How to find a job using recruitment agencies
Struggling to get your dream job? Using a recruitment agency could help you get past the application process and secure the perfect role.
Even with a great CV and cover letter, it can be hard to find the ideal role and get invited to an interview. But, recruitment agencies can seriously fast-track the process.
Many think that recruitment agencies are for those in senior positions. But in reality, recruiters can help you find full-time, part-time, or temping opportunities, no matter what stage of your career you’re at.
If you’re keen to know how it all works, this guide breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of using recruitment agencies. We’ve also listed the best recruitment agencies for students and graduates.
How to find a good recruitment agency
High streets are full of agencies and, as with any competitive environment, some agencies are better than others.
It’s worth contacting all of the main agencies to get the ball rolling. Then, to find the ones most suited to you, ask the following questions:
How do recruiters place candidates?
Recruiters should get to know you to help you find the right position. At the very least, you should expect an informal telephone interview or a chat with your recruiter. It’s even better to have a face-to-face meeting to discuss your skills and goals.
If all you get is a suspiciously generic email (or auto-reply), there’s a chance they’ll just shove your CV onto a pile and never get to know you.
These kinds of agencies see candidates as numbers rather than real talent and aren’t worth your time.
Is the recruiter familiar with your industry?
Some agencies specialize in certain areas, while others might cover a bit of everything. For example, one agency might be the best shout if you’re looking for a job in the advertising industry. But, another might be good for helping you source temporary admin work.
Your best bet is to do a little bit of research before deciding who to reach out to.
If you want to work in a niche role, make sure your recruiter understands that area. If they don’t, they’ll have a hard time matching you to the work you’re interested in.
Is the agency open to students and graduates?
There are some recruitment agencies that cater solely to students and graduates. Others might be open to them, without exclusively catering to younger people.
However, there are some recruiters that won’t take on students or graduates at all. Check the specifics before getting in touch with them.
How to use a recruitment agency to get a job
This is how to use a recruitment agency:
1. Submit your CV
Whether there’s a particular role that the agency is advertising for that you’re interested in, or you’re just applying to see what your options are, you’ll need to submit your CV. If you need a bit of help with it, we’ve got some great tips on how to write a CV that will point you in the right direction. If you’re still not totally sure if you’re on track with your CV, try submitting it to an agency that offers a free CV review. We’d recommend applying to at least two or three agencies to increase your chances of success.
2. Interview with the agency
As we’ve mentioned, any recruitment agency worth their salt will want to meet you before they start recommending you to potential employers. So, treat this like you would any other job interview. Make sure to dress smart, prepare your answers to key questions, and be professional at all times. They may not be the employer, but they have a big say in who gets the job. You need them on your side. If you give off bad vibes to the recruiter, they’ll see this as the same vibe you’ll give off to employers. This means they’re not likely to put much effort into helping you as it’ll be hard to fight your case.
3. Interview with the employer
If the agency thinks you’re a good candidate for a particular role, they’ll put you forward for an interview with the potential employer. Again, treat this as you would any interview, and make sure you’re well prepared. There’s a chance you might get a few interviews lined up within a short time, so take care not to get companies or roles confused. Doing so could reflect badly on both you and the recruiter. Make sure you prepare your answers to some of the most common interview questions and thoroughly research the company beforehand.
4. Wait for the job offer
With any luck, the next step will be a job offer! The agency will usually be the ones to contact you to let you know either way. They’ll also arrange all the details like your start date. If any salary negotiations need to happen, they’ll also act as the middle man there.
If you’re not successful, try not to let it knock you back too much. Ask the recruiter if they have any feedback for you (as there’s a middle man involved here, it’s easier to get some genuine answers), and get straight back on the horse.
5. Chase things up and ask for feedback
Don’t be afraid to chase the recruiter. If you submit your CV and get no response, drop them an email or ring them up to see if they need anything else from you. Sure, recruiters are busy people, but this is their job so don’t let them keep you waiting. The same goes for interviews. If you don’t hear anything from the recruiter or the employer after an interview, chase the recruiter up during the following few days to gauge the situation. And whether you’re successful or not, always ask for feedback from interviews. You’re entitled to know your strengths and weaknesses, so you can learn from them.
RelaxWe know it’s easier said than done, but you’ll perform a lot better if you try to take the whole process in your stride. Use the recruiter interview as a practice run. You could even ask the recruiter for tips before a job interview with the employer. You’ve got this!