I am losing interest in my current role and thinking of moving on. The obvious starting point would be to engage a recruitment consultant, but my colleagues tell me they are (at best) a necessary evil. What protocols and etiquette do I need to know to get the best out of them?
Recruitment consultants occupy a special place in many people’s minds. They are often regarded with the same degree of contempt as estate agents, perceived as middle men who earn fees for being a broker. What people often forget is that, like estate agents, they are working for (and paid by) the vendor, or in this case the employer.
If you have reservations about using an agent, you can look at other options first. Ask yourself if you need to move at all? Perhaps you can reshape your current role in a way that might tempt you to stay.
If you are dead-set on moving, you still don’t have to use an agent. In fact many people go through their entire career this way. Some companies will advertise a vacancy themselves, while a recent estimate suggested that 80 per cent of jobs are found through networking.
Expand your professional network by going to industry events and develop your online profile on business networking sites.
The real advantage of using a recruitment agent is that they can dramatically speed up the process of finding a new role. If you do use a recruiter, there are three ways to give yourself the best possible chance of success.
First, be honest with the recruiter about why you are seeking a new role. If you are not, the chances are that the real reasons will emerge later on in the process and you may damage your relationship with the recruitment agent and burn bridges with a potential employer.
Brush up on your CV
Your CV is undoubtedly the first thing the recruitment agent will ask for. Don’t be afraid of asking for feedback on it, but don’t expect the recruitment agent to rewrite it for you line by line.
It is possible that you will be asked to reshape it for a particular role – just make sure that what you say is honest, as any untruths may come back to haunt you.
Respect the recruiter
Third, treat your recruiter as you would a potential employer. If you’re invited to a meeting, dress as if it were an interview. Be on time, be courteous and keep your ego in check. The recruiter will want to be as certain as possible that you are the complete package before they put you forward.
Many candidates fall out with a recruiter when they discuss their worth in the market. Regardless of how highly you value your earning potential, the recruitment agent is the expert and they get to call the shots.
Very simply, they won’t put you forward for a role that they consider to be above your pay grade, however much you disagree with their assessment.
Once you get to the interview, you are not finished with the recruitment agent. Remember that you are representing the recruiter as well as yourself, so do them justice. Do your research beforehand and don’t ask questions in the interview that the recruiter could have answered.
Give the recruiter a call after the interview even if you think the process was a car crash. This will help them to help you and others, and will serve to build your relationship. Finally, if you don’t hear anything after an interview, get in touch but don’t hassle the recruiter.
They will let you know as soon as they know anything. If you don’t get the role, ask for feedback and take it in good faith even if you disagree with it. If you can take it on board, you should get another crack of the whip. Good luck!