When applying for a job in a competitive hiring environment, it’s important to have every possible advantage, or a hiring manager may never even see your resume. The right education and training, relevant experience and industry certifications are all important. But it sometimes takes much more to land an interview, and ultimately, the job.
More job seekers are using job recruitment agencies to help them navigate the hiring process. Not only does a good agency find you more opportunities with hiring managers, but it can also be a valuable long-term career partner. If you’re considering a recruitment agency, follow these tips to determine whether it’s a good or bad one.
Many professionals limit their recruitment agency search to those advertising positions of interest. While this isn’t necessarily a mistake – after all, you could get lucky and end up with a great agency – it’s not the best approach.
It’s more important to proceed thoughtfully, and choose a recruitment agency that’s a good fit for you and the career opportunities you seek.
When researching recruitment agencies, you’ll find they have commonalities and differences. The key is to know the good qualities you want and the bad qualities you want to avoid.
Approachability: Look for agencies that are personable and approachable. They should seem genuinely interested in learning about you as a person, as well as your career goals.
Sales ability: You’ll need your agency to go to bat for you. Therefore, you should look for one with strong sales skills that will accurately represent you to employers, persuade them that you are the right candidate and convince them you deserve an opportunity.
Optimism: It’s not easy looking for a job; you’ll want to team up with a recruitment agency partner that makes it easier for you by being positive and motivating.
Industry expertise: Good agencies understand your industry, the roles they are recruiting for and the needs of employers. They have cultivated strong relationships in either their specialty industry or a variety of areas.
Longevity and turnover: Find out how established the agency is and how long the recruiter you’ll be working with has been there. If they have a high turnover rate, your consultant may not have developed long-term, established relationships with employers. For you, that could mean the difference between getting an interview and being ignored.
Resume help: Good recruitment agencies are experts in resumes and cover letters. They know exactly what employers are looking for. The agency should be able to help you put together a resume and cover letter that stands out and speaks directly to an employer’s needs.
Fees: If the recruitment agency charges you a fee for their services, consider it a huge red flag. Legitimate agencies are paid by the company doing the hiring – not by the candidates they place. Avoid signing any contracts that require you to ever pay a fee, even if they find you a job.
Lack of interest: Some agencies don’t interview individual candidates in person. Or, they may push you toward jobs that are not suitable for you, but pay larger fees to them. Be sure your recruitment consultant always has your best interests at heart.
Overpromising: Keep your guard up when a recruitment consultant promises the moon, such as indicating they can guarantee you a job. Remember that all hiring decisions are made by the employer, not the recruitment agency.
Lack of privacy: Beware of recruitment agencies they send your personal information to employers without your consent. They should always respect your privacy and be completely transparent about where they send your information.
Look for agencies with good reputations that are focused on their candidates and interested in long-term relationships. Avoid agencies that are more interested in a making a quick buck, and end contact with candidates once they’ve been placed in a position.
When interviewing with an agency, ask plenty of questions that will help you learn whether they have the qualities you seek or those you wish to avoid. Find which industries they specialize in, if any, what makes them different from the competition and what types of clients they typically work with.
As stated above, no recruitment agency can guarantee you a job. However, choosing the agency that fits you and your career goals is the first step to landing the position you want. Knowing you’re represented by an agency you’re proud of and that can open additional doors will give you a greater feeling of confidence – an advantage you’ll need when you’re job hunting!
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