In the wake of the recession, more and more employers are downsizing their human resources department.  Instead, they are using hiring agencies to fill both temporary and permanent positions.  Prospective employees are faced with a problem.  Hiring agencies are primarily working for the employer. 

When searching for a job, it’s important to make the most out of working with the hiring agencies in your area. Here are four proven tactics for achieving that goal:

1. Make a list of all the hiring agencies that work with companies that fit your job search.
Not all hiring agencies are created equal.  In any given region there are often hundreds of hiring agencies. Some primarily place people with companies that specialize in construction or manual labor. Others place IT people or accountants. Find out which agencies match your employment profile: degree, level of experience, etc.  Then, make a list of these agencies and look for job postings on their websites.  Post your resume on these sites, and write your login information down. Check back weekly.

2. Make a contact within the agency.
Have the phone number of a specific person within each agency.  Call them when you see a job opportunity that might be a good fit on their website.  If they hear from you on a regular basis, they’ll be more likely to think of you when a new job opportunity arises.

3. If you have a preferred company, find out what hiring agency they work with.
Let’s say you’re an accountant and you want to work for a specific insurance company.  Other than knowing someone already working for the company or applying directly on their website, your best bet for getting a job with them is to find out which hiring agency they use to find temps and direct hires.  Call the hiring agency and ask to be put on their list of people to contact when a job with that company opens up.  Keep in mind that many temporary positions turn into full-time, salaried positions.

4. Focus on agencies that offer direct-hire placement.
This may go without saying, but most people who are unemployed are searching for positions that offer full benefits.  There are very few hiring agencies that offer more than the most minimal health insurance, and many don’t offer a 401k.  On the same note, there are hiring agencies that specialize in placing temps temps.  Focus your efforts on the agencies that place people directly with the company.

Following these simple steps can help you maximize your job searching efforts. As more companies make use of hiring agencies, the successful job seeker will learn to navigate the new job market.

Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, researching areas of online universities. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Note: The Emerging Professional blog and Best Fit Forward do not endorse nor recommendations made in this blog post. One minor comment on the advice above:
When working with a head hunter or a third party recruiting agency, always remember the following: They primarily work for the organization who pays their bills, not for you. Be extra careful to assess whether an organizational culture, dynamics, and position is the right fit for you!