Looking for a job? An employment agency might be able to help you out.

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When it comes to employment, there are two sides of the story. Employers say, "Good help is hard to find," while job-seekers think, "I can't find a decent job out there." No matter which side of the coin you're on, finding good work and workers is a difficult process. If you're hiring, one job opening could attract hundreds of applicants. Sifting through them to find a good fit is time consuming. On the other hand, a job hunter may feel like he or she is sending resumes into the black hole of the Internet, never to hear a response.

How can businesses and job hunters cut through the red tape of the hiring process? Many use an employment agency to alleviate the process. An employment agency is a firm hired by a company to help with its staffing needs. Employment agencies find people to fill all kinds of jobs, from temporary to full-time, in a number of career fields. Whether a company needs a nurse, an administrative assistant, a manager or a carpenter, an employment agency can find the right employee.

Both public and private employment agencies help place workers. In the United States, one of the major public employment agencies is the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. This agency provides job-seeking services and tools for workers through online resources and a network of offices around the country. It promotes public and private sector jobs by linking to national and state job banks.

Private employment agencies also help place workers, particularly in the private sector. These employment agencies tend to specialize in one of three fields:

  • personnel placement services
  • staffing services, also known as temporary help services
  • executive search firms

All told, these companies put millions of people to work every day. In fact, in the temporary and contract industry, over two million people are employed by staffing companies every business day, and staffing companies hire 8.6 million temporary and contract employees every year [American Staffing Association].

So, what do these employment agencies actually do? Read on to find out why they're an invaluable resource for both employers and employees.