“Are you going through a recruitment agency?”

Your friend works at a software company and needs to hire a programmer. She's been searching for someone for a few months, but hasn't found any qualified people. You want to know how she's been looking for candidates, so you ask this.

Are you going through a recruitment agency?

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go through (a person or agency)

When you want to do something, but you can't do it yourself, you "go through" another person or organization. Here are some examples of situations where that happens:

  • You go through an employment agency to get a job.
  • You go through a recruitment agency to hire someone for a job.
  • You go through a travel agent to buy a plane ticket.
  • You go through a website to buy things online.

a (type of) agency

An "agency" is a company that comes between a business and its customers. Customers go to the agency, which manages products and services from lots of different sources. Common examples are:

  • real estate agencies
  • ad (or "advertisement") agencies
  • modeling agencies
  • talent agencies (for actors, singers, etc.)

There's another meaning of "agency" as well, which is a government agency. A government agency is a group within the government that's responsible for one specific set of jobs. Well-known agencies in the United States include:

  • The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
  • The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)