Many organizations outsource their recruitment and selection, either fully or in part, to external agencies in a bid to streamline their internal processes and reduce costs. This means that more and more job searchers are securing jobs by using a recruitment agency.

recruiterKnow what you want

Before you approach one of these agencies, there are some key questions you should ask yourself. Answering these questions should give you some clarity.

  • What are the key skills you are selling?
  • What are your unique selling points?
  • Where do you want to work?
  • What distance are you prepared to travel?
  • What type of role are you looking for?
  • What industry or sector interests you?

Choosing a recruitment agency

Be selective. By targeting specific agencies, you are more in control of your job search.

Ask people you know if they have used any agencies before. Are there any they would recommend to you? If you’ve recruited in the past, what agencies did you use? Does your HR department know or use any?

Go online and have a look at the types of roles agencies are advertising, and which sectors and industries they are involved in. Then draw up a list of potential agencies and do some further research – preferably by visiting each of them and getting a face to face meeting.

Meeting agencies

Ask them,

  • How do they operate? Do they have any preferred supplier contracts?
  • Do they specialize or generalize?
  • What processes do they use?
  • What will they do with your CV?
  • Can you proof any amendments they make to your documentation before it goes to a potential employer?
  • What’s their role in the recruitment process?

After visiting each agency, ask yourself:

  • What is your first impression of how they operated and the people there?
  • Is there a good cultural fit between the agency and yourself?
  • Do you like them?
  • Can you work with them?

If you like the answers you got to the questions you asked, then go ahead and register your details.

Using an agency

One of the key benefits of an agency is that they will have their finger on the button in terms of what is happening in the recruitment market. They are useful sources of information on current market conditions and relevant local knowledge. Use this information to help you build up your job search strategy.

Ask them,

  • For feedback on how realistic your expectations are.
  • If they think there are any further qualifications you could gain to help your employability.
  • For some feedback on your CV. What do they think to it? Is there anything missing?
  • What was their first impression of you?
  • Do you have skills that may be transferable into a new market or sector?

Listen carefully to their advice and decide what to take action on.

Managing the ongoing relationship with the agency

Once registered, it is imperative that you manage the ongoing relationship with a recruiter. Adopt an assertive communication style, and ask for regular updates on activity. Ensure your regular follow ups with the agencies you have registered with.

The recruiter also acts as an interface between you and the potential employer. When you are put forward for interview, a good agency should give you a full brief of the prospective employer, the job itself, the interview process, directions and anything else they think relevant.

They should also coordinate feedback from both parties after any interviews, and keep you posted on potential next steps. Once a job offer is made, they can assist you in negotiations.