Ten Tips for Working with Recruitment AgenciesJun 24th, 2011 | By Editor | Category: Recruiters
Sometimes, you just need a professional.
When it comes to finding jobs, recruitment agencies are the professionals. Their entire profession is devoted to building knowledge and connections about local companies and the employment market. They develop inside connections to hiring managers that most job seekers don’t know about. At their best, great recruiters understand the real requirements of a job almost better than the hiring managers themselves. Recruiters are the job search professionals, and they can be of great assistance in landing you a new job, whether you are unemployed or looking for a better position.
But it’s not that easy. Not every recruiter is a good recruiter, and recruitment agencies often have some high performers and some, well… not high performers. Most people that have worked with executive recruiting firms or placement agencies have experienced some very mixed results. Recruiters are, after all, paid to make placements. There is a lot of room for dishonesty in recruiting, and unfortunately, many candidates have experienced this frustration first hand.
If you have worked with a recruiter with mixed results in the past, or are thinking about working with a recruiter for a new job search, here are some tips to ensure a successful experience.
Ten Tips for Working with Recruitment Agencies
- Find a great recruiter: The experience and performance of your recruiter matters a lot. New recruiters aren’t necessarily bad, because they might work very hard for you, but performance is what matters. Get some references from friends or colleagues before working with the recruiter, or do some digging on Linkedin.
- Work with a solid recruitment agency: The agency that you work with may actually matter less than the individual recruiter, because the job search process is usually highly individualized and personal. However, make sure you look into the recruiting firm or agency itself. If you’re working with a small, private company, be sure that they have a solid local reputation.
- Judge them on their clients: The value of a recruiter is based off of their connections and knowledge of the local market. Ask the recruiter what clients they work with locally – and double check with other people if you can. A good recruiter should have solid connections with major employers in your area.
- Be honest: Yes, recruiters work mostly for clients and not for the candidates. However, you should still be as honest as possible about your experience so that there are no surprises during an interview. You want to develop a long-term relationship with the recruiter based on trust.
- Go deep: A recruiter has your resume – but do they know you and your goals? Don’t just talk to your recruiter about your background and experience. A good recruiter should want to understand a detailed account of your requirements, goals, and preferences. Talk about the work culture you enjoy, long term career aspirations, and detailed practical requirements to make a switch.
- Money: Be realistic and honest about your monetary expectations. Too often both sides of the recruitment equation are less than honest about salary requirements. The recruiter says a job pays $60-95,000/year… that’s a huge range. Let them know your real number. If you can’t move for less than $75,000, be sure to tell them this and make sure that the recruiter relays that information to their client.
- Be nice: Don’t fault the recruiter for not landing you a job or sending you to a company where the job doesn’t turn out to be an exact fit. Understand that they are usually looking out for your best interests (they want you to get a job and stay there.) To develop a long term partnership, make sure you respect the recruiter and their time.
- Meet them: Recruiters are taught to trust candidates that take the time to meet them. If you are really interested in moving jobs or finding a new job, take the time to have a cup of coffee with the recruiter somewhere or go into the recruitment agency office for a quick interview. Even if you just chit-chat, it’s not a waste of time, but the beginning of a long term business partnership.
- Break the ice: If you sense that the recruiter has a good relationship with the hiring manager, use the recruiter to develop an inside connection with the company. It’s a nice ice-breaker to talk about the person who is representing you at the company – after all, the recruiter is the person you both have in common. Psychologically, people like people who know people they know – strange sentence, but true.
- Tailor your resume and interview: Recruiters often know more about the job than what is available on the web. Talk to the recruiter at length about the job, the hiring manager, and the company. Try to understand what the company really wants – not just what the job description says. If you leverage the personal “inside” information that the recruiter has, you can tailor your resume and interview effectively.
Working with recruitment agencies is often the best way to find a new job, and the right one for you. You want to be sure to pick a great recruiter to start out, develop a long-term, honest relationship with them, and leverage their inside connection to companies in an effective manner. If you follow these steps, you will have a leg up on the other candidates coming in anonymously through job boards or the company website.
Good luck out there!
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