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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