In the second of a new series of articles aimed at helping you improve your working life, Steve Girdler talks about how you can make the most out of your recruitment consultant.
Recruitment agencies are a very efficient way of obtaining a job. Each year, more companies are choosing to outsource the recruitment function to employment agencies. For the candidate it costs nothing to use an agency, and agencies usually have access to more companies than any candidate searching on their own.
Investment in staff is very important for all companies; getting it wrong can be expensive. Good recruitment agencies will look to match the right person to the right job, to ultimately make both parties happy, achieving a win-win situation.
Agencies are split into two main categories – specialist and general. Specialist agencies tend to specialise in certain sectors such as accountancy, scientific and so on. General agencies tend to cover the whole spectrum of skill sets but will usually cater for the clients and candidates in their geographical location.
If you have specialist skills you are better off using an agency dedicated to your field. If, on the other hand, you don’t have specialist skills but are looking for a job in your locality, a local recruitment agency may be more productive.
Both the company and the candidates are clients for recruitment agencies. Therefore getting the right match is in the interests of everyone. Companies approach a recruitment agency with a specific role that they wish to fill. A good recruitment agency will find out as much as possible about the job, the company, the skills and experience that is required for the job. The agency will then decide if they have any candidates who are currently looking for a new job that fit the profile, or when they need to find the best candidate from outside.
The first step in working with a recruitment consultant is to choose your agency. You should ask yourself questions such as: Is there a specialised agency for the job role I want? Is there a local agency that knows my region, town or area well? Should I go to a larger, national agency where they may have a greater range of jobs?
Find out what services they offer and determine whether they are suited to the jobs that you are looking for. Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to one agency since finding a job is a numbers game. Be warned though; don’t go overboard, otherwise managing agencies and the number of interviews can turn into a headache.
Call first to make an appointment and take your CV with you when you go for your first interview. You should dress as if you were going for a job interview – first impressions count for the agency as well as prospective employers.
A recruitment agency can advise you on skills and areas to improve your ‘marketability’ to future employers. They can also find you assignments where you can further your skills and experience, which in turn aids your career. Be honest and listen to any advice they give you about the way in which you market yourself. Take advantage of any training they offer you – it may be free.
You should also interview the agency much in the way that the agency will interview you; find out about its areas of expertise and the opportunities it has to offer and then get a referral so you can check for yourself how they treat people.
Ideally you should keep in regular contact with your consultant in the recruitment agency, as the more familiar the consultant is with you, the more likely it is that they will think of you when the appropriate job comes up. If you have not heard from the recruitment agency for a week, give them a call. It is quite possible that nothing suitable has come up, but it is also possible that they think you are no longer looking for a job as they haven’t heard from you either.
Following these steps is part of the way to get the job that is right for you. Searching for a job with a consultant can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Remember to share as many details as you can and have a clear idea what you are looking for. Adopting this philosophy will mean the right job will come your way.
Steve Girdler is director of marketing at recruitment company Kelly Services UK