Thanks for joining us again as we approach the conclusion of our 10 Top Tips for your Career in 2013. Hopefully you've found the advice we've been sharing of use and more importantly, hope you've put some of it in to action! Today we're talking about the best ways of working with recruitment agencies - we've got 8 tips (couldn't quite stretch this to 10...)
1. Find recruitment businesses that you feel you can work with There are thousands of recruitment businesses out there and arguably hundreds that will work in your specialist area (or at least claim to). Make sure that you're dealing with companies that speak your language. Overtly 'salesy' copy on websites, faceless companies and generic statements are all warning signs! Recruitment is all about people.
2. Find businesses that have roles that you are interested in and qualified to apply for. Once you've found companies you think you can work with make sure they are genuinely specialists. You can see this from their websites and from the vacancies they handle. Believe it or not, many recruitment agencies will claim to be specialists but do everything...
3. Engage with the recruitment agency Recruitment agencies may work in many different ways however there's one thing that should be consistent across all of them, they want to see relevant applications from strong candidates. So, make the first role you apply for with a recruitment agency one where you have the skills and experience they are looking for. This might sound obvious but don't be tempted just to send a CV in to any role in the hope that they will be automatically considering you for other roles, they may not..
4. Build a relationship Once you've got that initial application in and are in discussions with the agency, ask to come in and see them (if they don't offer first - they should do!). Meeting face to face will cement your experience and, more importantly, your potential with the consultant and should enable them to match you with more opportunities. It also gives you time to talk about your career goals that we discussed in Day 2.
5. Understand how they work and set your expectation levels After your meeting with the recruitment consultant you should have a clear idea of how they work. Do they need you to apply to each role as you see them advertised? Will they inform you of new vacancies based on your criteria as in our 'Jobs Alert'?
6. Put some effort in A relationship is a two-way thing. Believe me, the consultants will be keen to place you - without sounding too mercenary, the recruitment business is paid when they find people jobs and so the consultant is not doing their job if they don't place candidates. There are no prizes for consultants just being busy talking to candidates. So, keep in touch with the consultant, email them directly regarding roles that you believe you are suitable for (not just every role they advertise) and tailor CV's to suit the role - you've got far more chance of getting interviews!
7. Be realistic Your experience and skills will never suit every job. It is pointless applying for everything a recruitment agency advertises just to get on their books. Use the reality check we did on Day 1 to make sure that the requirements of the roles you apply for match the skills and experience you have. Often it's a given that you will have the 'marketing skills' and what really differentiates short-listed candidates from others is the market or sector experience.
8. Follow up, be persistent but don't pester Recruitment Consultants are typically very busy (as are most professionals). It's a job of juggling a number of balls at any one time or plate spinning. Some can be extremely focussed on the short term and are often only given short term goals by their businesses. If they don't have a genuine interest in everyone they meet and are not focussed on people then you might not be contributing to those short term goals. This may cause them not to be as responsive as you'd like. Do follow up on applications, do follow up on CV's they have sent on your behalf and do make yourself as available as possible via your mobile for when they need to speak to you. It's a two way relationship with a number of pressures on both sides - as long as all parties are aware of that then you'll get along swimmingly! For more information take a look at an excerpt from a presentation we did for people at Yorkshire Forward. http://youtu.be/hgbu0MACNT0