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Using recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies (also referred to as recruitment consultants, labour hire or third party contractors) are services that can be used to:

  • conduct any part of the recruitment and selection process;
  • acquire casual staff for short term employment or temporary staffing requirements;
  • acquire a pool of candidates for fixed term and ongoing vacancies;
  • conduct pre-employment assessments or skill testing; and
  • acquire specialist expertise in the form of consultants.

There are a significant number of agents in the market, making it one of the most competitive industries and one that is negotiable on service options, terms and conditions and rates/fees.

Most agents are looking to establish an ongoing business relationship with a client and this provides an opportunity to negotiate service requirements and fees.

The best approach is to get to know the provider and their respective services and strengths and obtain referrals from colleagues who have successfully used the provider.


The decision to engage a consultant is an important one, not least from the cost perspective. The use of a consultant is generally to buy in expertise that is not readily obtained from within the University.

When you engage a consultant, you should be acquiring an expert in a particular field, who can demonstrate significant relevant skills and experience. There are many people in the market who present as consultants, but are more like contractors, but still charge consulting level fees.

This is a cautionary note to ensure that you carefully consider the type of need, the expertise required and the level of involvement that you want to have.

Consultants would normally work to an agreed project plan, a set of outcomes/deliverables and operate with a greater degree of autonomy. They should not require substantial input from the client, nor should they require close supervision.

You are paying for certain outcomes/outputs and it should only be necessary to have milestone reviews throughout the assignment.

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