UK Employment Agencies: How to Find Suitable Employment Agencies in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, or Elsewhere

In part two, you will learn how to find suitable UK employment agenies or agencies for the US, Canada, Australia or elsewhere.

In addition, you will also learn how to maximise your chances of securing a job through employment agencies, plus what type of agencies to avoid.

If you have not read part 1 then see: employment & recruitment agencies.

The agencies will always ask you for a CV. If you want a striking CV that will make the agencies take notice of you, please see our CV writing service. We understand what employment agencies expect to see on your CV and can make sure your CV is tailored to meet the requirements of the jobs you are aiming at.

How to identify the right employment agencies

It is not hard to find lists of US, Canadian, Australian or UK employment agencies, as there are numerous lists available on the Internet. What you need to ascertain is whether you need a specialist agency or a local one - it all depends on your career goals.

Next, you need to research the employment agencies before selecting just two or three to approach. Do this over the course of a few weeks, by watching advertisements to see which jobs the agencies are presenting. If they are jobs that are desirable to you, then the employment agency probably suits your needs.

You can research agencies online, simply by looking at directory websites that provide information about each and every one. When you identify an agency that looks like a good prospect for the vacancies you are seeking, then you can research them further on their own corporate site. You can also look at job adverts in newspapers, specialist publications and on jobs websites, before investigating further.

Remember, though, that many agencies do not need to advertise their jobs. Ask friends, colleagues or business contacts which employment agencies they would recommend. If somebody has already been put in touch with a new job through an agency, then their recommendation as a satisfied customer is worth a lot to you. You could also ask Human Resources departments which agencies they use.

Many employment agencies are well-known names, with offices in many town centres. Others are less well-known. Be sure to check the confidentiality policies of the less familiar agencies, ensuring that their websites are secure, that they will not pass your details on to marketing organisations, etc.

Making contact with US and UK employment agencies

You might respond to an employment agency's job advert during your job search, or you might approach an employment agency to get yourself listed on their books, so that you can apply for one of their listed jobs at a later date.

Your success with any application will depend on the quality of your CV and the degree to which you can demonstrate relevant skills and experience, plus potential to contribute significantly.

It is important to consider whether you are the kind of material employment agencies will respond well to. As they are generally 'risk averse', preferring to present safe choices to the employers who pay them. Employment agencies tend to look for candidates who possess a fairly standard, progressive career path. Do you offer this?

If your background is less conventional, this may work against you, if you are compared with a similar candidate who possesses a more traditional track record. If you are looking to make a major career change, your application is probably too high risk for an agency to consider. On the other hand, if you're willing to make big compromises for the job, such as relocating, you may be in a stronger position.

If you possess highly specialist skills and experience, of a kind much sought by employers in your sector, then you are in a strong position. An appropriate specialist employment agency will be pleased to hear from you.

Once you are happy that an employment agency is right for you, you can contact them by phone, email, through their website or you can drop in to high street recruiters. They will register your details in their database - this is often done automatically, if you email them or go through their website.

You will be asked to clarify your career goals, right down to salary history and expectations. If you are in their local area, they may ask you to attend an interview, so that they can better judge your personality and check the information that you have provided. They may also ask to see your professional and educational certificates, or give you a test to assess your skills levels in word processing or other software.

When you meet an employment agency and prepare to 'sign up', it is a good idea to ask questions as well as answer them. This is a professional relationship and you need to be sure it's going to work. Ask about the process they follow and how they market your CV to potential employers.

If you are responding to a job advertisement, then ask as much about the position as possible. Do not forget that even though you are talking to the agent, you are still effectively in an interview situation, so do not allow considerations of working hours, holiday allowance and salary come ahead of interest in the work and the employer. Find out about the relationship the employment agency has with that employer and how long they have handled their recruitment needs.

Always make sure you are comfortable with the person you are talking to and the employment agency generally. If the relationship is to be productive, there needs to be understanding on both sides.

Remember, that using a recruiter should only be one step in your job search. There is no guarantee if, or when, a lead will turn into a job offer. So, do not stop your own job search efforts and don't stop networking or looking for potential opportunities on your own. Do let the recruiter know that you are seeking other opportunities.

Maximise Your Chances

Do not assume that because you are going to sign up with a couple of employment agencies, there is nothing else for you to do. First and foremost, you need to review and polish your CV. You need to target this as much as if you were sending it to a specific employer, so it is worth writing a version purely for the employment agencies.

They may put your CV into their own format with their own branding, but they won't touch the actual contents, so you need to make sure that your CV highlights your full range of skills, abilities and experience, as well as your outstanding achievements. Professional CV services like Bradley CVs can dramatically improve your CV and make both agencies and employers want to interview you.

Prepare for every meeting as if going to an interview. This means paying attention to your clothing, body language, speech, etc. After you have met them, contact them regularly and ask for updates on suitable vacancies. The way in which they respond will tell you whether they are likely to put you forward for a position - if they feel positive about you, their response will be positive too. Calling them will also keep you in their minds.

What to Avoid

Always be suspicious of employment agencies that promises to find you work, but keep coming up with lame excuses every time you ring them.

In the UK (and other countries too) it is illegal for employment agencies to charge you a fee to place you with an employer. Never give bank account or credit card information.

Always look at the contract carefully and make sure the employment agency is providing job opportunities and that you will not be obliged to attend interviews you are not interested in.

Another thing you can do is check the validity of adverts. When you see an agency advert and it is clear which employer the job is with, you can always call their Human Resources department to double check that the vacancy is open. In a few cases, agencies might use a desirable but fictitious job to attract top candidates onto their books.

The Benefit

Like all aspects of a successful job search, planning and undertaking an effective approach to an employment agency takes time and some degree of effort. If you do not secure the first job you are attracted by, do not despair. Keep working with the employment agencies and success in your job search could come before too long.

Part 1: Employment & recruitment agencies

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