Using a recruiter

Recognise that you are not the recruiter’s client, however, doing the right thing will make them a source of information.

Most of us first come across recruiters when we apply for a job they advertise. They become an additional barrier to overcome in the application process and, in most cases, we have no idea of who their client is. We may get this information at the end of, or after, the interview if the recruiter decides to put you forward as a candidate.

In an ideal world we might expect to get some feedback from the recruitment consultant about our performance at the interview. This depends on how much time the consultant has, how much pressure he is under to perform. Recruitment is a sales oriented business and very target driven. Consultants are under pressure, not just to find the right candidate for the job, but to find out about the potential vacancy in the first place.

With the amount of competition there is in the recruitment business you can understand why a consultant would rather talk to their contacts at companies where they stand a chance of bringing in business (money) rather than to candidates who have fallen by the wayside.

So why do Job-Searchers spend vast amounts of time searching the recruiters web sites, sending in half hearted applications and waiting on the phone to be “put through” to consultants or, worse still, waiting for the phone to ring with a call back? It’s because they think the consultant is interested in them and will help them past the barrier to the job vacancy.

Unfortunately, for most, that is very far from the truth, especially in these days of Internet web sites and on-line application forms.

Because it’s relatively easy to upload your CV to a web site and complete the online version of the application, more and more people are doing so. The consultants rarely have time to look at every document sent to them. They retreat behind a piece of software which analyses the content and allows a search to be made which, if the right number of “hits” is reached, pops up the CV.

So why do it? Especially if the recruiters share of the job market is just part of the advertised sector, which you’ll remember is around 10% to 20% of the total jobs available.

The answer is, you might get lucky. In a lottery, it is very difficult to win a prize if you don’t buy a ticket!

However, there is always the exception, the slim chance that the recruiter might find out about the vacancy before it is advertised and want to be the first  to provide a matching candidate to the company.

There is also a slim chance that the recruiter might recognise your specialist skills and feel there is a probability of selling you into a post in one of their client companies, but they can’t do this if they don’t know you.

So you need to form a relationship, in other words”talk” to a recruiter. Get them to know who you are and what you’re capable of. Get them interested  in you as “money on legs”. In other words, as an easy sale into their client’s company.

It means you will have to do research. You’ll need to know the type of companies each agency looks after, you’ll even need to know which recruitment consultant to talk to. You’ll need to know the level of vacancies they look after and you’ll need to know where they are being successful up to date.

A hard ask? Not if you are polite, persistent and have what they are looking for!

How to start?

Work out what you do best, set out your achievements and be prepared to talk about them, just as you did when drafting the CV.

Choose a range of recruitment  companies, check out their Web Sites to see what they have to offer. Pick those that seem to work in your industry, job and geographical area. Give them a ring and ask for the name of the consultant who handles your type of job.
Write, not email, personally to the named consultant, with a list of your achievements and skills. Then follow up by phone and be gently persistent in gaining a conversation.

Above all, allocate the time you spend in proportion to the Job Market share we know about.

Concentrate your efforts on things that work!

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