As a job seeker it can often be confusing and frustrating when it comes to using external agencies. So how do you go about selecting the right agency to partner with, when it comes to making your next career move.
1. Setting benchmarks
Firstly, you need to know that your recruiter is going to add value to your job search. From the outset they should be honest and upfront with you, establishing a benchmark for what roles will be of interest and how best to submit your CV.
2. The bad as well as the good
Whilst some recruiters can shy away from delivering negative feedback, to the point that you never hear from them again – the sign of a good recruiter are those that are willing to discuss negative comments as well as the good. Good recruiters understand the importance of learning from past mistakes and will be invested in helping you to improve your application skills so that you don’t continue to repeat them.
3. Nothing wrong with a past
If you have identified a company that you would consider working for, you should try to establish if your recruiter has successfully placed people with them previously. Past success with the company in question will be useful in establishing if your recruiter has some influence and the right connections to make sure your application will make it to the right people within the organisation.
4. No gaps, please
Recruiter history with a company, is particularly important when it comes to filling in the gaps in your knowledge and research. We all know that competition can be fierce on the job market, and that researching a company ahead of your interview is paramount in showing competitive advantage, but a good recruiter who has a solid relationship with their client should be about to furnish you with useful information and insights into the company that go beyond what is mentioned on their website. This will include the cultural makeup of the company, along with information on the types of people they hire.
5. Who needs a job description?
Whilst a job description is useful in identifying some of the skills needed for a role, they often do not allow for individual personalities that might be able to offer more than just technical skills, and end up just looking like a shopping list. A good recruiter will have already established a relationship with key players within an organisation, to the extent that they will know what personalities will get on well, and those that will clash. Plus they would have taken the time to understand the cultural set up and the company motivation factors for hiring.
6. Been there, got the T-shirt
Whilst your recruiter does not have to know everyone personally within an organisation, it is helpful if they have been on-site, or at least to one of the company sites. It is amazing how much you can learn from an organisation by observation, such as how the teams interact and the company ethos, which again cannot be learnt from a job description or website.
7. A recruiter is for life
If you are fortunate enough to land that dream job, it can often be the case that you never hear from the recruiter beyond the first three months of employment. However, good recruiters are those that are interested in your long term aspirations and will continue to support you beyond the initial honeymoon period.
Spare a thought
Whilst job hunting can be all consuming, please spare a thought for your recruiter. It can be easy to shoot them down in flames when they don’t provide feedback immediately, or fail to find you, your next placement, but more often than not your recruiter is putting in a lot of effort behind the scenes for very little recognition;
- So, if you recruiter maintains contact with you – despite not giving you feedback on your application, the chances are they have not received feedback from the company in question.
- If, your recruiter manages to secure you lots of interviews, that do not go beyond the first stage, have you been really honest about your level of skills.
- If you fail to show up for an interview without a justifiable reason, consider what your recruiter might have been through to get you to interview stage in the first place.
- If you are inconsistent with your salary or job expectations, consider how this might jeopardise the recruiters relationship with their client.