The Employment Agency: Myths and Misdemeanors
Despite the long history of the employment agency, many job seekers still have misconceptions about how employment agencies work and how to spot a bad one. That’s why it’s time to finally demystify the most common employment agency myths out there and to expose the underhanded and exploitative tricks that only the least ethical agencies would exercise.
Most Common Employment Agency Myths
They can charge you for placing you and/or for registering with them
For an employment agency to charge you for simply registering with them, or even for placing you in a role, they’re breaking the law. In fact, many job seekers mistakenly believe that an employment agency makes its money by garnishing the wages you earn from the jobs they place you in. That’s utterly untrue. An employment agency makes its money by charging their client (the employer they’ve placed you with) a certain percentage of the wage you earn. You get your money – all of it. The employer pays the employment agency its fee on top of what you earn. In fact, because an employment agency’s fee is a percentage of your wage, it’s in their best interest to negotiate the highest possible pay they can get for you. Some agencies offer optional services for candidates, such as training and resume revisions, which they can charge for, but they can never charge a candidate for any part of the recruitment process.
They can guarantee and/or are obligated to find you a job
An employment agency is a for-profit company like any other. They make their money by making their clients happy. That means finding the best candidate for each job. Although this approach may sound like only the client comes first, it actually ensures an optimal outcome for the candidate as well. After all, no client can be happy with a candidate who doesn’t want to work for them. And unhappy candidates talk to potential candidates, damaging the agency’s reputation and, consequently, their ability to effectively fill client orders. That’s why any good employment agency couples candidate and client like an expert matchmaker.
Employment agency jobs aren’t “real” jobs
This myth ties into a few sub-myths about employment agencies. Some people believe that “employment agency” is synonymous with “temp agency”. And while some employment agencies do focus only on filling temporary roles, that isn’t the case with all of them – including Adecco. Also, when most people think about temp work, they assume it’s always short-term employment. This additional assumption leads to the erroneous notion that work found through an employment agency isn’t “real” work. These assumptions then lead to yet another unfortunate assumption: That employment agency pay is always low. Let’s tackle all this piece by piece:
- Many employment agencies, including Adecco, conduct temporary, temp-to-perm, and permanent recruitment. As we’ve discussed on this blog before, an interview with an employment agency should be treated like any other job interview because it could lead to a temporary position that later becomes permanent, or it can lead directly to a permanent role.
- “Temp” does not necessarily equal “short-term”. Temporary work can be long-term, rewarding, and career-building. For proof, just check out our TempTalk section for firsthand accounts of several successful temporary Adecco placements.
- Low pay? Tell that to the many managers, directors, and chief officers placed by employment agencies every day.
Employment agency jobs don’t offer benefits
Many employment agencies, including Adecco, do in fact offer employment benefits for their temporary workers. In fact, for any employment agency that places temps, it’s in their best interest to offer (at least after a certain amount of hours worked) vacation pay, group insurance, referral bonuses, and other benefits typically associated with permanent positions. Such benefits help retain top talent, and an employment agency, like any other company, wants to hang on to its best and its brightest, offering their workers more and more opportunities to impress their clients. In this way, benefits also help blur the line between temporary and permanent work for the employee, allowing many to pursue temping as a career – a career that many argue is more flexible than working in one position for one company for an extended period of time.
Signs of a Bad Employment Agency
While we wish unprofessional and/or unethical employment agencies were a myth, unfortunately they are not. How can I spot one? you might ask. Here are a few things to watch out for:
They’re not familiar with your field
A good employment agency will have recruiters who are familiar with the fields for which they recruit. If you meet a recruiter who doesn’t know their – or rather, your – stuff, it could be a sign that the employment agency they work for has sub-par standards and poor business acumen.
They push jobs that simply aren’t for you
If an employment agency is putting their client’s need to fill a particular role over your need to find a job at an organization you’re best suited for, they don’t have your – or their client’s – best interests at heart. They’re just out for short-term cash gain – which, in the long run, isn’t good business. Any decent employment agencywants to create a best-fit match, thereby optimizing the benefits both for their clients and their candidates.
They say you’re required to take whatever job they find for you
You are under no obligation to take any job an employment agency presents you. That’s just another myth. If a recruiter says anything insinuating such a thing, you’re in the wrong place.