hussain, Bangladeshi, Hotel Industry Expart, I would like have any suitable Traning in Food & Beverage Short Course Service traning

    i have been working more then 15 years in the Hotel Industries SLH Hotel in 2/3 department Like F&B Restuarent, Bar tender & Housekeeping, my dream is – work over Cruise ships, Bar, Restureant,House keeping department,

    below i have attach my cv & some certificate document,

    So if you kindly advise me, how can i get Short f&b service job i would be very thankful to you,

    looking forward to hear from you soon,

    With Best Regards

    Md Zakirul Hussain
    Contac no- +8801715825459

    • Thanks for your message! We primarily recruit in the non-for-profit sector so wouldn’t be the best agency to assist with your search sorry. However there are other recruitment agencies in New Zealand that do focus on the hospitality and hotel industry, we recommend getting in touch with them to find out more!

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