Also known as the agency, they hate to be called that, as they’d like to consider themselves more sophisticated.
Typically, the Recruitment Consultant exists to fill the jobs of their client’s.
What will normally happen is that recruitment consultant will call companies asking if they have any jobs that he/she can fill. They finally get one and then the set the wheels in motion to finding the candidate.
Normally they’ll advertise the job and search through their database. This is why you get calls out of the blue.
The sole factor for the agent to exist is simply the agency acts as a forum for employer / employees in much the same way as a dating agency works.
Although the recruitment consultant never gives any guarantees that:
you will find a job or
the company will find the employee.
Candidates get the raw deal.
Candidates tend to get the worst of the service as they are perceived as the customer as they don’t pay for the service
If you have ever looked for a job you will know, unless you work in a very specialised field, that it is very difficult to think of, say, 100 companies would be able to employ you.
Recruitment consultants do know this, good ones read news papers, keep themselves up to date with what’s happening in their local area or specialist field.
If you are currently working you will find out how time consuming finding a job is. Firstly you need to identify the companies you wish to target, and then you need to find the person you need to speak to. Then the hard part, you need to speak to that person and find out if they are looking for someone like you, 9 times out of 10 the answer will be "no".
Posted speculative CVs are rarely filled for viewing later when they are there is usually no mechanism for a company to retrieve that CV. I.E. a database.
Once they have said "yes", then no doubt want you to sell yourself a little, most people feel a little nervous about this. Hence the recruitment consultant steps in, as it is easier for a third party to do the "selling". Everyone hates talking about themselves, there are even recruitment consultancies that recruitment consultants can use - these are called Rec to Recs.
The reason companies use them is purely for convenience since they charge anything between 15% to 20%; so they are expensive but as any employer knows placing a job in the paper is a costly affair.
Not simply the actual cost of the advert but managing the response, writing the ad copy and spending time getting the advert just right to portray the company in the best light etc. It is far easier to give the job to an agency and then look at 3 or 4 CVs rather than 100-200 inappropriate ones.
This is for permanent employees - for temporary or contract employees it is a totally different kettle of fish, in that it would be time consuming and expensive to advertise a job that was only going to last a few weeks anyway. Also if it’s urgent, you may need to get some one who can start tomorrow, in comes the Recruitment Consultant.
So until Jobseekers have either the time or the confidence to get jobs for themselves and until employers stop using Recruitment Consultants for convenience, the Recruitment Consultant is here to stay.