What are Employment Agencies?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Many people discover there can be a noticeable difference between finding a job and launching a career. The challenge is knowing when to accept a job for survival and when to hold out for a skilled position based on inherent skills and training. This is where employment agencies come into play. They serve as intermediaries between workers and employers, with the stated goal of matching the companies' needs with the workers' skills and interests. They may be privately owned or sponsored by local or national labor departments.

Public employment agencies also act as clearinghouses for local factory applicants. Major companies often provide application forms in preparation for new rounds of hiring or other expansions of their workforce. Many agencies, especially those sponsored by local governments, have enough personnel to process thousands of applications, unlike the companies' own human resource departments. Unemployed workers are strongly encouraged to contact these agencies in order to fill out numerous applications.

Employment agencies also maintain a database of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers available for hire. Whenever a potential employer posts a specific job opening with the agency, all of the registered applicants with matching skills may receive a phone call or mail-in card notifying them of this opening. Staff members may conduct a mini-interview or give interested applicants more details about the position. Sometimes the only message will be an address and contact information, and it is up to the applicant to make arrangements for an interview directly with the potential employer.


Private employment agencies perform many of the same services, but they are less likely to be overworked and understaffed. Applicants fill out detailed information sheets, covering all of their marketable skills and employment experiences. In addition, applicants may also receive training in resume writing, interviewing skills, and presentation. There may also be some aptitude testing available, in order to determine the applicant's strongest skills.

Private employment agencies may also have established relationships with local employers, making it easier for applicants to get past the first round of screenings. They may also offer temporary job services, allowing workers to earn survival money until something more lucrative or satisfying becomes available. Temporary job assignments may involve menial labor in a factory setting or entry-level clerical work such as data entry or filing. As useful as these services may be, private employment agencies can charge fees for the privilege of having your name listed in their database. It pays to ask questions before entering into a contract with such an agency. Don't fall for incredible promises of high-paying jobs with little or no experience required.


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Discuss this Article

Post 6

SauteePan- This sounds very different than a permanent employment agency.

With the permanent employment agency, the hiring process takes longer. Sometimes it can take weeks or even a few months to find the right person and get them hired.

Post 5

Oasis11- I had a friend who worked in a temp agency. She worked for Labor Ready which was a temporary employment agency that hired day laborers.

These types of construction employment agencies had a lot of turnover in jobs, meaning their jobs were for a day or a week.

This very short-term status of employment created a very fast paced environment, because jobs constantly had to be filled.

Post 4

Moldova- I know for executive employment agencies the clients are billed a percentage of the annual salary of the person hired.

Usually these fees range from 10% to 15% or higher. However, if the employee terminates his employment with the company or the company chooses to terminate his employment in the executive employment agency has to return the fee to the hiring client.

Usually there's a stated term in the contract of anywhere from four months to six months in which the employee has to remain employed. After this term is up a permanent employment agency has no liability.

However, when the employee is signing the hiring paperwork usually most employment staffing agencies will make the employee sign a disclosure that they will pay the client fee to agency should the employment be terminated ahead of time.

Post 3

Greenweaver- Although I used to work for a permanent employment agency, I do have an understanding of how the temp agencies work.

I know that there is a full background check which includes references from the candidate. Sometimes the agency will also prepare the resume to present to the client.

The temporary worker is paid by the temp employment agency and not by the client. If the client chooses to hire the temporary employee, they must sign an agreement with temp agency.

Post 2

Temporary employment agencies often have short-term work that may last a few days to a few months. Many temp employment agencies hire entry-level workers to help fulfill a temporary need that one of their clients may have.

For example, a company may need to hire a data entry staff member for a few weeks to handle a large project.

The employment temp agency would screen the database to determine the best candidate for its client. If such a candidate does not exist, then the agency will place an ad in order to attract the right personnel.

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