Employment agency vs recruitment agency

By Beyondo, 24. Jan 2023

What does a recruitment agency do? How does it work?

If you are looking to get a job anywhere, for example in Sweden, sooner or later, you might come across an employment agency. Working with an employment agency might not be so common in every country, but in Sweden it is quite common, both for employers and employees. They can prove useful for your job hunt, but before you can start working with them it’s good to know the ins and outs of how they work.

What is an employment agency?

An employment agency is an expert in staffing ('bemanning' in Swedish) and recruitment. They act as an intermediary between employers and employees and aim to find the perfect employee for an employer and the ideal vacancy for a candidate. Finding talented employees can be hard and some companies can’t attract sufficient capable resources. Therefore, there are recruitment companies to help out!

Many staffing agencies in Sweden employ the candidates and have them on their payroll permanently. Then they will make sure that the employees have assignments for their clients. This means you can be directed to work at different companies. Some are project-based or temporary, some are for more permanent solutions. You will get paid by the staffing agency; however, you are an employee with their client. 

Usually, companies will work together with an employment agency and post either a job opening on the employment agency's website, or they will hire a recruiter from the agency to fill the vacancy for them. The potential employee can sign up with the employment agency as well to regularly check vacancies or get in touch with a recruiter. The recruiter will then do the search and selection for the client and work closely with the hiring manager to find the right match. So, an employment agency is the place to be when you’re looking for a job!

Employment agency vs recruitment agency?

When it comes to agencies, there can be confusion between what services an employment agency and a recruitment agency provide. Although they sound very similar on the surface, the way they operate can be different.

One big difference between employment (staffing) agencies and recruitment agencies is the service they offer. An Employment Agency works for the jobseeker and a recruitment agency work for the client, based on a requisition. However, this differs from agency to agency.

Generally, employment agencies do the whole recruitment process, from creating the ad to onboarding a candidate. In most of cases, candidates who sign up with them usually get matched to multiple temporary jobs.

As well as an employment agency and a recruitment agency can offer temporary solutions where you will be hired/be on the payroll of the agency, as well as direct recruitment, where you will get hired by the client. Direct recruitment is usually targeted for positions with a long-term perspective and for higher educated profiles.

There are also hybrid agencies that focus on both. But the main thing to keep in mind is that a good agency will add value for both the company and the candidate.

What is the added value to work with an agency?

Finding a job as an international in Sweden is not always easy, so enlisting the help of an employment- or recruitment agency can really help you out. However, who's help you should enlist really depends on what you’re looking for. If you're looking for a long-term job where you can grow your career, you might want to investigate signing up with a recruitment agency rather than an employment agency. Looking for something a bit more short-term to gain experience? An employment agency is a right choice for you. Here you also might want to look into an option to take on an internship somewhere, in order to gain experience in the local market.

But why should you work with an agency? Well, there are many good reasons for working with an agency! Agencies usually are pros in linking talent to fitting jobs. As they work closely with the employers, they know all the ins and outs of the job as well as knowing all about the company itself. Recruiters working for these agencies are often wildly connected and generally find out about open vacancies long before they even get published.

On top of that, if you get introduced by an agency, chances are that your resume gets reviewed before disappearing under a pile of other applications. Also, keep in mind that a recruiter has seen thousands of resumes already and will be able to give you valuable tips on how to make your CV stand out. There are many recruitment agencies that specialize in a specific field, for example, IT, finance, Executive Search or marketing roles. 

The Swedish Public Employment Service can also be of assistance in your job searching process. 

Looking to read more on how to find a job in Sweden? Here is a list of recruitment companies in Sweden.

You can also find useful information on various recruitment agencies on the website of Invest Stockholm