The Benefits of a Recruitment Agency
It's more than just a requirement of the POEA.
The Philippines is known for its comprehensive overseas migration policies. It is the only country in the world that has dedicated a government arm—the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, or the POEA—solely for overseas migration. It strictly regulates Filipino workers and foreign employers to ensure that quality and ethical recruitment practices are followed all throughout the process.
The POEA is able to manage these workers and employers through private recruitment agencies. Filipinos who desire to work abroad and foreign employers who wish to hire them are all mandated to go through Philippine-based overseas recruitment agencies duly licensed by the POEA. By requiring applicants and employers to go through these middlemen AND regulating them, the POEA is able to manage the thousands of deployments that are happening on a monthly basis.
The value of recruitment agencies are most appreciated by applicants and employers when legal problems arise: Disputes regarding contract agreements, salaries, fair treatment, and other labor-related issues are usually handled by the recruitment agency. But did you know that applicants and employers can derive many other benefits from them? Here are some of the advantages of recruitment agencies to applicants and employers.
1. Access to a wide variety of options. A good recruitment agency serves more than one employer, immediately giving an applicant access to many career options. Consequently, serving several clients expands the pool of applicants that it attracts, so its employers can expect a larger selection of potential candidates for their teams. Applicants and employers simply enjoy more choices when an exemplary middleman is involved, compared to them dealing with each other on their own.
2. Someone else managing the recruitment. An applicant applies for work to be able to develop his career whereas an employer hires individuals to keep its business running. Recruitment itself must not consume a significant portion of their time, effort, and other resources since it is not their end goal in the first place. Through engaging a good agency, the intricacies of recruitment is left to someone else so that they can focus on what’s absolutely more important to them.
3. Simpler process with hands-on guidance. A good recruitment agency spends more hours and energy on recruitment compared to the applicant or employer since recruitment is its business’ raison d’etre. It demonstrates a high level of competence in the field and is able to manage the complexities of the process. An applicant or employer who goes through a simpler and easier recruitment process (especially when we’re pertaining to overseas recruitment in the Philippines) is the ultimate sign that a good recruitment agency was utilized along the way.
4. Service beyond recruitment. A good agency has access to a vast network of applicants and employers and invests all of its time and energy in recruitment. Therefore, providing relevant information and overall consultancy about the industry is unsurprisingly second-nature to it. It is almost impossible for applicants and employers to get such services when they resort to direct hiring. Abba, for example, is committed to providing regular reports and research materials to its customers so that they are guided on how they can conduct better recruitment in the future. Abba also plans on implementing various advocacies that are relevant to the industry, such as the recent scholarship program that it launched a few months ago.
5. Proper representation. Take it from us when we say that there are excellent applicants who are just not as good when it comes to applying, and there are excellent employers who are jut not as good when it comes to corporate marketing. A good agency can help match the best applicants to the best employers, regardless of the interview performance of the former or the marketing expertise of the latter. Due to its specialization in recruitment, it has the ability to identify which ones are truly the most qualified and properly represent them to the employer or the applicants. Applicants’ well-practiced interview answers or employers’ complex corporate marketing efforts just wouldn’t cut it when they are dealing with an agency that has recruited thousands of candidates for hundreds of employers.
6. Warranty from a licensed agency. Direct hiring may seem like the simpler and easier route—if you think that recruitment happens in a perfect world where job contracts cover all agreements and conditions; the quality of applicants are flawlessly represented by resumes; or employers are unaffected by economic and political forces. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t operate this way so it’s important to be protected when things go awry down the line. Applicants and employers who engage in direct hiring bear full responsibility for the recruitment when something unexpected happens (and it gets even more complicated when we’re talking about overseas recruitment). But when a good POEA-licensed agency is in the picture, another professional entity can be held accountable for it. Think of hiring a recruitment agency as a type of insurance for every recruitment done: Imagine the many headaches that you can avoid just by getting one!
If recruitment agencies offer these advantages, why do some Filipino applicants and overseas employers still resort to direct hiring? It’s important to note that the above mentioned benefits only pertain to good recruitment agencies and admittedly, not all POEA-licensed agencies are like them. For every agency that does everything that it can to practice quality and ethical recruitment, there are many agencies who are heavily reliant on them being required by the POEA to keep on running their businesses. For every agency that attempts to transform the negative impression on overseas recruitment agencies in the country, there are many agencies who are contented with accomplishing the minimum requirements to keep their POEA licenses.
Given this, selecting the right POEA-licensed recruitment agency must not be taken lightly. It is a serious decision that requires good deliberation because the choice can make or break an applicant’s application or an employer’s recruitment campaign. Intensive research, checking its past and current cases with the POEA, and collecting feedback from its deployed applicants or existing employers are some of the ways of verifying the status and track record of the recruitment agency. And if all these seem insufficient, you can try asking yourself this question to ensure that you end up with the right one: “If recruitment agencies aren’t required by the POEA, will this recruitment agency still be beneficial to me?”
Karla Yu is the Special Projects Officer of Abba Personnel Services, Inc. She joined the team last August 2016 and has pioneered several projects ever since, such as the company's Marketing standards and practices; the Abba.ph Apply Online System; and Abba's sister company Tracker, an overseas licensing agency. She was a former brand management practitioner handling internationally-recognized brands, such as URC's C2 Cool and Clean and McDonald's Breakfast / 24 Hours. She is an Honorable Mention graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University's BS Communications Technology Management curriculum, and was one of the business course's top 10 students.