“I didn’t hear back from them.” “They were trying to force me into jobs that I didn’t want.” “They didn’t listen.” All of these are common complaints laid at recruitment agencies and recruitment consultants which leads to the bad image that agencies can get, and sometimes they are more than justified.
Like any job, there are good consultants and agencies, and there are bad ones in equal measures, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid agencies all together. In fact, recruitment agencies can be the biggest asset to your career development; opening new doors and aiding you in finding the best jobs. Here are our five top tips for making sure you get the best out a recruiter, giving you the best chance to find the job you’ve been dreaming of.
Not all agencies are created the same
Like anything, it pays to shop around. In a country and a market where there are a finite number of companies, the biggest mistake someone can make is going out to too many agencies. Whilst it might seem intuitive that multiple agencies equal multiple job opportunities (this is true to some extend), often it can lead to the opposite. More often than not we will see that a company has been sent the same CV by upwards of 10 different agencies, and as a result it is often that candidate that suffers. How to overcome this issue? Choose simply just one or two recruiters to represent you in the market; ones who have your best interests in mind.
When it comes to recruitment agencies there are two types; generalist and specialists. The former hires across multiple markets, whilst the latter, well, does what it says and specialises in one or two areas. The same is for recruiters, so look into this before approaching an agency. All (good) recruitment consultants should be on LinkedIn so look them up; find out what areas and types of jobs they specialise in and find the one that suits you best.
Choose the right time
We all know how frustrating it can be when you’re desperately applying for jobs and not getting shortlisted or not even getting a reply at all. Ask any recruitment consultant and they will tell you it is not uncommon for them to have a job advert out and have over 100 responses. So how do you make this work for you?
Approach at the right time in your career. Recruiters can’t make jobs appear out of thin air, but what they can do is tell you when that ‘perfect’ job becomes available, so approach them when you’re not looking, or simply just curious, or planning to make a move over the following six months. Any recruitment consultant will be more than happy to take the time out to meet with you for an hour, even if it’s just over a coffee, and this will truly allow them to get to know you and what your perfect job is – this leads to our next point.
Map the market
If it’s frustrating that a recruiter is calling you with jobs that aren’t relevant, then be proactive. Recruiters are salespeople, it’s what they’re good at. So if you’ve got specific companies that you would really like to work for, then tell them. More often than not they will know the right people to talk to in a company and so can approach them for you, telling them your skills and experience and trying to generate an opportunity for you. In the same way, tell them if there are any adverts currently being posted by companies that you like the look of; recruiters have relationships with hiring managers, and this can lead to you being at the front of the queue for these adverts.
Ask what other services they can provide
Good recruitment consultants aren’t just about finding jobs, they can also be a wealth of knowledge, so use them. Whether it’s advice about making your CV as good as it could be, cover letter stand out amongst the crowd, or LinkedIn look professional, ask and they should be able to help. They can also give you an insight into salary and hiring trends in the market, give advice on how to ask for pay rises, or talk you through handing in your notice. If you’ve got a question about employment, ask them.
One of the biggest frustrations from a candidate’s point of view can be not getting hold of your recruiter. A good recruiter is always busy, whether it’s interviewing other potential candidates on the phone or face-to-face, or out meeting current and prospective clients, so be flexible. It’s no longer considered ‘not professional’ to text, so send a message to your recruiter asking for an update or arrange a specific time to talk.