Careers Advice Blog

How to work with recruiters

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Recruiters can be a useful resource, whether you’re straight out of university and looking for your first permanent job, or still studying and applying for placements or internships. By going through a recruiter you can cut out many hours of job searching as well as increasing your chance of receiving a face-to-face interview.

When working with a recruiter or recruiters for the first time it can be difficult to know what to expect. Here are a few tips to help you build a successful working relationship with a recruiter.

  1. Know the type of agency you’re applying to

Different agencies have different ways of working, some have a more targeted approach in which you’ll work with one recruiter on an exclusive basis and others may have a more casual way of working and allow many of their staff to contact you. There are benefits to both. If you decide to work with one recruiter, you’re more likely to find a job fitting your requirements where as if you work with many you’ll hear about more opportunities but you may be contacted about irrelevant vacancies. Each recruiter is likely to conduct a telephone interview with you which can range from 20-40 minutes. Consider whether you have the time to work with multiple recruiters as the process can be very time consuming.

  1. Know you’re being sold to

There are many recruiters who will genuinely work for the best interests of their candidates and find you a position you always intended to take up. But recruiters rely on commission and are all trained in sales techniques so there is a chance that they will try and sell you a position that doesn’t fit the criteria you were initially looking for. In a way this can be useful as it can make you aware of opportunities, but be cautious as the recruiter may sell you a role you don’t want so well that you end up taking a step along the wrong career path and regretting it later.

  1. Be honest in your goals and processes

It may be the goal of recruitment agencies to work with you on an exclusive basis to increase their chances of placing you and reduce the competition they have to contend with. Just remember they are working with other candidates too and may not put aside time to work for you exclusively on their end. What can be a good idea is to target a handful of recruiters who specialise in your level and sector and then inform them that you are also in other processes. If they know you are in demand, this will motivate them to try and speed up your processes. By keeping them in the loop it also demonstrates that you respect their time and efforts and if you find a vacancy through another method it will lessen the damage on their side.

The main thing to remember is to always keep your own interests and goals at the forefront of your job search. If you find yourself wasting too much time interviewing or researching irrelevant vacancies, or too much time on the phone with too many recruiters, it might be time to re-evaluate your situation and go back to your basic job search before you are overwhelmed.

Do you have more advice on how to work with recruiters? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Kathryn Decker / Flickr

English student at Warwick, writer, gamer, job seeker.
Gabe HurstHow to work with recruiters

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