When beginning any job search, connecting with a recruitment agency should be one of your first moves. Recruiters are always looking for great people; often have insight into employment and job market trends; and they can leverage existing relationships with Clients and candidates to your benefit. They are truly an indispensable resource.
With that being said, whether you are new to engaging with Recruiters or you have been working with them for years, we have a few recommendations on how to get the most out of your Recruiter.
You’re a rockstar: you have let the LinkedIn world know you are open to opportunities, and now you are waiting for them to come find you and your amazing skills. Recruiters have found you, and are impressed by your marketable skills. They can’t wait to talk to you about a great role they have available.
Dilemma: You never put a telephone number or email address in your LinkedIn contact details. Oh… and you haven’t checked any of your LinkedIn messages for weeks.
Resolution: Very simply, put your contact numbers and/or email address on your LinkedIn profile (and your resume while you’re at it) and check your LinkedIn messages once a day, minimum.
Note that many Recruiters are aware that people work in communal spaces. They would never want to put you in an awkward position of talking about your job search with your cubical mate listening in. Recruiters will often email or InMail you to avoid this. Getting back to them as quick as possible will get your job search moving.
You received a call back from an Agency Recruiter or HR coordinator. It’s the call you have been waiting for! You get on the phone straight away, but get voicemail. You leave a quick message and wait for a call back.
Dilemma: The voicemail was said at warp speed with hardly any details. It sounded like this “Hi this is Bob, call me on 403-8xfg-$%*#”.
Resolution: Slow down. Take a breath. You may have planned out exactly what you want to say when you get hold of the Recruiter, but you probably haven’t even thought about the fact that they may not pick up! So, what do you say in your voicemail message?
- Your full name or, more specifically, your name as it appears on your resume/LinkedIn profile.
- Best contact number for you. Slowly. With pauses between numbers. This way. The Recruiter can. Write it down.
- Why you are calling. Don’t assume you are the only person named John they have called. Let them know that you are returning their call about ‘the Operations Manager role at Site XYZ’; reiterate what they mentioned in their voicemail so they know exactly why you are calling.
- Provide a few good times that they can reach you. Or if email is better, let them know your email address. Slowly. Enunciate the letters so they know you spelt Frank and not Blank (F-for-Foxtrot).
- Finally say your name and number again. Slowly.
You have made contact with a Recruiter on a role you applied for. An interview is scheduled for you to meet each other.
Dilemma: You showed up to the interview in your gym clothes, didn’t remember who you were meeting with (even though they emailed you a confirmation), can’t remember the role you applied for, or what the company you are at even does. Also you were very vague about what you were looking for in your next role.
Resolution: Maybe you did none of the things above – they are extreme examples. But maybe you did one of them. How can you be better prepared before you meet a Recruiter?
- Dress as you would for any professional interview. Recruiters often hear “I will dress better for a real interview, this one doesn’t really count”. This is a blatant disregard for the Recruiter’s job and the time they are spending with you. Additionally, it casts doubt on whether you will, in fact, dress appropriately for their Client. As for what to wear? Err on the side of caution and, to quote Barney Stinson, “Suit up!”
- When you get a call from a Recruiter on a role – grab a pen and paper to take down all the details. Ask for that person’s name and the company they are calling from. If you applied for a couple of roles they had posted, ask which one in particular they are referring to. And if you are calling the Recruiter on a role, take a moment to Google the company and find out what they do. This way you can be fully prepared when you go for the interview. You shouldn’t be wasting your time interviewing for roles or with companies you have no interest in.
- In your interview, make sure the Recruiter has a very good idea of your expertise and skills. But it is equally important to make sure they have a very clear understanding of what you are looking for in your career and your next position. If you are vague, they won’t have an idea of what roles you are even interested in. It is fine to have a couple of directions you are looking in, but “Oh, you know, I’m open to anything” doesn’t help refine your search.
- Be honest about salary and location, types of industry, specific job titles, and even management styles and culture. It’s also helpful to have an idea of some of the organizations you want to work for to create a strong picture of your ideal work environment. As you give your Recruiter this information, they will begin to assess which of their Clients may be the best match for you. The clearer the picture you paint, the more roles you will be called about that you are truly interested in.
4. The follow up
You registered with an agency. You had a really good conversation with a Recruiter around your career objective and what you are looking for in your next move. They called you about a role their Client is thinking about hiring for. Nothing firm yet but they will get back to you as soon as they hear anything. Now what?
Dilemma: You have either a) been calling your Recruiter every 2 hours, every day to get an update; or b) haven’t heard anything back from your Recruiter in 2 weeks (or even longer, in some scenarios). Both situations are common, and neither is ideal.
Resolution: Situation ‘A’ makes you look and sound a bit obsessed and desperate. Recruiters understand that your situation may be dire, but you still need to think of the image you are putting across.
The image you project to a Recruiter is how they think you will behave in an interview with their Client. Be the professional you are, at all times, in your dealings with your Recruiter. This is not to say you shouldn’t call, but when you do, ask when they think they will have more information and if you can follow up with them then, if you haven’t heard back. The answer will absolutely be ‘Yes’. And often the Recruiter will be impressed that you’ve taken on that responsibility.
Situation ‘B’ leaves you feeling like you have wasted your time and maybe even like the Recruiter gave you the ‘run around’. But have you done your due diligence and followed up with them?
You definitely don’t want to be left in the dark for an undefined period of time, so at the end of the interview, ask what the timeline looks like. When is the Client doing interviews? When are they looking to hire? The last time the Client used the agency, did they take their time or were they in a rush to move the process forward? Ask these types of questions so that you can be aware of when steps are happening. This way you can make informed follow up calls on where everything is at in the timeline. You will also have a better idea of what to expect throughout the process. Don’t be afraid to follow up.
5. Recruiters are but one tool in your tool-box
You have registered with one agency. You are now waiting for your Recruiter to call you about your dream job.
Dilemma: The agency you registered with has indeed called you about different roles, but you haven’t been interested in any of them. It has been a couple of weeks now since you last heard from your Recruiter on potential roles, and you’re worried that you will not be able to find a job.
Resolution: Don’t rely on one Agency as your only option. No agency will ever hold you back from registering somewhere else in your job search. If they do, have a conversation with them as to why, because that is not standard practise. Register with all the agencies you feel best represent your field; use discretion. Follow up with your Recruiters on a weekly basis to see if they have any new roles. Keep applying on your own to positions you find on job boards, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Newspapers.
Recruiters are but one tool in your tool-box, make use of all of them to find your next role.
Searching for a new job is hard work and can be discouraging at times. Finding the right Recruiter can take time. But once you find someone that clearly understands the value you can bring to their Clients, it will increase your odds of landing your next role. Get your Recruiter working for you!