Employment agencies are meant to smooth the hiring process for job seekers and employers looking for qualified applicants. Filling a job vacancy can be exasperating for the employer, who might have hundreds of applications to review for just one position. Finding a job can also be painful for the applicant, who might send out dozens of applications before striking pay dirt. At their best, employment agencies make it easier on everybody. There are, however, several kinds of employment agencies, and they work in different ways. Knowing which is which is helpful if you’re thinking about using one as part of your job search. Keep the following types of agencies in mind as you plan your job-hunt strategy.
Some employment agencies, called temporary agencies, focus on providing employees for temporary jobs. Temporary agencies may focus on providing seasonal workers or workers who can fill in for sick personnel. In some cases, they also provide workers for jobs that begin as temporary placements but may become permanent.
Traditional employment agencies
Traditional employment agencies help people find jobs. The best ones tend to charge the employer, rather than the applicant, and you should be wary of any employment agency that asks you for money upfront. Some unscrupulous employment agencies also try to take advantage of desperate workers, so you should avoid agencies that advertise positions that sound too good to be true or pressure you to sign documents right away at the risk of losing a great job opportunity. If you have questions about an agency, research it online and ask around about its reputation.
Government employment agencies
Some branches of government, like the U.S. Department of Labor, provide job-search tools and services or links to job banks. These government entities are often referred to as employment agencies, even though they don’t find workers for specific positions like traditional and temporary agencies do.