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Let’s face it, most people have had a pretty shoddy experience with recruitment agencies… and not just once. I will be the first to admit that, as in any industry, there are some really poor providers. Recruitment seems to be one of those sectors where the reputation is generally bad and is entirely of its own making. However, there is a growing band of renegade recruiters out there who are striving to improve, innovate, and champion professional practice and change the perception and experience of candidates for the better. If you can find one of these, and work together with them, then you can have a great experience AND find the right role for you.
I have been in recruitment for just over 20 years and it struck me, very early in my career, that agencies and candidates have inadvertently created a vicious circle of distrust, disrespect and poor outcomes for both. In short, many candidates don’t think twice about letting down an agency because they do not feel respected. In turn, many agencies treat candidates with disrespect, in anticipation of being let down, or simply as pound signs. In these instances, the recruitment business aggressively ‘shoe horns’ people into roles with little regards to whether the role, company values, and future prospects match what the candidate is looking for. Or they simply never get back to applicants. With many roles now going out to agency recruiters before general release advertising, you can miss out on dream vacancies that get filled before you ever hear about them.
Here’s 5 top tips about how to engage with a recruiter so they pull out all the stops to find you that perfect position.
1. Find a local independent and/or niche supplier
Smaller, independent agencies and niche specialists tend to have a few advantages over high street generalists. They are often owner-managed and placing you in the right role means much more to their personal success and reputation. Even when you’re not dealing with the business owner themselves, they tend to have a lower turnover of staff and invest more time in training and supporting their team. Often these businesses have been started by people who are unhappy in industry standards, who wish to do things properly, and provide better service levels.
You will also be dealing with people who have a better understanding of their market than generalist recruiters. Most of the larger corporates are also very KPI (key performance indicator) driven and you often become a number. I have recently taken on a member of staff from a well-known high street agency and they were told to send a minimum of four CVs per vacancy. Often two or three were thrown in to ‘make up the numbers’ even if the role was unsuitable for the candidate, and vice versa.
2. Call the agency and arrange an appointment
Meet with the recruiter who will be representing you. Build a relationship. Be open and candid about what you want and need. Make sure you know what you want and need! If you don’t feel comfortable or confident with this individual, find somebody else!
Offer to work with the right recruiter on an exclusive basis for a specified time, for example, a month or so. Agree what you will do for each other. Tell them companies you’d like to work for. A good recruiter will spend time proactively marketing out good candidates if they know their efforts will not be wasted. They are not likely to put the hours in if it is likely you will find yourself something or be placed by another agency in the meantime.
4. Maintain communication
In an ideal world your recruiter will contact you with progress updates and feedback. Agree frequency, and possibly times/dates, for catch up chats. Instigate the call if you don’t hear from your recruiter. Our days can be very reactive at times and an unmade call can often be the result of this rather than a lack of desire, or professionalism, to call you. Candidates who are proactive in this type of partnership also reassure recruiters of their level of commitment to working together and making that career move.
5. Don’t send a PDF version of your CV
Even if a recruiter is not intending on making any material changes to your CV they will want to remove your personal contact details, and possibly the name of your current employer, to protect commercial interests. Some will want to add interviewer notes and bespoke a small sales spiel to increase your chances of securing an interview. Some may simply have noticed a spelling mistake or grammatical error. Not all recruiters are technical whizzes and reformatting from a PDF can be a bitch! In fact, forego any fancy formatting and graphics altogether unless you are a designer or work in the creative industries.
If candidates and recruiters can find better ways to work together it will be a win-win situation. You improve your career prospects, personal and professional development, and life in general. The recruiter makes more placements and can invest more heavily in improving the candidate experience. And everyone is a lot more smiley and happy throughout the process.
If you are seeking a position in Sales, Commercial and Office, Accounts and Finance, or Management/Executive, call 01902 763006 now to see if we’re the sort of people you’d like to work with.
If you want to find an independent or specialist agency in your sector or area try these links: www.jobsatteam.com (homepage - agency search) or www.agencycentral.co.uk.