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:
- 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.
- 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:
- They earn their income from a success only fee often called a contingency fee.
- Success only means that an applicant that was directed to the employer by the recruiter is offered a job and physically starts work, often there is a sliding scale clawback of the fee if this person is sacked or resigns within a certain period.
- This type of recruiter measures their overall success by 'placements' and their daily / weekly activity by the number of first and second interviews their efforts generate.
- They will not be concerned who applies for what job - all they are interested in when they read a CV is 'Can I earn any money from this?'
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):
- They will probably work with only 2% of the incoming CVs, the other 98% will go on their database, which is effectively their waste bin!
- Given all the information above and the shortcoming of the process, it goes without saying that the CV that you use to apply with really has to be top notch - in the top 2% of those they receive.
There are a couple of things you can do within the process to improve matters:
- Try ringing the recruiter that is dealing with the vacancy, introduce yourself and pitch your expertise as suitable for the job (briefly). This way you can email your CV personally as opposed to throwing it in with the 1000's that are sourced via the numerous websites they use.
- It's all about building a rapport or relationship with the recruiter - they may not tell you much over the phone (or even want to meet you) and can be fearful of a competitor agency stealing their job (and potential fee).
- Recruiters need applicants, or candidates as they are called, and a good number of job orders to survive - they always have too many of one or the other!
- If the recruiter remembers you, they're likely to give you a better service and will be more likely to promote you to an employer.
- Whilst chatting to them, it might transpire that there are other jobs suited to you in the pipeline - clearly this knowledge is highly sought after!
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:
- They are not in the business of turning sows ears into silk purses - if they were, they would quickly loose their credibility with employers and therefore the retained fee structure.
- Sadly of course the majority of people looking for a job won't have any dealings with a retained fee consultant, unless they're operating in a harder to fill role or a senior position.
- Some consultants work in a hybrid fashion utilising both methods - generally they will offer a better 'database' service.
The moral of this story is to talk to them!
- Ensure that you set up email reminders from your favourite job sites, so that you won't miss any new vacancies.
- It's quite easy to find a job online these days, but the process has become a lot less personal and this in turn has fuelled a scattergun approach to applications that are a lot less formal and more hit and miss.
- This has turned the process into something that falls short of what was a pre-online way of applying for a new job.
- You have to accept that finding and applying for most vacancies takes minutes and not hours, so don't expect a quality reply from a recruiter!
The most problematic part of all this is likely to be your CV:
- Recruiters are selfish and busy, they will not be sympathetic to your needs or be looking to do you any favours.
- If you can make their job easier, then they will be very happy to represent you and to promote you and your CV to employers.
- Why should I do their job for them I hear you say - well you have a point, but it is far simpler to make sure your CV is perfect for their needs, then no matter who reads it, they will be impressed!
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:
- 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.
- Your CV must demonstrate your suitability and impress the reader within a mere 30 seconds - if not it won't get read!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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