What's the difference between a recruitment agency and a jobs board?

Lara Billington
Content Marketing Executive

Recruitment agency or jobs board - same thing just with different names, right? 

Not quite. There's often some confusion surrounding the difference between a jobs board and a recruitment agency, and rightly so. Given that they both have the same end goal of securing candidates a job, the lines between them can often blur and leave you frustrated about how to get the most out of each of them. 

Knowing the difference between the two will make applying for graduate jobs a whole lot easier, and should help you understand who is the best port of call for all of your graduate job needs, from CV advice to updates on your application. 


What's the difference? 

Recruitment Agency 

Recruitment agencies work closely with employers to help find the best candidates for their roles. They're often specialists in a particular field, for example Energize fill roles in the Digital and Technology industries and Maxxima specialise in Healthcare. 

In most cases, the main steps carried out by a recruitment agency are as follows: you submit a CV for a job (or in some cases, you can be headhunted for a role you're particularly suited to), you meet with a Recruitment Consultant if your CV is successful for some pre-interview preparation, you're interviewed, then you'll be provided with a debrief and feedback from your Consultant following the interview. 

In sum, a recruitment agency takes you all the way from finding a job to (hopefully) securing it. 

Jobs Board 

A jobs board advertises jobs on behalf of employers. They can be general boards advertising a range of jobs or more specific - at GradTouch, for example, all the opportunities advertised are specific to students and recent graduates. 

When you sign up you'll receive tailored alerts and emails when jobs that might interest you become live. If you want to apply for a role you can do it through the jobs board - on clicking 'apply' you'll either be directed to an application page on their website, or to one on the company's website.

The key difference between a recruitment agency and jobs board is that once you've applied for the role through a jobs board, everything involving the application and interview process is the responsibility of the company that you're applying for. Therefore, unlike with a recruitment agency where you'd ask a Consultant, if you want an update on your application you should contact the company directly. 


How can each one help you? 

Ultimately, both recruitment agencies and jobs boards want to place you in a role that you'll enjoy and excel in, and provide you with all the tools you need to secure that job. However, they fulfil this mission in slightly different ways. 

Recruitment Agency 

A good recruitment agency will be with you every step of the way. You'll often be paired with an expert Consultant who can provide you with information about the company, help you prepare for an interview, answer any questions you might have about the role and offer feedback and guidance after your interview.

Although recruiters will do a lot of the work for you, the flip side of this means you're dependent on them to divulge all the information you want to know. A good recruiter will do this, but it's not necessarily always the case.  

By signing up to a recruitment agency you'll also often benefit from being directed towards jobs that are specifically suitable to you based on your skill-set and experience. There's also the option to ring a recruiter to enquire about what roles are available and gain some advice about what jobs might suit you.

If your application is unsuccessful for a job, recruitment agencies often keep your CV on file for when any similar jobs arise that you're suitable for. It's also important to note that a recruitment agency has no say in who the company hires. 

Jobs Board 

Jobs boards also have no input in who gets the job, however we do have close connections with the companies you're applying for and aim to provide you with as much information about them as possible so you can browse them freely. 

Here at GradTouch, we have job and company profiles where you can find more information about who you're applying for, what the role entails and the skills and experience they're looking for from you. We also interview leaders of the company who can offer more insight into what their ideal candidate looks like, and take photos and videos of the office so you know where you'll be spending your time. 

As well as providing information about job roles, we have a range of content on our 'advice' page to help you through all the stages of applying for a job. There's articles on companies hiring now across a range of locations and industriesCV tips, advice on how to prepare for all types of interviews, what to research, how to dress and more - you'll find everything you need to make sure you secure a job. 

You can also message us on Facebook, give us a ring or drop us an email if you need any advice on jobs, interview prep or other tips.


Now you're in the know, are you ready to apply for a job? Check out our website for the latest opportunities.