How to use a recruitment consultancy

    How to use a recruitment consultancy

    Job hunting can be a full-time occupation in itself. Using a
    recruitment agency will help you reduce the time spent searching by
    allowing you to target a large number of organisations in one go.
    With agencies free of charge for the applicant, it is hardly
    surprising that they have become an integral part of the
    job-seeking process. On the downside there are plenty of stories of
    being put forward for the wrong jobs or of telephone calls never
    returned. So to make best use of them you need to decide which ones
    to use and how to manage the relationship.

    Do your homework

    The obvious place to start when choosing an agency is to seek
    recommendations from colleagues in the same line of work.  Jo
    Phillips, domiciliary care operations manager at recruitment agency
    Reliance Care, also suggests looking at websites and national and
    local advertising. “Lots of agencies deal with all social care
    sectors but you need to consider what they are like in your
    sector,” she says. “Find out what sort of jobs they are advertising
    and whether they have a good reputation.”

    What questions to ask

    Ask about the market, how many posts they have in your sector
    and at your level, what salary you should expect and what skills
    you need to take the next step. Also consider where most of the
    jobs are located. Find out about the agency’s client base and what
    contracts it has with organisations – it is a good sign if it has
    good high-profile employers on its books. It is equally important
    to find out about the practices of the agency and if it has
    accreditation. Carmel Gibbons, associate director for health and
    social care at Veredus Executive Resourcing, recommends looking at
    its track record. “See whether the agency has specialists in your
    field. It is worth calling and getting to know these people as they
    will then know exactly what you are looking for.”

    What you need to tell them

    Be honest about what you want. Explain why you are moving on and
    give as much information as you can about what you are looking for.
    “It can be a lot harder to place someone if they don’t have much
    idea of what you want,” says Phillips. “But if you are specific
    about what you want you should also ensure your expectations are

    Get advice

    Agency staff will be able to give good advice on the
    presentation of your CV and how you should prepare for an
    interview. Once they are familiar with you and your career history
    they will be able to tell you whether you are pitching at the right
    jobs. Consultants can also give essential pointers after a job
    interview. Gibbons says: “They can give you feedback throughout the
    application process and sometimes they have to pass on difficult
    messages but this will all help towards securing the next

    Maintaining the relationship

    All sort of roles pass through the recruitment consultants’
    hands and if you engage with them they are far more likely to think
    of you when the right job comes up. There is no magic number when
    deciding how many agencies you want to sign up with but it is much
    better to select your agencies carefully than applying the
    scattergun approach. “You are far more likely to have targeted
    applications if you have chosen agencies that specialise in your
    interests,” says Gibbons. “You don’t want to find yourself building
    up lots of superficial relationships.” She recommends keeping in
    touch about once a week and agreeing beforehand who will phone


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