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University of Bath

Find a graduate job: recruitment intermediaries

Find out about recruitment intermediaries or agencies, the pros and cons of using them, and when they can be useful.

Where to look for vacancies

For many of our students and graduates, the best place to look for graduate vacancies and internships is MyFuture. New opportunities get added every day all year round. We advertise jobs that target Bath students and graduates. We also do not charge to advertise, so it doesn't exclude employers with little or no recruitment budget.

However, lots of vacancies get advertised elsewhere. Particularly if you’re looking for employers who wouldn't normally target graduates of Bath.

To find the most relevant source for your career interests, discipline and location, you should explore our Find a graduate job pages. Another place to look is the resources section of MyFuture. You will find information about professional bodies, directories and websites most relevant to a sector or industry. Access the resources section

Recruitment Intermediaries can be useful

There are certain things recruitment intermediaries can be useful for:

  • Specific areas of employment. Specialist agencies may have a long established expertise and regular clients. E.g. pharmaceutical sales and clinical trials or translation and interpreting.
  • More experienced candidates looking for senior roles. In those cases the terms ‘recruitment agent’, ‘executive search’ and ‘head-hunter’ may be interchangeably used.
  • Temporary work. If a company has lots of vacancies in one region needing a steady flow of employees, they may put all their recruitment through recruitment intermediaries. An employer may use one or several intermediaries. If you approach an employer directly/speculatively it’s always worth asking if they use recruitment intermediaries and if so, which ones.
  • Immediate vacancies, that is; opportunities to start straight away. If you are a graduate rather than a student applying in your final or postgraduate year then you should consider registering with recruitment intermediaries as part of your job seeking strategy.
  • Giving you a feel for the market within a particular area of work, or geographical area. From talking to agencies and from the jobs they encourage you to consider, you can learn which skills and experiences are most sought after by employers and about typical salaries.

Weighing up the pros and cons

If you want to get into a mainstream graduate job, and particularly if you are still a student or recently graduated, then making direct applications is generally the best initial strategy, because:

  • If the employer is on MyFuture, visiting campus, or even if they don’t target Bath but have their vacancies easily visible online, then registering with a recruitment intermediary and just sitting back to wait is likely to result in you missing many opportunities.
  • Targeting your application for each employer will be easier. Usually recruitment intermediaries don’t tell you the name of their client, i.e. your potential employer. When recruitment intermediaries ask us to advertise for them we insist on knowing the employer. We advertise to you under the name of the employer, but that’s not typical.

On the other hand, assuming it doesn’t stop you also being proactive in seeking work and you’re careful about sharing your personal details (and those of others, like your referees), then you have nothing to lose registering with recruitment intermediaries. Sometimes you may even be shortlisted for interview or have your CV looked at by an employer you couldn’t normally reach.

As with many things in life, people have a variety of experiences using agencies and agents will vary in terms of the relationships and trust they’ve built up with client companies. Remember a few key safeguards, detailed below.

Vital points to remember

  • You don’t have to limit yourself to one recruitment agency/consultant. Check any small print you might be asked to sign to ensure you’re not agreeing to this.
  • Agencies must not charge you fees for finding or trying to find you work (Employment Agencies Act 1973). Have nothing to do with an agency that tries to make you pay them to do this. They may charge for additional services, but consider if this is necessary. For example, paying for help with your CV isn’t necessary as we’ll help you for free!
  • You don’t have to go to interviews or accept jobs you are offered but aren’t interested in. If you are puzzled by the jobs you are being persuaded to consider then remember that agencies are paid by the employer when they successfully place a candidate. Quality in terms of how well you’re treated varies, your interests can’t necessarily be first priority for the agent, as it is the employer who pays them. This will be particularly evident if you are trying to gain new experiences and the agent/consultant is trying to place you in a role you've done before. Understandably they will generally want to find the employer someone who is most likely to be a safe bet. Never be afraid to ask questions so that you know what job you’re going for and aren’t wasting your time or the employer’s time.
  • Members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) have agreed to a certain code of good practice, is the agency you’re dealing with a member?
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Each year we see some examples of students considering jobs they have incomplete or inaccurate information about, or being offered a job with unusually high salary, or without an interview or even telephone conversation. If you are unsure about the selection process, job offer or contract you’re being asked to sign, come in to see us.
  • You need to work at this too. Treat the intermediary as you should any employer; be clear about what you’re looking for and are prepared to consider, keep in touch, make a good impression as they are the first stage for you to pass in gaining employment with their client company. Sometimes more than the first stage, as some intermediaries interview for their clients too.

Finding information

Other pages on finding a graduate job