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Dealing with Recruitment Agencies (Part 1).

One of the topics really close to my heart is this question of dealing with recruitment agencies.  You see I have been on both sides of the desk.  I have been a job seeker, so I know what it is like to speak to an agency and weeks later they simply haven’t come back to me.  But I have also been on the recruiter’s side of the desk.  I understand that a recruiter’s worst enemy is time.

Nobody really knows the exact percentage of vacancies that are filled through recruitment agencies every year, but you can be assured that more are filled through agencies, than are filled without them.  To say the least it is a lot of jobs.  It therefore stands to reason that if you alienate these people/companies it could very well cost you a lot of opportunities.

Here are a few tips when dealing with Recruitment Agencies.

1)      As a job seeker, remember that these agencies are hired by the employers to find them the very best suited candidates for a specific job.  They are paid by the employers, and are not allowed to charge you more than R2 to register with them.  Most agencies do not charge you at all.

2)      Most agencies will ask that you only submit your CV for a specific job vacancy.  The reason is simple.  An agency will never know you as well as you know yourself.  When you apply for a particular job, they are interviewing you with that job’s requirements in mind and will be asking questions relating to this job.  They may not realise that you are suitable for another vacancy, simply because you did not tell them so in your CV or the interview.  

3)      Take responsibility for your own career.  Build a relationship with a few good agencies that work in your area of expertise, and then make sure that you continually keep in touch with them.  Visit their websites and view their vacancies, and if something is advertised that you think is suitable for you, call them and ask them to consider you for that job.

4)      Every agency and even every recruiter is different.  Ask them how they like to work.  How often should you call them?  When is the best time to call them?  Is email more convenient or a phonecall?  Find out these things and make it your responsibility to keep in touch with them.

5)      Respect their resources.  When leaving a message give them both your cell phone and land line number.  If they call you on your cell phone and you are near a landline, offer them the option of calling you on that number.  They will appreciate this.  It is in your advantage to speak with them as long as they need you to so be considerate of the cost of the cell phone call.  

6)      If you leave a message and they don’t call you back, don’t get mad just call them again.  They are probably working on a number of positions at any time, with a number of applicants.  Bare in mind that it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.  You want to be squeaky and at the top of their minds, without being irritating.  

To conclude… Recruiters can be incredibly useful in helping you with your job search.  Not only do you need them to help secure you an interview, but they can also assist you with your CV, give you valuable insight into the company and the interviewers, help negotiate the best salary offer etc etc.  As in any industry, there are some good recruiters and some poor recruiters out there.  You need to find the good ones and work in partnership with them.  Learn how they like to work, and work together to secure your employment.

Lloyd Dicks
Jobfishing Coach.

Lloyd Dicks

Founder of the JobFishing website.  After many years contracting in IT roles, in South Africa and abroad, Lloyd has spent the last 5 years in the recruitment and selection business.  He is currently Sales Director of Star Personnel Recruitment (Pty) Ltd.  While very much still  involved in the recruitment of top IT staff, Lloyd is also a Job Coach and Trainer.  

Ask Lloyd a question at the Career Coach section of this website.


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