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Tips for working with agencies

Tips for working with agencies

28 Nov 14:00 by Alan Corcoran

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Let’s be totally honest. Recruitment professionals do not have the best reputation out there. They’re sales driven and ‘on-the-take’. They ‘drive you mental’ by either not getting back to you when they say they will or (perhaps worse) badgering you every few hours with so-called opportunities that are nothing like what you’re looking for, right?

Wrong! Like many industries, this is a case of the minority doing their utmost to give the rest of us a bad name. So, how can you avoid those dire experiences and instead work with an agency in a way that’s to your best advantage. Here are our top tips:

1. Exposure

Finding the job you want is often all about the numbers – the more you do the better the result. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean following a soul-destroying process of making endless applications. Instead, focus on making yourself visible in as broad a manner as possible.

So, register with several agencies that are experienced in your specialist area, post your CV on job boards, make online searches yourself, ask agencies for introductions to companies you like the look of and always keep your contact data up-to-date.

2. Build a relationship

When choosing an agency, be sure to meet them personally to get a feel for how you can work together. Remember, your consultant does have a ‘sales’ role so consider how well they ‘sell’ their service to you. If they can do that, that’s a good sign of what they might be able to do to represent you.

The next step in building a relationship is to manage your expectations as a mismatch between expectations and reality is often the primary cause of frustration. So, find out what processes are involved and how long they will take. Establish what kind of communication is expected between you - how often they might contact you and how often they want you to check in with them. Then stick to that schedule!

3. The three Ps

Be proactive, positive and professional!

Respond to calls or emails from your consultant quickly. If it comes at an inconvenient time, try not to get irritated but simply explain how soon you can get back to them.

Confirm any scheduled meetings or interviews and be sure to turn up at the right time! After an interview, call your consultant to give your feedback and find out when you might hear back from the employer.

Show you’re committed to the task at hand by asking your agency for help in any area you need (e.g. CV writing or interview skills). Many agencies will incorporate this as part of their service anyway but being proactive about it will help you stand out from the crowd.

4. Stay focused

This might sound obvious but only apply for vacancies that fit your criteria and where you fit that of the job description. In haste to find or switch jobs, many people make the mistake of applying for anything that vaguely matches one of their key words. To your consultant, this comes across as desperate and unfocused. Worse than that, it’s an approach that’s never going to get you the career move you actually want.

5. Get involved

Get to know your agency more (and ensure they know you better) by getting involved in other ways. Follow them on social media, comment on their status and share their blogs. Providing you don’t take it too far, every time you interact with them like this, you’re making sure your name stays fresh in their mind.

Good luck!