Recruitment Agencies – the Ins and Outs

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18:  Job seekers line-up ...

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Most final year students will be thinking about life beyond university, as the following weeks spell the last of exams and freedom. Casting your job seeking net to span across different mediums (covering letters, CVs, speculative emails, phone calls, etc.) is a good idea, yet you can improve your chances of finding employment further by speaking to a recruitment agency. Although many are tarred with a bad reputation, if you do your research, you could come across a work gold mine.

What’s your dream industry?

When seeking a recruitment agency’s help, you should focus on what industry or sectors you are interested in, if any. Some recruitment agencies are best known for holding entry-level positions in a particular field, whereas others have a larger selection of work on offer. Even if you are pretty confident you want to work in a specific industry, it might be wise to think of a couple of others in case your dream sector has suffered a few job cuts.


Big or small: what sort of recruitment agency is right for you?

Recruitment agencies come in all shapes and sizes – you can get sector-specific agencies, large, all-encompassing recruitment consultancies or smaller, more personal ensembles. It’s important you choose what’s right for you – whereas you might see more jobs at a larger agency, there will also be more competition for the roles and consultants will be overloaded with CVs, meaning there might be little communication between the recruiter and yourself. Smaller agencies will have less on their books, however, they will be able to tell you there and then if they can help you or push you for a role.

Multiple sign-ups or just a handful?

Choosing to sign-up to a variety of recruitment agencies can work in your favour, however, you risk losing track of what jobs you’ve applied for/where you have sent your CV. It’s a good idea to keep a notebook of all the websites you’ve signed up to and who you’ve spoken to in the past, to be able to cross-reference any calls you may have or even find out whether that particular recruitment agency has been useful for you over the past few weeks.

Liaising with your recruitment consultant

Generally, you will be allocated a consultant, should your CV be of interest to the agency. As such, you should make a good impression on them but also be as honest as possible regarding your career plan, what makes you tick and what you wouldn’t want to do at work. To have a career strategy and to share it with your consultant means you can both find common ground. You can also go over your CV and interview technique with the consultants, so as to make sure you’ve covered all your bases to give you the edge and confidence you need to pull it off.

Staying on the radar

You might prove successful in your job search in a matter of weeks or it may take a little longer to get the right job for you. Either way, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with your consultant and recruitment agency for future reference – they may have a job that could be of interest to you in a few months time or, if your current job isn’t as exciting as you wanted it to be, you would have the possibility of speaking to them about opportunities.



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