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Getting the most out of your Recruiter

by Garry Connell

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Many organisations engage recruitment consultants or agencies to source candidates for them. While there is an abundance of recruitment companies out there unfortunately not all of them operate in the same manner. In order for you to get the most out of your experience in meeting with a recruiter to assist you find your next role you might find the following useful:

  1. Be selective – if you are about to enter the market but haven’t yet seen an advertised role that suits you, we suggest you do some initial research about which agency specialises in your area and will consistently have the type of roles you are seeking. Those that work with a large number of organisations in your market place and seem to be as interested in you as they are at just filling a job should be who you approach.
  2. Build a relationship – Once you used the above to select a company (or even a consultant) make contact and send a CV together with your salary expectation and the type of role you are looking for. Consultants are more likely to invest time in being proactive and assisting you if you haven’t already got your CV with everyone all over town. If you’re comfortable with the consultant and agency it’s to your advantage to partner with them and offer an exclusive relationship – at least for a period of time (assuming you can see that they are working for you).
  3. Who has your CV? When meeting the consultant you should have a written list so you can discuss which other recruiters and which other retailers already have your CV. Likewise you should clearly insist ( and get agreement) from every recruiter who has your CV that they will not send or discuss it with any organisation without your specific permission. –  If an agency talks of sending your details to several organisations, ask if they can email you that list so you again you can add to your list and have full knowledge of who has your cv. It makes you and the recruiter look bad when they put you forward to a company and hear that your cv has already been sent by someone else.
  4. Ask, then respect – If interviewing for a specific role ask for feedback at the end of the interview. You may feel you are able to do the job but remember the recruiter is engaged by the client to come up with a maximum of 2 or 3 candidates that can BEST do the role. You don’t know the calibre of who else they are seeing or any experience specifics, cultural traits or previous company preferences the client has given the recruiter. So, if it’s a no, don’t argue, accept and respect it and explore other roles which may suit you better. If they do bounce other opportunities with you, take it as a compliment. Even if it doesn’t match exactly what you think you’re looking for some lateral thinking may take you in a fantastic new direction.
  5. Agree an action plan – So at the end of the interview, pending what was discussed agree an action plan:
    1. If the recruiter talked about sending your CV to other organisations (even though they have no job listing) confirm that they do have a relationship with that company and then ask them to email you the company names and when they hope to make contact.
    2. If you were unsuccessful for the role and they have nothing else for you, confirm that it’s ok for you to follow up with a phone call or email in say 2 – 3 weeks.
    3. If you are still in the running for the role you’ve just interviewed for, confirm that you should follow up within a week and see if you made the shortlist.
    4. If you’re told you’re on the shortlist agree what happens next and what preparation you should do before the interview.
  6. Next steps –By now you should be building a relationship that includes mutual trust and loyalty. If you’re on a shortlist, keep the recruiter informed about what other opportunities you’re close to, as in terms of timing they may be able to bring forward or delay your client meeting to allow you maximum choice. If you have questions or doubts, speak openly with the recruiter who may confirm or dispel your thoughts into facts.
  7. Keep in touch – A busy recruiter may be juggling over 100 candidates at any one time. To get the best out of your recruiter be proactive! Ring asap after you’ve met the client. Ring after you’ve resigned. Ring if you haven’t heard and were expecting a call (there may be no news to tell, but you’re welcome to ask). Make contact in 2 – 3 weeks as agreed. Also sign up for blogs, linked in or other or social media posts if available.
  8. Managing expectations – Every recruiter would love to place 100% of their candidates, but of course this isn’t impossible.  We can’t make jobs we don’t have, so if you don’t hear from us, it probably means we’ve got no news (or new opportunities). As mentioned if you’re that concerned about the lack of follow up, be proactive and actually manage your job search by making the contact.
  9. Finally – If you enjoyed your experience please mention it to colleagues and tell them to mention your name if they make contact with the recruiter. If you get a role through another means, please let the consultant know so that they can update your details and follow your success. A good consultant is likely to be around for many years to come and even if they couldn’t help you this time, they may place you in your next role or even the one after that.