How to make the most of recruitment agencies

Working with a recruitment agency can be greatly beneficial in your graduate internship and job hunt, but only if you understand their role in the hiring process. We want to help you gain an understanding of how recruiters work and offer you a few tips from our own experience about how to make most of recruitment agencies. This post may seem a little serious but it is full of important information for you to absorb!

The job of a recruitment agency is to screen all potential applicants and find the best person for the position they are seeking to fill.

It is important to remember that recruitment agencies work for employers, not job hunters. They, like anyone else with very limited time have to prioritise their time with clients who have jobs for them to fill, and people who they think are potential candidates to fill the roles. Most recruiters simply don’t have the time to respond to the hundreds of CVs and phone calls that they receive every day.

With the market place saturated with good candidates it is important to make the most out of your recruiter.

Here are our tips on how to work with and make the most out of a recruitment agency:

1. Prepare
Research the recruitment agency before you meet with them. This will show the recruiter that you will do your research when going to interviews. Don’t just read their about us page but look at their social media pages or read their recent press releases. Doing your research goes a long way!

Complete tasks you are asked to do. If a recruiter asks you to update your CV then do it straight away. This is evidence for the recruiter that you follow instructions and will prepare for interviews you will be put forward for.

2. Install trust
As a candidate you will be representing the recruitment agency when you go for an interview. Recruiters are only going to send forward applicants they trust to turn up to interviews prepared. Therefore it is essential you present yourself to a recruiter as if you are going for a job.

Don’t just not turn up to interviews. This is one of the worst things you can do. A consultant won’t forget and you will be blacklisted if you fail to turn up to an interview. They will not trust you to send your forward for more roles. Equally don’t cancel 15 minutes before an interview.

3. Show attention to detail
Check and double check correspondence for grammar and spelling mistakes. If you are dealing with more than one agency make sure you are contacting the right one about the right role. Also try and get the name of your recruiter right!

4. Be honest
Don’t lie about your academics or skills because you will be found out and the recruiter will wonder what else you have lied to them about. If you aren’t available straight away or you have a holiday coming up tell your recruiter so they can take this into consideration when sending you forward for interviews.

Be upfront if you don’t like the look of a role. Don’t say yes to the recruiter’s face then email them after you have left to say you are no longer interested.

If you know you aren’t going to accept a role or you are waiting to hear about another offer before accepting then be honest and tell the recruiter.

5. Communicate
Ensure your correspondence with recruiters is always formal. This will show them how you will work in a professional environment.

If you have a missed call then call the recruiter back as soon as you can. They probably have some important information for you.

If a recruiter calls you and it is not good time for you to talk then make it clear. Tell them you will call them back at a more convenient time.

Don’t make recruiters chase you. You aren’t the only candidate they are dealing with so they don’t have the time to keep trying to contact you. If you have a missed call, voicemail or an email from a recruiter then reply to them as soon as you can.

It is important to keep regular contact with your recruitment agency but don’t pester. A recruiter will contact you about roles if they have news.

6. Show enthusiasm
Make people believe you want to find a job. An interview should take priority so don’t make up excuses as to why you can’t go. This looks bad on you and on the recruiter you are representing. A client’s diary is a lot fuller than yours so work around their schedule. If you are offered a morning or afternoon interview opt for the early one. This will make you look eager and you will be much more alert and on the ball.

Ask the recruiter questions about roles you have been put forward for. The recruiter may have feedback from the client from previous interviews they can divulge with you. If you are enthusiastic about the role and show an interest then the recruiter will be keen to help you.

After an interview drop an email to the recruiter to let them know how it went and whether you are interested in the role. This feedback can then be passed on to the client, which is great if you are really interested in the role. It will also be helpful for you to reflect on your interview. Sometimes clients ask recruiters for their opinion so if you have given feedback, are easily contactable and upfront with recruiters they are more likely to suggest you.

7. Make a good impression
It is important to make a good first impression with a recruiter by shaking their hand and introducing yourself as soon as you meet them.

You want the recruiter to remember you for the right reasons so try to find a common ground with them so you can talk about normal things and also put yourself at ease.

The little things are important. A recruiter will have met with lots of people before and after you so differentiate yourself. After a screening interview with a recruiter send the person you met an email saying it was nice to meet them and you look forward to the next step. This is not only polite but shows your professionalism and will put you to the top of a recruiter’s mind.

Don’t patronise the recruiter. Their job is in HR and recruitment and they are helping you get a job in your industry. Don’t talk down to them if they don’t know IT specific skills for example.

Remember these tips when you are dealing with a recruiter to get the most out of your experience with them. A recruitment agency is like a gatekeeper to your career so if you respect them they will respect you and hopefully find you your perfect job.