Whether you call them recruitment agencies, head-hunters, job placement services, employment agencies or staffing services, they perform an important function.
They bring two sets of requirements together – one with a need for a job and another with a need for a worker.
Placement agencies offer job opportunities to nearly 15 million American job-seekers annually, according to studies conducted in 2018.
This $175 billion industry is one of the swiftest growing sectors in B2B. However, it is spread quite thinly across the country and a majority of agencies generate less than $10 million annually. However, around 100 of the top staffing agencies are able to generate $100 million.
Estimates suggest that there are more than 20,000 recruitment/staffing agencies across the country, with nearly 40,000 offices.
These agencies serve a wide variety of industries such as professional, educational, and health-care sectors, information technology, engineering and scientific sectors, clerical, financial and administrative sectors, industrial, managerial, and niche sectors such as top-level management.
If you thought that the concept of finding candidates for specialized tasks is a new idea, think again! Historians tell us that the first “referral program” was probably launched by Julius Caesar around 55 BCE. He offered a generous bonus to any soldier who brought another one into the Roman Army.
The ancient Romans instituted many of the practices that we continue to follow today in the recruitment sector. They specified standards for eligibility, such as citizenship and physical strength. They removed class distinctions and promoted equal opportunity principles for recruitment. Since the Roman Empire stretched across many continents, the Roman Eagle brand was recognized and valued. Local commanders were empowered to recruit and the process of compensation was made more professional and guaranteed.
In Imperial China, the Imperial Examinations in the 2nd century BCE introduced the idea of finding the best candidates for government jobs.
History also records that the first CV was probably written by Leonardo da Vinci, listing his skills and talent, in 1482, when he was looking for work in Milan.
Cutting across centuries, the first-ever professional recruitment agency in the world was set up in 1653, in the UK by Henry Robinson. He approached the British Parliament with a proposal to set up an office of “Addresses and Encounters” to link job-seekers and employers. Though Parliament refused to entertain the proposal, Robinson set up the agency himself.
In San Francisco, USA, a lady named Kitty Felton started an employment agency in 1906 to provide work for those who had suffered in the Great Earthquake.
The war years saw the establishment of staffing agencies to fill positions in companies because the majority of young men were out on the battlefields. Agencies also specialized in filling temporary posts.
Modern agencies use a combination of information technology, HR practices, labor laws, private-public partnerships and behavioral sciences to provide an accurate fit.
As organizations expand and grow, using in-house talent for recruitment becomes more and more challenging. Your own employees engaged in scouting for talent could end up wasting time and resources that could be better utilized elsewhere.
Today, the market is highly candidate-driven and very competitive. You can improve the quality of hire, protect your company from fraud and bad hires, and also save time by hiring a placement agency.
There are different types of staffing solutions, and finding the best job placement services to match your unique requirements, preferences, and budget is the key to getting the perfect results.
Traditional agencies are paid by employers (rarely by employees) to fill temporary/permanent positions. They may specialize in a particular industry.
Contingency agencies are paid only when the recruitment is successfully completed. They usually focus on low and middle-level positions.
Temporary placement agencies specialize in finding recruits for part-time, temporary or flexible time positions. They may pay the employee themselves if they have such an arrangement with the employer.
Retained agencies have a permanent contract with employers and are their preferred agency for all positions.
Executive Search agencies specialize in high-level recruitment for senior positions. They may approach candidates who aren’t looking for a change of job.
Talent agencies arrange employment for job seekers in the entertainment industry.
Unless you have previous experience with agencies, it’s wise to get recommendations from trusted sources. You can cross-check references and conduct several meetings before you decide to hire their services. Another good source is industry related news magazines and websites where you can read reviews and get information about agencies.