"Recruitment Agents drive me up the wall!" 3 simple ways to get the best out of them.

Say the words “Recruitment Agent” to someone and  it’s highly likely that the noun in their response will only be audible after 9pm. Being an ex recruiter myself I know there are plenty of bad ones (alongside many good ones). Miss selling roles, exaggerating salaries. We’ve all experienced the classic ringing up without actually reading your CV…. “NO, I’m not an Electrical Engineer, can’t you see my job title!” Indeed its annoying! Especially if you’re at work and you’ve had to run to the stairwell to answer the phone.

However nine times out of ten the role that you are applying for will likely be via an agency so knowing how to get the best out of them will definitely increase your opportunities and chances in landing that job (and also give your consultant their well deserved placement bonus).

Key Words are King!

Keywords equals more calls. Recruitment agencies use job board databases (such as CV Library, Total jobs, Reed and Jobserve) to search for candidates (which have millions of registered CVs). The way agencies narrow down their database search is by using a Boolean search string, for example: (Electrical Engineer and Electrical Technician) or  (Electronics Engineer and Electrical Designer) and (High voltage or HV or 32KV)” etc.

These search strings contain “key words” helping to narrow down their results. Any recruiter worth their salt will have a pretty long search string packed full of them. So it’s important to look at your CV and ask yourself the question does my CV have enough relevant key words? Don’t overly worry about the layout or making the CV over 2 pages long. Here it’s all about substance over style! If you want to learn more on how to improve your CV in this area, I highly recommend you download my free CV writing eBook “10 Simple Steps to CV & Resume Success: How to increase your response by 50%” by enrolling at jobinterviewology.com

Avoid Ambiguity!

Be very clear about your criteria particularly when it comes to salary, travel time and distance. A misunderstanding in this area will lead to greater problems and headaches down the line. You might even end up taking a job you don’t even want, and believe me it’s more common than you might think. For example if you’re not willing to commute to London everyday then make it clear that you’re not interested, unless the role guarantees working from home at least twice a week . Being firm will save you from the perils of miscommunication and also help the recruiter to clearly understand your requirements.  So when a job fulfilling your criteria does come along, you’ll be first on their list of candidates to contact.

Access their Knowledge!

If you have a job interview scheduled, ask the agent about what type of questions will come up! It’s  very likely they already have an idea, particularly if they’ve been reoccurringly recruiting for the role for many years and have a good relationship with the company or hiring manager. If they don’t, ask them to find out. Giving a recruiter a gentle push to speak to the hiring manager might prove fruitful especially considering recruiters can be very persuasive.  Knowing what’s going to come up at interview will make a huge difference in your interview preparation (If you’re interested in learning how to use the job specification to predict possible interview questions, then I highly recommend you enroll on to my online interview training course using my IPReP methodology at Jobinterviewology.com).

Remember both you and recruitment consultants want the same thing and by applying these simple methods you’ll optimise your job search and also  build a better mutually beneficial relationship with recruiters. So the next time someone asks you “what do you think of recruitment consultants?”  The noun in your response will be far more flattering and even complimentary!

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Farhan Raja

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