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Working With Recruitment Agencies

Recruitment-Strategies1Searching for a job is never easy. The basic process requires strategy, patience and a whole lot of attention to detail.  In addition to a fantastic CV, you must manage your online perception and reputation. Add to this the sometimes necessity of working with a recruiting agent who is representing the hiring company and the whole process can become even more complicated.

People tend to think the recruiter gets in the way, an unnecessary third party involved in a process between a job seeker and the Hirer.  Here are some truths about recruiters:

Who They Work for?

Perhaps the most common misunderstanding about the work of recruiters pertains to who they work for.  Recruiters are duty-bound to the organisation that is seeking to fill a role.  This is particularly true for retained executive recruiters. They get hired by Company A to fill a particular position and hence are contracted to find the best and most suitable candidates who meet the specific criteria set out for the search.

This is not to say they are not always in the market to receive CVs and talk to new people. It just means that, as a job seeker, your expectations should not be that the recruiter will make a special effort to search for an opportunity on your behalf.

Who They Will Help

It’s important to understand that the Company A (who has hired the recruiter) has provided the details of the person they are looking for.  In essence, they have described the ‘round hole’ they want filled.  The recruiter’s job is to find a matching ‘round peg’ to fit.  If you show up, but show that you are a little bit round, but are also a bit square - you don’t fit and therefore are no longer of interest to the recruiter for this position.  You are then unlikely to hear back from the recruiter about this role again.  That’s not to say they won’t talk to you about another role that they think will fit (if it’s on their immediate radar).

It is vital to remember that while the recruiter is engaged by their client, their goal is to fill the vacancy.  So if you match their requirement, they will be your new best friend in helping you succeed in the selection process.

Salary Sensitivities

Traditionally the best rule of thumb is to defer any discussion of salary until we are well into the interview process. This is not so much the case when working with recruiters. Think about how much time can be wasted if there is no possibility of alignment on this very important aspect of the job.

A recruiter will typically ask for these details in the first or second phone call.  No, they are not trying to pry.  This is an innocuous question to determine whether your desired future salary is in the same "ballpark" as the potential for the position in question. This question should not make you squirm. Be prepared with facts and future expectations and try to remove the emotion. This information is for practical purposes and should always be kept confidential.

Returning phone calls

Even if you don't have an interest in the position they are recruiting for, it can be a mistake not to return the call or email. Building a relationship with a recruiter, particularly one that works in your field or industry can yield long term benefits. You never know when you will next be in the job market and when you’re desperate to get a job, then is not the time to start establishing recruiter relationships. The most astute and experienced candidates take the call and try to suggest a candidate or two. At the very least, many claim that this is a good way to learn about what is going on in their industry.

Choose your recruiter

It is impractical to attempt to send your CV to every recruiter that potentially works in your area of expertise.  The last thing you want is for your CV to be presented to a company by more than one recruiter.  The message this sends to an employer is that you can’t manage your own career planning.

Respect the process and where possible, match their need and they will be very useful to your job search process.

For assistance in dealing with recruiters, please call us on 1300 366 104, or

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