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How to work most effectively with your recruitment agency

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

When it comes to finding your next role, you don’t need to go it alone. In 2017/18, recruiters in the UK placed over 1.1 million people into permanent jobs and also sourced placements for more than one million temporary workers a day. Figures like this prove that recruitment agencies are a great resource. Recruiters and companies often work closely together to find the right Candidates, meaning that they have a big impact on the hiring process. They also have access to exclusive roles, which may not be advertised elsewhere. So, how do you make the most of this when starting your job search via a recruitment agency?

Get to know your recruiter

All recruiters differ, so find someone that you enjoy working with. Build a relationship with them, be respectful of their time, and get to know their preferred ways of communicating in order to get the best out of them. To find the right person, look for recommendations from friends, or people who share contacts with you on LinkedIn. Many recruiters specialise in certain industries, so ask about their experience in your sector, the companies they’ve worked with and their insight into the places you’re applying to. Taking the time to meet recruitment consultants face to face will help you to stay at the top of their agenda, as well as connect on a professional and personal level.

What do recruiters look for?

First and foremost, recruiters want to know that you’re right for the role they’re sourcing for. If they’re convinced that you have the necessary skills and experience for their Client, they’ll be your strongest advocate. So, make sure you’re confident when it comes to speaking about your best qualities. Have your elevator pitch ready and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. To make their job easier, always respond promptly to calls, which shows good communication skills and helps to speed up the recruitment process. In many cases, cultural fit is just as important as qualifications. Go the extra mile in order to prove you’re approachable, easy to talk to and a good listener.

Know your goals

Have you thought about your long-term career goals? Knowing this will help you to find the right recruiter, with experience in your area, and will make it easier for them to identify the opportunities that are best for you. Do you have a company you’d like to work for? Share this with your recruiter and explain why it’s the perfect Company for you. They might have insights about similar companies or cultures elsewhere. If a recruiter suggests a role you’re not sure about, don’t be afraid to say no. Voicing your hesitation will help them to understand what you’re really looking for, as well as saving time later down the line. Above all, stay honest and open. Give recruiters the right information about your career, including accurate information about current salaries and any gaps in your CV so that they can explain these to their Clients.

Remain professional

Recruiters have a reputation to maintain and want to know that the Candidates they send for interview will shine. While your conversations with recruiters may be more informal, you should treat them as pre-interview practice. This means dressing for the part in face to face meetings, as well as making sure that you really sell your CV. Prepare for a conversation with a recruiter in the same way as you would for an interview, researching the opportunity they’re offering so that you can speak knowledgeably on the subject. Demonstrating your interest in the role will stand you in good stead when recruiters speak to Employers. Finally, once you’ve found a good professional agency, trust them to see you through the process. Recruiters have valuable inside knowledge, so have confidence in their ability to chase your application in the right way rather than contacting companies directly.

Ask for advice

Use your recruitment agency wisely to make sure you stay informed throughout, from applying to interviewing and receiving feedback. Although you can get a good idea of different roles from the job description, your agency will have extra background knowledge, such as the reason a company is looking to hire, the team you could be working with and further details on the type of Candidate they need. This is the type of information that you won’t find on the internet, so take the time to ask about the company you’re applying to and why they think you’d be a good fit. Use their position as negotiator to your advantage, to address any specific needs and concerns, as well as to get the best possible offer if you are successfully hired.

What makes Allen Associates stand out?

At Allen Associates, we care about the needs of our Clients and our Candidates, which means the service we deliver is centred around you as an individual. We resolve to keep your best interests at the forefront and work with integrity, honesty and openness. By adhering to this, we’ve built a strong community of Clients and Candidates who value our expertise, coming to us for our opinion time and time again. After over 20 years in business, we have an incredibly strong network of contacts in Oxford and London, as well as an experienced team of consultants who will always take the time to get to know you, in order to match you with the right roles to help your career progress successfully.

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