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Increasingly, companies are using agencies to recruit through. There are two types of agencies.

Jobs agencies or employment agencies

These agencies provide staff for organisations usually on a temporary short-term basis. The agency will charge the company a fee and the individual is paid by the agency. In uncertain economic times, many organisations are employing staff in this way. The main advantages to employers are….

They can give notice at any time without going through any lengthy procedures.

They can recruit and layoff staff in keeping with the work flow, eg seasonal work.

There is less risk with temporary staff.

Although the agency has to be paid, the company does not have to worry about pension provisions, national insurance contributions or holiday pay.

The companies do not have to advertise and handle the recruitment process.

This does have implications for you.

Advantages of working for agencies

It can provide valuable work experience.

Because of the variety of work available, it demonstrates your flexibility and willingness to work.

It can bring a routine to your day and an opportunity to meet people.

It may provide you with the opportunity to learn new skills.

The company you work for may offer you full time employment.

Disadvantages of working for agencies

The pay is usually lower than for permanent staff.

You have few legal rights.

With few exceptions, if you don't work, you receive no holiday or sick pay.

There is a lack of security. It can be difficult to plan ahead.

The choice as to whether you work for an agency is up to you. You must weigh up the pros and cons. However, it is yet another approach in which your CV can play a vital role. An agency needs to know what you have done and the skills that you possess in order to match you with a suitable vacancy.

To contact a job agency, look in Yellow Pages under Employment Agencies and Consultants.

Recruitment consultancies

Although they recruit on behalf of a company, that is all they do. Once someone has been successfully placed, they usually have nothing else to do with the agency.

So why do companies use them?

For business reasons…. They may not want to publicise to a competitor the fact that they have a vacancy.

They may lack expertise in recruitment matters.

Using agencies saves them the time spent handling the recruitment process.

Recruitment consultants will often advertise a position on behalf of their client. However, they have a database of potential candidates some of whom may be put forward for the position without it being advertised. Therefore, it is worth contacting recruitment consultancies with your CV. If you wish to contact a recruitment consultant, look at the Executive Grapevine which lists names and addresses of recruitment consultants and agencies. Some consultancies specialise in particular sectors.

Whichever type of agency you come across, your CV will be your main calling card. By contacting an agency with your CV you increase your chances of achieving success. This is the case whether you want…

• full-time permanent work

• temporary work

• part-time work

• self employment

Self employed people can often find temporary assignments through an agency.

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