Working with recruiters to improve your job search

Working with recruiters we are hiring sign

When you’re looking for a new job, working with recruiters can be a great help to your search. Whether you want to find a part time summer job, temp role or full time permanent position, one of the best resources you can take advantage of is a recruitment agency.

If you’re not sure how they actually work, here’s a quick guide to recruitment agencies and some tips to help you maximise your relationships with recruitment consultants.

The role of a recruiter

When an employer (the client) needs to find a new member of staff, they hire one or more recruiters to find candidates for a role.

A recruiter’s role is to match suitable candidates to job opportunities on behalf of employers. When a company has position to fill, they will:

  • Search their database to find matching candidates
  • Post the job online, usually on their agency’s website and a job search board, to encourage applicants with the right skills to apply.

They screen and assess applicants for vacancies, supplying the employer with a shortlist of the strongest candidates to interview. They usually arrange the interviews, and manage job offers and package negotiations on behalf of their client.

Clients typically pay recruiters a fee if they hire their candidate. You should never be charged to use a recruitment agency.

The different types of recruiters

There are generalist recruitment firms and those specialising in a particular field, providing a wide range of jobs. The job you want and the industry you work in will influence which type of recruiter you approach. You can find them in your area by doing an internet search, or looking on online job search boards such as Seek.

You don’t need to limit yourself to just the one agency. If there’s one that specialises in your industry, you can contact them and also a couple of others that may cover multiple industries.

Some recruiters only operate at the executive end of the market – they’re known as executive search consultants or ‘headhunters’. They fill positions with salary packages of $150,000+. Unless you fit their candidate base profile, they most likely will not be interested in you.

Is an outplacement consultant the same as a recruiter?

No. Companies like Glide Outplacement support employees after redundancy. They help people cope with change, search for opportunities, write effective resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, network and other career transition activities. Recruiters search, identify and hire candidates to fill specific job openings. We do however provide access to HR and recruitment contacts.

The benefits of working with a recruiter

  • A recruiter can save you time when job searching. They act as the middle-man between you and the employer, sending in your resume and putting you forward for an interview, and helping you get started if you accept an offer.
  • Drawing on their industry knowledge, they can put you forward for opportunities with an organisation that best suits you, promoting your strengths and expertise to employers. It’s in their best interest to make sure they find a role that’s right for you.
  • Not all vacancies are advertised. Recruiters know about roles through their networks and relationships with employers, helping you access hidden opportunities and recommending you for positions that you wouldn’t otherwise have heard about.
  • A recruiter can tell you what it’s like to work at the organisation you’re applying for and, if you’re selected for interview, the type of interview questions they are likely to ask and what questions to ask to impress the hiring manager.
  • If you don’t get an offer after interviewing, you can often get feedback from them about why the company didn’t select you.
  • Finally, they can also assist in negotiating a remuneration package acceptable to you and your future employer – without jeopardising the job offer.

How to choose the right one

Selecting the right recruiter for your needs will often depend on ‘chemistry’. Sometimes you will click with a recruiter, sometimes you won’t. You may need to meet a few to find one you feel comfortable working with.

Choose one you can trust. You are relying on them to effectively promote you to potential companies. You also want to be sure your current employer will not find out you are looking for a new job.

Can recruiters offer career advice?

Recruiters can provide information about job opportunities, where your skills are most suited and the salary you can expect from a new role. They can also give you feedback on your resume format and interview technique.

They should have in depth knowledge of your industry, the employment market and who’s hiring. Use their knowledge and experience to discover what employers look for in candidates and whether your qualifications and skills are relevant to particular roles.

If you need more in-depth advice about your career direction, you should consider working with a career coach.

How to join a recruitment agency

You can apply to join an agency either in response to a vacancy they’ve posted online, or to contact them directly. Usually you will need to provide your (up to date) resume and fill in some forms about your skills, qualifications and experience, as well as the type of role you’re looking for and when you can start a new job (your availability). They will probably ask you to come into their office to have an interview with them.

When you introduce yourself to the consultant, be clear about what you are looking for and ask for their advice. Develop an elevator pitch – this is your chance to explain to recruiters and potential employers what you have to offer in just 30 seconds.

You should take a professional approach to any meetings or conversations you have. It’s important to make a good impression. You’ll be representing their agency to the employer if you’re shortlisted for an interview.

Get the most out of working with recruiters and maximise the relationship

There are a number of things you can do to maximise your relationship with recruitment consultants.

  1. Prepare for your meeting with recruiters. If you’re not sure what type of job you want, they’ll think you’re difficult to place and will be reluctant to put you forward for roles.
  2. Convince them you are worth working with. Focus on what experience and skills you bring and the kind of opportunities to which you can contribute. The better they understand you, the more likely they’ll be able to help you find the right job.
  3. Be upfront and honest about what type of role (and salary) you want. This avoids any misunderstandings. If a position doesn’t interest you, let them know – only attend an interview if the job’s suitable.
  4. After meeting the recruiter, keep in touch. Recruiters meet many people, so don’t rely on them to remember you. Contact them about once a month to let them know you’re still looking for a role. They’re then more likely to think of you if a suitable position arises. If you see them advertising a job that interests you, call them about it.

Keep your options open

Don’t rely on recruiters alone. Keep an eye on job search websites and try contacting companies directly.