Agency secrets

PUBLISHED: 10:27 28 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:34 06 May 2010

SEARCHING for a new job can be a laborious process. And it s disheartening, to say the least, when all you have to show for your efforts is a huge pile of rejection letters. That s where recruitment agencies can step in to answer your employment prayers.

SEARCHING for a new job can be a laborious process. And it's disheartening, to say the least, when all you have to show for your efforts is a huge pile of rejection letters.

That's where recruitment agencies can step in to answer your employment prayers. Good agencies will have a constant flow of jobs from a variety of companies and aim to secure the perfect match between a candidate and a vacancy.

The biggest draw to signing up? Nine times out of 10 it's the only way you will get to hear about particular vacancies.

But although there are so many positives, like most things in life, there's never a quick fix.

If you enlist your trust with an agency there are several things to watch out for.

Although recruitment consultants will help you look for work, they won't be fighting your corner night and day.

A recruitment consultant's primary concern is to meet the needs of their client - your potential employer. It's the client who keeps a roof over their head and they're the ones, not you, who are bringing in the money.

Look at the relationship between you, the agency, and their client, as a business transaction. Effectively, you're only a product the agency is selling.

Agencies should check with you first so see whether you're happy to be put forward for a position. With all the excitement this may bring, it's easy to forget about finding out exactly what the job will entail, but remember that you're the only one who really has your best interests at heart and as such it's important to do your research.

Recruitment consultants have to find the required number of candidates as quickly as possible and as such may alter your CV to fit a client's criteria, as well as 'talk you up'.

They may, therefore, tell you only what they want you to know - which doesn't necessarily translate to what you need to know. There could be aspects of the job that you lack the skills for or might not like, so it's your job to find out more. That way, if you are successful, there won't be any nasty surprises.

With such pressure to meet deadlines, it's no real surprise that the opportunities aren't usually dished out in a fair way. It doesn't work on a first-come first-served basis and there's no queuing system to speak of.

You are equally as likely as the next person to be put forward for an interview, even if you have been registered with the agency for months longer.

And some methods of recruiting are not as orthodox as others. One ex-recruitment consultant revealed that her team would scout around outside Nottingham Town Hall with flyers, looking for candidates.

The recruiting process, as with career progression in general, is often a question of being in the right place at the right time. With bright and eager jobseekers walking through their doors daily, you can quickly become forgotten, no matter how memorable you think you are.

It's advisable to call the agency on a regular basis and ensure you're fresh in their minds. And if you're serious about getting work in this way, you don't have to stay faithful to just one agency.

In fact, the more you sign up to, the more jobs you will be put forward for, which makes you much more likely to bag the one you're dreaming of.

DOs AND DON'Ts:

DO have regular contact with an agency and call once a week to find out about new vacancies.

DO keep your CV up-to-date and make sure it's clear and concise.

DO maintain a professional relationship with the agency, be contactable during office hours, and behave as you would with an employer.

DO ask the agency about the current job market, and what your options are.

DO check if the agency is registered with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), which ensures agencies practise ethically.

DON'T pay the agency any fees for finding you work.

DON'T be pressured into accepting a job you feel isn't right for you.

DON'T lie on your CV, you will only be caught out later.

DON'T be selective - register with several agencies.

DON'T be put off if you don't get interviews, it may take a while to find the right job.


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