If you’re in the market for a new role, chances are you have met or spoken with a recruitment consultant.
In most cases, you will find that your agent will ask you some confronting questions about what organisations or roles you have applied to, or which other recruitment consultants you have met with.
Although these might seem like quite intrusive questions, they are not intended to be. From a practical perspective, a recruitment consultant generally cannot act on your behalf if the firm or organisation already has your CV through another agent or if you have applied directly.
The best strategy is to be honest and to tell the consultant what roles you’ve applied for and what roles you have been speaking about with other agencies.
Where the same employers or roles are mentioned to you the best strategy (if you are happy with both agents and the quality of the brief) and also the proper business etiquette to follow would be to prioritise the first agent and go back through them for any formal application.
Similarly, where your CV has already been formally forwarded to an employer in the last six months, try and avoid any duplication into that firm by multiple agencies regardless of the role type.
In determining whether or not you have a proper brief, always obtain partner or manager names from the agency and a brief description of the role type. A position description would be ideal; however in practice these are not always available. Also ask the agencies how many roles they have placed with the firm in question, group structure and approximate PQE level of the role.
Honesty is also essential if you find yourself in the fortunate position of receiving multiple offers. This can be difficult to manage as some organisations (and some consultants) may place a lot of pressure on you to make a quick decision.
When handling multiple offers, it is vital that you are honest with the organisations making those offers. It is reasonable for you to be exploring multiple opportunities and there is little advantage to be gained from failing to disclose this.
Once you have received an offer in writing, it is generally reasonable for the organisation making the offer to expect a response within three to five business days. Some organisations may place pressure on you to make a decision within a much shorter timeframe, but the worst thing you can possibly do is accept an offer with the intention of backing out.
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