Recruiters will provide the guidance needed for travelling into a new job. But how can you ensure you're getting the most out of the service? Ruth Salamon offers her top seven tips for ensuring you get the most out of your recruiter.
Know the benefits of a recruiter
A good recruiter knows industry trends, market salary levels, which companies are growing and which ones are struggling - unique insight gained from years of working directly with firms and their managers.
Understanding how to navigate the do's and don'ts of working with recruiters can help you get the most out of your recruiter relationship, and, ultimately, lead to a great job and improved career opportunities.
Use multiple agencies
You should keep it to two or three at the most, otherwise you'll saturate the market. When you have multiple recruiters representing you to the same client, it is a sticky situation for everyone involved and makes you look desperate and careless.
Candidates must be honest about all aspects of their professional background. The more clearly you break down the job you're looking for, the easier it will be for a recruiter to relate you to it. Recruiters encounter many jobs each week and the first thing that enters their mind is "Who do I know that would be a good fit for this one?" So, if the right job does open up and they don't have a clear understanding of what you want, it won't be your name that they remember.
Keep a detailed record
To avoid wasting time during your search, you should provide a list of employers who have received your CV within the last year, and the outcome, because in most circumstances these employers will be off-limits to your recruiter.
An employer must deal with the first agency in time, so if someone else has put you forward to a firm in the last 12 months, irrespective of the role, the employer will need to deal with that agency.
Some agencies ask you not to divulge where your CV has been sent, however this only prevents you from dealing effectively with other recruiters because many won't brief you on roles until you have told them where you've already applied to - it shows a lack of trust, and forces a consultant to divulge the identify of their client without reciprocal disclosure.
Is it an active or speculative opportunity?
A good consultant will ask detailed questions about you and your experience and they should have an in-depth knowledge of the role you applied for and the company, so they can answer questions about the responsibilities of the role, the person you'll report to and the company's culture. Be wary of recruiters who do not ask thoughtful questions; it may be a sign that they don't understand your needs.
Be cautious if the consultant doesn't know much about the role - either they haven't been briefed on the role and have come about the information indirectly, or there isn't a real position available and the consultant is just hoping to accidentally come by one. There is nothing wrong with taking a speculative approach - especially if you work in a highly specialised area of law where opportunities are limited - however the recruiter should advise you of this so you can work together to decide who to approach.
Recruiters should then help you prepare for interviews by telling you how to stand out, what traps to avoid, which experiences and skills to highlight, and how to market yourself and your unique attributes.
You control your recruitment process
Agencies CANNOT forward your CV without your express consent. Don't allow a consultant to send your CV out randomly to lots of organisations in the hope that someone will like the look of it.
There's a danger that it may go somewhere you don't want it to, or, worse, it may go to an ideal organisation but from multiple agencies and this may lead to your resume being automatically discounted without any consideration.
Consent is required for EVERY opportunity. Just because you've previously consented to roles, doesn't mean that your consent has been given unreservedly.
If a consultant doesn't comply, you have every right to withdraw your consent to their representation of you in relation to future applications and any applications already on foot. No employer will want to force you to work with an agency that you're unhappy with, so this won't jeopardise your chances.
Don't go around a recruiter to their client
This is a sure way to get blacklisted, and it almost never works in your favour. If a client faces a dilemma as to who to deal with in relation to a candidate, sometimes the simplest solution is to remove you from consideration.
Ruth Salamon is the Sydney branch manager for Laurence Simons