I have always applied for my past and current job in companies with a direct application. For reference, I am currently based in EU.
Recently I've got couple of interesting contacts from a couple of recruiting companies, which are naming themselves as recruiting ones.
The thing is that I am ignorant enough to not understand why some of the positions offered are made with a period of time through them (i.e. 1 year), and only after you will be employed by the real employer. The position I am referring to, is also available as open position from the "real" company, so potentially I could go through that. But I also know that doing everything on my own takes time and effort, and is easy to overlook opportunities.
This also made me think if very well known recruiting companies (like Randstad) are doing the same. And if so, why they are not forwarding the employee? Should I go through them?
EDIT: to avoid confusion, I am referring to recruiting agencies (Randstad), which are not service consulting companies (i.e. Alten).