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Working with Employment or Job Placement Companies September 25, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Jobhunting Pinoy Style.
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There are companies that help individuals get a job as local hires.  In Metro Manila, they are known as consultancy or placement firms.  A few of the more known companies include John Clements Consultants, ZMG Signium Ward Howell, and Asia Select, among others.

Essentially, these companies act as a job applicant’s contact with a potential employer.  The system works like this:

Employer gets in touch with the placement agency with a list of job vacancies the employer may have.  The list may contain just one possible position, although many employers do place multiple postings. 

The list will also contain the most basic requirements that the employer would want the candidate to have.  In placement firm terms, it’s called the ‘specs’, short for specifications.  This will include the must-haves an applicant should be able to offer, such as educational background, work experience, skills, certain personality traits, training, etc.

 The placement agency then searches their database for possible matches.  The database, of course, consists of resumes of people who have expressed their intention to be contacted in case a job that fits their qualifications comes up. 

If there are several candidates that seem to have the potential, the placement agency will call them for an interview.  The placement agency then produces a shortlist of candidates that the employer might find desirable.  This shortlist will include a cover letter, a profile list and copies of the candidates’ resumes.  The profile list is a short description of each candidate and why they may be right for the job.

If the employer finds the shortlist up to his standards, he schedules an interview with the candidates through the placement agency.  Sometimes, the employer might just pick a few from the shortlist, depending on the ‘quality’ of the candidates included. 

Note that no direct contact between the employer and the candidate occurs until the interview because it’s a violation of the agreement between the employer and the placement agency.  Once the candidates have been interviewed, the employer can then decide whether to hire the most qualified candidate/s or ask the placement agency to look for more.

Do you pay placement agencies?
Local placements often do not charge any fees, so you shouldn’t be paying anyone anything.  How do these companies earn?  Through fixed fees based on the employer’s salary offer. 

Let’s say the salary intended for a particular position is around P400,000 and the placement agency charges, say, 7% of that amount, they will receive P28,000 from their employer client as payment for their services.  This is if they have a successful hire.  If they don’t, they’ll simply continue looking for the right candidate. 

That means, if you work with a job consultancy firm or local placement agency, you don’t have to pay them.  The company who will hire you will be the one to write them a check.

Are placement agencies always successful in helping people find jobs?
There are several factors that affect how well and how often a placement or hiring agency can ‘place’ job candidates.  These are:

Their client’s demands.  If no job vacancies are open, the company simply cannot push their client to hire anyone. 

Your qualifications.  Remember that the client will have a list of requirements they want their new hire to have.  These specs will guide the placement agency on what type of qualifications to look for. 

Many people who send their resumes to these placement agencies (even those who were actively recruited) may not always have the qualifications that match the client’s needs.  If you don’t fit, you don’t fit. 

Competition.  Again, your qualifications side-by-side another candidate’s will determine whether or not you’ll get the job.  The guy who gets hired will often have the right set of skills, training and education that the client is looking for.  Don’t take it personally, though.

Some tips:
If you decide to explore opportunities with placement or job consultancy firms, do the following:

Write a good resume.  It’s easy to throw a badly-written resume in the trash bin especially if you’re just one of a few dozen.  Make sure you ‘sell’ yourself and highlight your strong points.

However, if you do have the qualifications, some placement firms might even re-write your resume to polish it up.  But that’s often an exception rather than the rule.  You have to be a really good candidate to be considered for a resume makeover.

Focus on your fields of expertise.  It’s a lot easier to place you with a client if you have a clear background on a particular industry.  If you only worked in one industry, make sure you have good experience.  If you worked in several, highlight your best accomplishments.

Prepare to wait.  Once you submit your resume to a placement agency, it can take weeks, even months to get a call from them, depending on the factors already mentioned.  Some resumes even stay in their databases for a year or more.  Some candidates even get multiple interviews from different companies but never get hired.

However, that’s not to say that these companies don’t work.  They do and many of them remain in good standing.  It’s just that your success as a candidate will often depend on the current demand and on what you can offer.

Don’t get your hopes too high.  Again, there are certain things that affect whether or not you get the call and the job.  You could be placed in a shortlist but that’s no guarantee you’ll get the job. 

Be prepared to work.
Companies don’t go through job consultancy companies just to hire a slacker.  If you did get hired through one, your employer had very good reasons for doing so.  So show them they didn’t make a mistake by choosing you.



1. Vicky - February 7, 2012

It is a tough competition out there! I’ve just been recently expose to the industry of executive search in the Philippines and I like to include KSearch Asia Consulting on yout list. They helped me get a job after I gave birth plus their consultants are really nice people.

Thanks for this article.

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