Looking for a new job? Then you’ll be glad to know that both job vacancies and salaries are on the increase. But the process of finding the right job isn’t always straightforward, which is why many job seekers turn to recruitment agencies.
Professional recruitment consultants offer guidance, advice and industry insights that can really make a difference to your job hunting journey. Read on to discover why it’s worth joining an agency and how you can make the most of your consultant.
The recruitment industry is worth over
to the UK economy.
What Are the Benefits of Registering with a Recruitment Agency?
You’ll save time
Joining a recruitment agency will save you both time and effort, as your consultant will do a lot of the hard work for you. Here’s how it generally works. When an employer tells an agency consultant that they have a role on offer, the consultant will check their database to find candidates with the right mix of skills and experience. If your details come up, you’ll receive a phone call to see if you want your name to be put forward. Some recruitment agencies also post opportunities on their website in order to increase their chances of finding the perfect match.
Once your consultant has added your name to their shortlist of candidates, your CV will be forwarded to the recruiter and you may be invited for an interview. If you’re offered the job, your consultant will handle all the necessary paperwork and liaise with your new employer to make sure that everything is ready in time for your start date. They may even negotiate your salary package for you.
You’ll benefit from their connections
Because recruitment companies have strong relationships with particular employers, they’re often able to access exclusive job opportunities. Choose an experienced consultant and you’ll also find that they have plenty of industry knowledge and an excellent understanding of the local job market.
Once you’ve been offered an interview, your consultant should be able to provide some useful insights into your new employer’s company culture and their usual interview format. It’s worth bearing in mind that you probably won’t know which company you’ve applied to work for until you reach this stage.
You’ll receive practical advice
Your recruitment specialist will be aware of the latest market trends regarding CV layout and structure, so ask them to take a look at your CV and offer you some constructive feedback. They should also help you to optimize your CV by including keywords that feature in specific job adverts and job descriptions.
If you’re offered any interview coaching, we recommend accepting it, as interview techniques change and your consultant will be aware of current trends. For example, video interviews are currently very popular, as they give employers the chance to see candidates’ communication skills in action.
Choosing the Right Recruitment Agency
When it comes to choosing your recruitment agency it’s worth doing your research. Firstly, establish which local agencies have been around for a decent length of time and find out if they specialise in particular markets.
Once you’ve done this, we suggest checking whether the most promising agencies are members of The Recruitment and Employment Confederation or the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). These are the recruitment industry’s main professional bodies.
You’ll also need to decide which type of recruitment agency to approach. There are four main options.
The four kinds of recruitment agencies
The traditional agency
Traditional recruitment agencies only receive their fee when a candidate they recommend is actually hired. Because it’s in their best interests to find you a job, you’ll generally find that consultants offer plenty of support with CVs, cover letters and interviews. Large traditional agencies such as Adecco recruit nationally across a range of sectors, but you should always check that the roles they’re advertising suit your career focus.
The niche recruitment agency
Niche recruitment agencies work with job seekers who specialise in a particular field, such as digital marketing, financial services, education, social care or secretarial work. Consultants working for these agencies will have in-depth knowledge of their specialist sector, so they’ll be able to tell you the best way to gain entry to a particular career. They should also have excellent relationships with relevant companies.
Temporary recruitment agencies
Temporary employment agencies are ideal if you’re looking for short-term, temporary work or contract work. They’re usually looking for staff to cover seasonal demand, employee absence or maternity leave.
Executive search agencies
Executive agencies find candidates for highly paid roles that require an impressive combination of skills, qualifications and industry experience. These recruitment consultancies often provide a service known as “retained recruitment”, which involves the employer paying a non-refundable fee in order to retain a recruitment consultant. Sometimes referred to as “head hunters”, executive recruitment consultants tend to approach high-calibre candidates directly, even if they’re working for the competition!
When you’ve found a recruitment company that ticks all your boxes, you’re ready to take the next step and register with them. Can’t decide between a number of agencies? Resist the temptation to approach more than two simultaneously or you risk being recommended for the same role more than once.
How to Approach an Agency
While some national recruitment agencies have a high street shop front, others conduct their business via their own website or by searching the websites that their target candidates use. It’s pretty straightforward to add your CV to the database of an online agency, but if you’d prefer to sign up with a high street agency it’s best to contact them by phone or send them a cover letter via email.
Once you’ve explained the kind of work you’re looking for you’ll be invited to an informal interview. As well as giving you a chance to discuss your career goals, this face-to-face meeting will enable you to make an excellent first impression, so we recommend making the most of it!
Executive search agencies are a little different, as they’re not generally approached by job seekers. However, there are ways to increase the likelihood of being headhunted. Here’s how:
Before you meet your recruitment consultant you’ll need to spend some time thinking about your past experience, your career aspirations and how you’d like to approach your job hunt. Refresh your CV, make sure that you can discuss your previous roles with confidence and practise answering possible questions, as this will help you to feel comfortable talking about yourself. It’s also worth brushing up on your maths, spelling and IT skills, as you might be asked to complete a couple of short tests.
The First Appointment
It’s essential to come across well in this initial meeting, so you’ll need to wear an outfit that’s formal enough to look like business wear but comfortable enough to feel relaxed in. Make sure that you arrive on time (preferably a little early), show enthusiasm and try to communicate your career goals clearly, as this will increase your chances of receiving relevant job recommendations. Convince your consultant that you’d be a valuable asset and they’ll be more likely to sell your skills with enthusiasm!
Being honest is also crucial so don’t try to hide career breaks, whether they were caused by parental leave, unemployment or long-term illness. If you don’t want to work in a specific area or you’ve enjoyed working with a particular company before, this is your chance to tell your consultant.
Be Proactive and Organised
It’s important to view the relationship between you and your recruitment consultant as a partnership. You’ll need to be proactive, so inform them if a recruiter contacts you, tell them if you’re away and try to respond to calls quickly, as they may be competing with other agencies! Recruiters do spend a lot of time on the phone during office hours, so if your calls aren’t being returned, try ringing before half-past nine in the morning or after half-past four in the afternoon.
We also suggest staying super organised throughout the job search process, particularly if you register with more than one agency. Use a notebook, diary or spreadsheet to keep track of your job applications and you’ll be less likely to apply for the same job twice, which could be embarrassing for you and incredibly annoying for your potential employer!
Going to Interviews
Timekeeping is the number one priority when it comes to making a great first impression at interviews, so always check ahead for any potential parking issues or public transport diversions. On the day, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your local live traffic updates so that you can avoid any long delays.
Of course, there are occasions when you really can’t help being late, so if this happens, simply phone ahead and let your interviewers know. Finally, never agree to go to an interview if you have no intention of turning up. If you don’t attend you’ll damage your consultant’s reputation and ruin your own chances of being offered further opportunities!
If You Don’t Get the Job
It’s never easy losing out on a job you really wanted, but if this happens, keep your composure and try to accept defeat graciously. After you’ve thanked your consultant for arranging the interview, why not take the opportunity to tell them that you’d be interested in similar roles?
You should receive some feedback from the interviewers but if this doesn’t happen, you may need to ask your consultant to chase it up for you. One piece of constructive criticism could make all the difference when it comes to your next interview!
By shining a spotlight on your skills, qualifications and experience, a competent recruitment consultant will boost your chances of finding the job you really want. But what if you’re still considering your career options? Then we highly recommend paying a visit to our blog, where you’ll find a wide variety of in depth and entertaining career guides.