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How to Use Recruitment Agencies to Get a New Job Faster

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When looking for another job it really pays to understand the options in terms of how you might find that job.

One thing is for sure the job will not find you!

Simply put, there are two basic options:

1) Seek out a specific employer yourself and make a direct application to an actual vacancy or send a speculative application in case they might have a need for you now or in the future.

2) Get someone else to identify and approach a suitable employer on your behalf and represent you throughout the recruitment process, saving you a lot of time and effort.

If you choose option 2, then this will involve working with what is commonly called a recruitment agency, employment agency or staffing company.

Irrespective of which option you choose, there is a reliance on you being equipped with a competitive CV - so ensure that your CV meets the requirement of enthralling the recipient and being of relevance to their needs.

Let's examine 'recruiters' in more detail

There are basically 2 types, the first is what we call a database recruiter:

The hardest part of recruitment (and the most time-consuming) is finding the right person for the job. Of course a database recruiter does not get paid for this, so they are looking to short-circuit this process by generating 1000's of incoming CVs per week and cherry-picking the low hanging fruit (the 'best' CVs):

There are a couple of things you can do within the process to improve matters:

Search & Select Consultants

The other type of recruiter is more helpful and useful - however they tend to deal with more specialist roles that are harder to fill or more senior positions. These recruiters are called 'search & select consultants' and differ from database recruiters in how they work and how they get paid:

They earn fees that are typically higher and are called 'retained fees' which are paid in 3 parts.

The first part is paid for a search, the second part is paid for interview and the final part is paid the same as a contingency fee (when the job offer is made and the candidate accepts and starts).

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have worked out that irrespective of a job offer a retained fee is paid anyway for the hard and time-consuming parts of the process.

The employer pays this fee, so why should they pay upfront with no guarantee of success? They are paying for expertise and a 'head-hunters' little black book of contacts.

Typically the quality of candidate will be far superior and the consultant will have influence over the whole process and likely mediate the salary offer.

Quite rightly a search & select consultant will pick and choose who they want to work with:

The moral of this story is to talk to them!

The most problematic part of all this is likely to be your CV:

How can you impress recruiters and get a new job faster?

There are a few critical things to consider, if you want to ensure recruiters will promote you to employers:

  1. Your CV must be relevant - look at the skill requirements in the advert and make sure you've included relevant examples of how you added value by using your personal skills.
  2. Your CV must demonstrate your suitability and impress the reader within a mere 30 seconds - if not it won't get read!
  3. You must sell your personal skills and not simply focus on your duties and responsibilities, which are generic and could apply to anyone doing your job.
  4. Champion how you used your skills to add value to your job, what have you achieved (for employer/s) and how have you made a real difference. It doesn't matter how junior or senior you are, you can always add value!
  5. Ensure your CV doesn't end up 8 pages long - nobody will want to read it except you. Aim for a 2-page CV, there is a school of thought that says if you can't say it in 2 pages it isn't worth saying.
  6. Always telephone an agency if you see a job they're advertising that you feel would be perfect for you (where you meet all of the job's requirements), but keep your 'pitch' brief and relevant.
  7. Never waste their time by calling them about jobs where you only meet some of the job's requirements - they're incredibly busy people and if you become a 'nuisance' you can bet that they'll mark you down as a time waster and somebody not to be called.
  8. Be courteous to a recruiter at all times, even if they call you at an inconvenient time (when you're at work), just ask them to call you back at a better time.
  9. Never be late for an interview and always prepare thoroughly for an interview, remember you are representing the agency and if you perform poorly this will reflect badly on them and they won't send your CV to any more employers.
  10. Using recruiters to your advantage is just one of many ways of finding and applying for a job - make sure you build a strategy that incorporates other methods as well to optimise your chances of success.

If you make it easier for recruiters by being responsive to their needs, then they will want to send your CV to employers and will positively encourage an employer to interview you, rather than the other applicants that they represent too.

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