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Career Advice

Getting the most out of a recruitment agency as a job seeker

Dear Job-seeker, 

Getting the most from the recruitment agency you decide to use is often not a simple process. With the market place saturated with good candidates, and not too many jobs, please find below our ‘insiders guide’ to getting the most out of your recruitment agency experience! Please report back, any conflicting stories you have to the below….

Yours Faithfully 

Insider X

Don’t Waste your own Time…

  • Don’t apply for jobs you realistically do not match to, or have the experience for. Don’t complain afterwards that you don’t get shortlisted for a role.
  • Don’t ‘expect’ to be put forward for jobs; this is not a job centre!
  • Expect to have to explain yourself, your career and your education background.
  • Don’t exaggerate employment dates, or your job titles on your CV. You generally get found out!
  • Don’t send your CV and then call 1 minute later. If you do get called back immediately after your CV is sent, they are definitely interested.
  • Don’t waste your time if a recruitment agency does not call you back after you have sent your CV, it generally means you are no immediate ‘use’.
  • However do resend your CV again, just in case you were ‘missed’ the first time and call for advice, rather than to ‘give off’.
  • If you are not getting anywhere, or not getting a good service, look elsewhere. You do not have to be with just one agency.

Don’t Waste their Time…

  • As above, don’t apply for jobs you realistically do not match to, or have the experience for. Don’t complain afterwards that you don’t get shortlisted for a role!!
  • Don’t call Mid morning or Mid afternoon, chances are they wont be free to take your call, as they will be in core business sales time!!
  • Call a Consultant back asap, if they call you, mid morning or mid afternoon as it generally means they have something important to update you on, otherwise they would be doing sales!!
  • Don’t apply for a job, that you ‘might’ be interested in, unless you are willing to actually go through with it.
  • Have courtesy to call the recruitment agency, if you have second thoughts and decide you are no longer interested in a potential job.
  • Do not just not turn up for a job interview. This is one of the worst things you can do. A good consultant, never forgets, and you will be ‘blacklisted’. Have courtesy and cancel and explain why you are cancelling.
  • Don’t stalk your consultant and ask unrelated questions, as if they are a social worker!

It’s a two way thing…

  • Build a good relationship between you and the recruitment agency that you are working with. Expect respect and care in return. If this is not given, look elsewhere.
  • Don’t be rude. Yes, there are some bad agencies and consultants, but don’t tell an agency how to do their job! You would not expect it if you worked in a bank and someone told you have to count cash!
  • If they do find you a job, don’t take it for granted. In this market, the getting you a job and subsequently billing a client for their work, may just about keep them in a job. Respect how tough the industry must be right now, and also appreciate that Recruitment Consultants cannot generally create jobs, they just help to fill them. Therefore, if they have no immediate roles to talk to you about, understand they cannot magic them out of economically thin air!
  • Be nice, but don’t be a mouse! Sometimes if a candidate is rude, cocky, and has a bad attitude, a consultant might decide they cannot send someone forward for a job, in fear that thy will represent the recruitment agency badly, even if their CV is a perfect match for a job! Remember, its not just your CV that can let you down sometimes! However if you feel the service you are getting from the agency is really bad, then say, and don’t be afraid to ask why things are not going well. Don’t waste your time with bad service, complain (politely) and move on….

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3 Responses to “Getting the most out of a recruitment agency as a job seeker”

  1. As an HR professional these are things that we take for granted – however what about how we are treated? We are unique in the marketplace as we are on the coal face as clients of agencies when we are in work – yet are treated appallingly by so called specialist recruiters when we are not.
    I and all of my contacts on LinkedIn would never seek to waste anyone’s time in applying for something for which we were not suited – I am not applying for finance or IT roles – just HR and generally those roles I and others could do with our hands tied behind our backs. However not even to get any feedback after interviews is desperately bad practice in my view.

    Posted by Anya Taylor | October 7, 2011, 1:44 pm
    • I agree completely with the above, Anya. I think the higher up you go and the more specialist you become in terms of your career background, the less suitable candidates there are. Therefore out of courtesy a response or feedback should be given as its not like a consultant is trying to manage the expectations or 100’s of applications…

      The harder the job market has come however, the more unrealistic some candidates have become in applying for every type of job going; ie a graduate applying for a HR officer role that requires experience…At the same time that person may then go on to complain that they have applied for 75 jobs and not been shortlisted for any!!

      I hope this makes senses…The insider guide was a generic guide for all types of candidate. Thank you for your comments too, its great to have responses coming back in

      Hail the Employable!!

      Posted by theemployable | October 7, 2011, 1:57 pm
  2. I think that the better the relationship you have with the agency, then they can sell you more to a prospective employer based on what they think of you as a persn, in addition to the technical skills that you’ve got to offer…Its like the old adage, people like people

    Posted by Andy Craine | October 12, 2011, 3:26 pm

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