Time to recruit an agency?

By at home

If you’re struggling to find suitable employment, consider signing up with a recruitment agency and get access to a large number of positions.

Have you searched online, scoured the local newspapers and visited the job centre, but still not secured a job? Then employing the services of a recruitment consultant could prove invaluable. He or she does much of the hard work for you and can offer you some much-needed guidance and support, too. If you don’t know how to go about it, here’s a guide on making agencies work for you.

1 Research, research, research
Ask around and use the internet to draw up a list of agencies in your field of work or in a particular location you’re interested in. Once you’ve made your list, look at the websites of the agencies and check out the vacancies they have on their books. Then assess whether the jobs and salaries are suitable for you. If not, move on to the next one.

Career Tip: Many agencies specialise in particular sectors which helps job seekers get expert advice. Not only will it have industry insight, but also a clear understanding of requirements. For example, pfj (www.pfj.co.uk) is a media recruitment agency with offices in London and Manchester; Blue Arrow (www.bluearrow.co.uk) offers expertise in office, industrial, driving and catering jobs; Taylor Root (www.taylorroot.com) is a legal recruitment firm; Poolia (www.poolia.co.uk) works with companies to recruit finance and accounting, banking and financial services, HR and office support staff; Anson McCade (www.ansonmccade.com) is an international banking and IT recruitment consultancy.

2 Know what you want
When you’ve chosen a range of agencies you think will be able to assist you, consider carefully the exact job or jobs you wish to go for. You want to give the consultant the clearest guidance possible, so think about the financial package you’re after, the locations you are willing to work in and the hours and number of days you wish to work.
Career Tip: You can sign up with a number of agencies, but some, desperate to earn commission, will push job seekers into any vacant position – it’s vital that you don’t end up in a job that’s not right.

3 A good impression counts

Ensure that your CV is up-to-date and easy to navigate through, with current employers and relevant skills listed at the top. Once you are satisfied with this, contact the agencies.
Career Tip: Although, these days, many people choose to send an email, it can be an advantage to make a personal visit with your CV or, at least, to phone ahead before emailing it.

4 Meet and greet

Once the relevant consultant has been through your CV to assess your suitability, you’ll be asked to make an appointment to register to give the agency an indepth idea of the skills you have and the jobs you can be matched to. Most agencies will do this in the form of a face-to-face interview and completion of a form to record your personal details, achievements, career objectives, availability and salary requirements. This information will then go on the agency database.
Career Tip: Build up a relationship with your consultant from the registration stage.

5 Take a hands-on approach
Don’t be afraid to call your consultant to find out how he or she is getting on with finding you a suitable post. The agency will have people signing up every day and being proactive will remind the agency that you’re keen to work.
Career TIP: While an agency works alongside you to get you a job, it’s worth remembering that, like an employer, it has a reputation to maintain and is unlikely to put you forward for jobs if you’re rude or untidy.

6 Promising news

If you’re shortlisted for a job, you’ll be contacted by the agency and given details of the role and company concerned.
Career TIP: Ask for a copy of the job description to be emailed to you before agreeing to have your CV forwarded on.

7 A step closer
You will be asked to attend an interview at a convenient date and time after which your consultant will receive feedback. This is when you may get a job offer, the chance of a second interview or a rejection.
Career Tip: Agencies won’t send you for interviews you’re not suitable for, or interested in, so turn down an interview if you wish. It doesn’t mean you’re not keen to work; but it’s better to focus on the right type of job for you.

Charting the rise of e-recruitment services
Many high street agencies are performing their functions over the internet and many more have been formed to exist only online. Cover star, James Caan, believes this is the way forward. As chairman of www.webrecruit.co.uk, a flat-fee online recruitment agency, he says: ‘Traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ companies are being superseded by online technology-driven businesses across all sectors, and in my industry online recruitment is a real hotspot. Using the internet to recruit allows businesses to keep costs down without sacrificing quality of service.’

A word from James
‘Recruitment agents have a breadth of resources to place people in work. They will also improve your CV and give interview advice. They’re specialists in their field and will know if a job will suit your particular skillset.’

Pictures: getty images

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