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Career Advice

Tips for getting the most from a recruitment agency

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the traditional recruitment agency is here to stay. Be it for temporary work, recruitmentcontract positions or permanent roles, recruitment agencies recruit on behalf of organisations for all types of roles and disciplines.

Therefore with this in mind, it’s best to make sure that if you are going to use a recruitment agency to find employment, you are at least prepared for the process that you will most likely have to go through.

Also since many organisations use recruitment agencies to do most, if not all of their recruiting – it’s pretty important stuff to know! Check out our basic tips on what you ought to know:

What type of job / specialism

“I’m looking for a job – any job” might be the reality of the situation, but to a recruitment agency, this is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. With the jobs market being a rather tough nut to crack over the last few years, it’s understandable that some of us just need a job – full stop. However recruitment agencies don’t work like this. To them, it doesn’t matter how good or bad the jobs market is – their primary responsibilities are to recruit for specific roles on behalf of organisations and to match candidates to those organisations’ expectations and requirements. With this in mind and before you actually contact a recruitment agency, work out what first type of job you would like and identify what skills, education and work experience you have that would match to this type of role.

Be realistic

Just because you have a degree in Business Studies, doesn’t mean you are suitable for a job as a Business Manager. toptipsLikewise, if you have 25 years manufacturing / warehouse experience, but want a career change, you have to be realistic that a recruitment agency will not necessarily be able to help.

What expectations you have

Apart from working out the type of job you are looking for, you are also likely to be asked the following types of questions by a recruitment consultant – so think about them in advance, to both save time and prevent wasting time!

  • Are you looking for temporary or permanent work – or both?

  • How far would you be prepared to travel?

  • Do you drive? (You should know the answer to that really!)

  • What type of salary are you looking for?

  • Are there any particular organisations that you would like to work for?

  • What skills and experiences you have that will help a recruitment consultant find you work?

Correct paper work

The reality is that the jobs market is a global jobs market and recruitment agencies work with applicants of all different nationalities. Of course this also means that applicants have various levels of eligibility depending on their nationality. This means that every job applicant needs to be able to prove their eligibility to work in the UK – so be prepared to provide passport / birth certificates / NI number / other ID as appropriate. Every recruitment agency will have their own rules and standards, but be prepared to get as much original documentation together in preparation.

Updated career history

A major mistake that many job applicants make is to create a fab CV and then never update it. The problem with this is firstly it doesn’t make you look that professional, secondly it doesn’t show that you are that committed to the process and thirdly, it can be just a big waste of time, both for you and the recruitment agency – so get your CV up to scratch.


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