Working with Recruitment Companies effectively!
Let's face it, trying to get a new career
in the current market place can be a difficult, challenging and frustrating
task, with record numbers of unemployment, and dwindling vacancies in many
sectors, where do you turn to for help?
There are 6 basic and well recognised ways
to find a new role, and they are:
Local & National newspaper and
Internet: recruitment sites, CV sites, etc.
Approaching companies direct
Word of mouth, using your own contacts
Whichever one you choose, and more likely
you will choose more than one if not all methods, chances are you are going to
be dealing with the dreaded 'Recruitment Agencies', love them or hate them,
they can be an integral part of the entire recruitment process, and dealing
with them can of course be a challenging and frustrating task also.
Of course as with everything in life
Recruitment Agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and cater to different
market sectors, some are highly professional, friendly and a pleasure to deal with,
So what's the secret, is there a secret??,
well yes and no!, there are some very important points to remember though, if
you use some of them, they should help you through the process and perhaps make
things a little easier to understand, try and put yourself in the recruiters
position, try and understand what they are looking for, what's important and
whether you are a good match or not.
1. Know what you want!
There is nothing more frustrating for a
recruiter than a Candidate who is completely open and doesn't know what they
want, because you can almost guarantee that every time you come up with an idea
it won't be of interest!, so you may well find that if you say to a recruiter
that you are completely open, that they may not have much for you!
So take your time and think about the type
of role you really want, and more to the point the sort of role that you will
be able to gain, always remember your earning potential lies with what you
2. Research the market place
The internet has opened the market place up
so much over the past 10 years, that it is so much easier to find what you need
on the 'information super highway', so don't just look for jobs, look for
specialist agencies, websites, or publications, don't just rely on someone to
do the searching for you, be proactive and think outside the box!
3. Present yourself professionally
I can't emphasize this one enough, an
obvious one you might think, but I still find it amazing that people don't take
the time or effort to present themselves professionally, there can be no excuse
for poor spelling or grammar, if you aren't sure then ask a friend, get it done
professionally, it is not your recruiters job to rewrite your CV, (although
invariably they do!), and please remember CV's should be no more than 2 or 3
pages absolute maximum.
4. Be realistic in your expectations!
When applying for a vacancy, please ensure
that you understand what is being advertised and whether or not your skills and
experience meet the criteria, of course not all vacancies are always as
specific as perhaps they should be, but if a vacancy states what the Candidate
MUST have or what is 'desirable' and you don't have that experience or don't
come close, then you are only opening yourself up for a 'rejection' or worse
still no response. All to often as recruiters we can receive applications for
highly detailed and specific vacancies that don't even come close to matching
the criteria, this of course can be very frustrating, however I always try to
respond to every CV or application I receive, I know that many of my colleagues
don't necessarily do the same, all I can say in their defence is that it can be
very challenging handling the sheer volume of response numbers.
5. Send a brief covering letter and keep in contact
Wherever possible try to send a one or two
paragraph covering letter outlining why you feel you would be suitable for the
role alongside your CV, this may well be a good opportunity to keep point 4
above in mind!, and try to answer any questions that your CV may leave open, if
your CV states that you left your last role 6 months ago, or you live 100 miles
away, then you need to state what you have been doing, or that you are
relocating to the area, Recruiters are busy people, and at times if there are
too many unanswered questions, your CV may end up on the 'maybe' pile as
opposed to the 'contact' pile!
Keep in contact with the recruiter, a brief
call before sending in your details or a call a few days after to chase things
up will keep the recruiter focused on you!, this may sound obvious, but the
fact is the majority of people don't do this, so it will set you out from the
crowd!, try to build a little rapport with the recruiter, make them work for
you, you will be much more likely to get assistance if you are prepared to work
6. Decide who to approach
Coming back to point 2 above, spend time
researching who is worth approaching then pick up the phone and talk to people,
remember that most recruiters will have their own key clients that they work
with on a consistent basis, so at times it can be a case of safety in numbers,
one quick word on CV databases here: there are a number of companies that offer
a facility where you can download your CV and let the recruiters come to you,
and like everything else some of these are good and some bad, the main thing to
remember here is that if you register with some of the bigger companies, you
can and will get a lot of calls from recruiters that may well promise the
earth, and want you to come along and register here there and everywhere, my
advise is simply this, if you are prepared for this to happen then go for it,
but make sure that you speak to everyone that calls you, try to be patient as
someone at some stage may well have the perfect opportunity for you, it could
be the first caller or the twenty first caller!!. Also if you are being asked
to travel a long distance to go and register with an agency, make sure it is
worth your while, always try to ensure that they have a very specific vacancy
they want to discuss with you.
7. Be patient
As mentioned previously Job hunting can be
a frustrating business, and you have to learn from the advice you are being
given, so bearing in mind point 4, if you would like to understand why you have
not been selected for a role that you feel you are a perfect fit for, then ask
the recruiter why you have not been considered, and use the feedback given in a
constructive manner, learn from it and then try to redirect your thinking.
I specialise in Sales & Marketing
recruitment and I often have the same conversation with Candidates, which goes
along the lines of…”well I believe I am a good sales person and a good sales
person can sell anything!”, now where I agree with this (to an extent!), as a
professional recruiter I have to be led by my client, and if my client states
that he needs someone who has experience of selling XYZ widgets, then that is
my brief, and if I send in a CV that doesn't even come close to those XYZ
widgets, then what will the client think of me and my ability to the job?
8. Turn up for your interview if you get one!
OK now this might sound a little crazy, but
I am going to get it off my chest, and all my fellow recruiters out there will
also be agreeing and nodding there heads on this one!, but if you are genuinely
interested in a role and an interview has been set up for you, then GO TO IT!!
As recruiters I can tell you now that one of
our biggest frustrations in life is setting up an interview for a Candidate
that says all the right things and that Candidate then doesn't turn up for the
interview, and guess what it happens all the time! We are now starting to fight
back and the majority of decent recruiters now will have some from of
recruitment software where they can log these events, so guess what if you don't
turn up and don't tell anyone, and then 2 years down the line you are again
looking for a job, and apply for one with the Agency that you let down
previously, don't be surprised if you don't get a reply. I make it a rule never
to deal with anyone who has let me down previously, and have had great
satisfaction in reminding some candidates of exactly what happened and when.
This is of course a very different scenario
from a Candidate that for whatever reason cannot attend an interview, and may
have to rearrange.
9. When you do get an interview prepare for it
Clients like nothing more than a well
prepared Candidate, smart, presentable, confident with an understanding of the
company what they do, and what the role entails, if you are using a recruiter
then there job is to prepare you for the interview, tell you about the people
you will be meeting, what the company does, what the role is, etc. so use there
knowledge and make sure you go in knowing as much as you possibly can. Clients
biggest grievance is often a Candidate that has no preparation at all!, so be
10. Whatever the outcome, learn from it
You may be lucky enough to be offered your
dream job on your first interview, or like most other people you may find that
it takes a little longer, if this is the case, then ask for feedback, and be
prepared to accept whatever is said, don't get down about it, learn from it so
that you can use it positively on your next interview, a good recruiter should
always try to give you advice on this, so use it!, there are plenty of hints
and tips available, so try to use them
Always try and remember that Recruiters
make their income through fee's, so it's in their interest to get you the job!,
but also bear in mind that if they don't feel you are suitable, they are
probably right! Most recruiters tend to be lead by the clients as they are the
ones paying the bills!, so they will be lead by what the client needs, not
unfortunately what the Candidate wants, but also remember that most recruiters
will have their own pet clients and vacancies that others don't have, so it may
well be worth registering with a number of Agencies, and ensuring that you keep
in regular contact with them, make sure that you stay in their focus!!
I hope these points will help you in some
way, and you can use them to your advantage, I wish you the best of luck in
finding your next role and for the future, thank you for taking the time to
read this article.
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