Hiring & Recruiting Agencies: How do they work?

March 20, 2017



There's no doubt about it, Calgary's had a rough go of it these past couple of years. With our unemployment rate sitting at 10.2 per cent as of January 2017, the job market is in a tough situation. If you are currently looking for a new position, it's important to know a few intricacies of the hiring process to help you find the position you don't just need, but want. We sat down with Jeannine Adams, President and Co-Founder of Jobickle, an online platform in Calgary hoping to level the playing field in hiring. She provided us with a behind the scenes look on how hiring is typically done.


First, what’s the process behind an individual company hiring?
When hiring, an individual company can either: post a job on their website, post a job on a jobsite or social media, promote job postings on social media, search LinkedIn for skillsets, hire a third party recruiter or rely on personal network to find candidates. Each pose their own pros and cons for the company hiring.


I heard that not all job postings are real, but are a marketing tactic, rather than a job search. Is there truth to this? If so, why?
Job postings can be used to advertise a company and its good health. However, companies can do this if they’re seeking financing or about to have an IPO (initial public offering) and want to look good. Postings can also be used to see what kind of skillsets are out there, what kind of interest there is in that role, and to test how well the job was described. For recruiters, fake postings can help grow their network and help them collect resumes for real postings.



What other intricacies should we be aware of with hiring or contracting through a recruiting agency?

When contractors work through an agency, the agency is paid a fee for every hour the contractor works.  This fee or “split amount” is not known to you, the contractor. The split tends to get lower the more experienced the contractor is as they become more aware of this situation. Contractors learn to not take contracts with sleazy recruiters or companies who have a history of paying a low rate.


A contractor usually has a contract with an end date.  Usually, a contractor does not know if their contract is being renewed or not until the initial end date, which persists until the contract finally expires. Many times, contractors must continually ask if they’re position is ongoing or they just keep showing up until they are told otherwise.  It is a precarious position and very stressful. The obvious solution is having another job to go, although this is not always the easiest backup option.

If a company wants to hire the contractor for permanent work, they

have to pay the finder's fee of about 18-20%.  That can mean that a

company never hires someone full time, they never get benefits, 

all because they don’t want to pay the fee.  


While the company gets the work, the contractor is the loser and the agency still makes their hourly wage. There is no expiry of such arrangements.


If a contractor is able to do more than one thing, often they are not allowed because the agency would prefer to have as many contractors in the company as possible. Whatever way they can make a fee, they are looking to optimize that.


While you should take it upon yourself to understand the ins and outs of working with a recruiting company, the number one thing to know is that you’re not alone. Hiring companies are great when you’re looking to build your skillset, if you need another person to advocate for your own career, or to better understand the types of roles available within your field. To learn more about recruiting companies, visit Jobickle.


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