My Career 19/10/2017 by "Rebecca Wallace"

How to Use a Recruitment Consultant Effectively

jobs, careers and employment applications

Updated post.

A good recruitment consultant can be an extremely valuable resource in a job seeker’s journey. They often have long term relationships with their clients and know and understand the role and requirements of individual employers.

Recruiters have, at times, been the subject of harsh criticism, sometimes warranted, but often the result of a lack of understanding of the role of a recruiter and how to use them effectively when looking for a job.

A recruitment consultant can assist you in building relationships with potential employers. They can be a conduit to help you get the position you really want by providing opportunities for your career. It’s important that you communicate and put time into building a relationship with your consultant.

Good recruiters work towards long-term relationships. They may place candidates who, in future, become clients who return to recruit candidates for their own vacancies.

The following points may be useful in assisting a job seeker to utilise a recruitment consultant more effectively:

Recruitment consultants usually specialise in a role type

Even in the large generalist agencies, consultants usually in an area, such as sales, IT, accounting etc. And within those broad categories, consultants can specialise in narrower role types. For example, within IT a consultant may focus just on network infrastructure, or only on SAP, etc. If you’re an accountant registering with a consultant that only specialises in IT Sales you’re probably not going to get the response you’re after. It’s important to do your research before developing relationships with recruiters to ensure your skill set and experience match the types of roles the recruiter specialises in.

Once you’ve established you’re registering with the right recruiter then ask for a meeting. It is possible the recruiter will prefer to meet you when he/she has a role that is a good match for your profile. This is not because the recruiter isn’t interested in you; it’s just that there are limited hours in the day. Keep in contact with the recruiter especially if you see a role advertised that you believe fits your profile.

It’s not a good practice to send a blanket email to numerous recruiters, it’s always better to personalise your approach. Some candidates communicate that they are on the job market to numerous competitive recruitment consultants in the same email (not blind copying). This is not the best practice, a consultant isn’t encouraged to put the time into a candidate that has openly approached every one of his/her competitors.

A recruitment consultant is not a career counsellor

It’s a common misconception that a recruitment consultant’s main job role is to council candidates on career choices. Good recruitment consultants are certainly open to assist in this area however it’s important to remember the consultant is in a commercial position and is paid by a client to find the best candidate for their company. Is the very best candidate for an IT Sales role an individual that is really unsure about whether he/she wants to stay in sales? The answer is no. The best candidates are those who are sure of their career path, know their strengths and sell their experience and skills to match a vacancy of their choice. Someone who is passionate about what they can provide to the client company is certainly a more attractive option.

There are outplacement agencies that specialise in career counselling and if you are a candidate in career transition and unsure of your next move it is advisable to seek out a career counsellor to assist. This way you will be able to approach the job market with purpose and confidence.

In summary, it is not a recruitment consultant’s job to decide on a job seeker’s career path. Opening correspondence with … “I’m unsure of what I want to do, I really just want a job”, is likely not to provide the desired outcome. Conversely, a focused and skilled candidate who can present a clear match to an open client position or is marketable for specific roles within the consultant’s area of specialisation has a much higher chance of securing a role through the consultant with their client company.

An agency recruitment consultant is paid a fee by a client company to find the best match candidate for their role and their business

It is a recruitment consultant’s job to care for both the candidate and client with the same amount of attention and respect. Be mindful that the consultant is obligated to find the absolute best match candidate for the client company. That fit includes skills, experience, cultural match, values alignment, industry knowledge, possible longevity in the position and a long list of other potential considerations dependant on the client job brief. So even though interested candidates could believe themselves to be the right fit, it is the consultant’s role to assess the match with consideration of the full brief; this is the service the consultant provides.

It’s advisable not to register your interest in a position with the recruitment consultant and then register with their client directly to cover both avenues

Double representation of a candidate is not good for anyone concerned. It is vital to be honest with the recruitment consultant if the presentation to the client company has already occurred, as a consultant will often be unable to assist if the presentation occurred within the previous six months. When a recruitment consultant is engaged to fill a role by the client it may be that the client has already attempted to recruit the position through their own channels prior to contacting the consultant. If this is the case, the client may have advertisements running on their own websites or on online job boards. Should a recruitment consultant interview a candidate for a position and reveals the client they are working for, it is not then advisable to apply to the company directly. This creates a representation conflict and can be detrimental for the candidate, as often in this situation the client company will question the candidate’s integrity and decline to interview the candidate.

A recruitment consultant strives to place the best match candidate in each position and is continuously working towards that end. A consultant is driven to provide the candidate with a great recruitment experience and the points in this blog may assist the job seeker to develop the relationship with some understanding of the recruitment consultant’s perspective.