Looking for the next step in your career? Or have you been contacted by a recruitment agency, wondering what exactly they want from you? Or maybe just researching on whether to work with a recruitment agency at all.
Whatever the reason, knowing how recruitment agencies work can give you peace of mind when you’re trusting an unknown recruiter to help you find your next job. Because working with a recruitment agency can give your career search a huge helping hand, and an advantage over the rest of the competition!
Luckily we’re here to give you the inside scoop on how recruitment agencies work.
A recruitment agency is a company or network of professionals who specialise in helping companies find suitable employees for their job vacancies, and help job seekers find new jobs.
As a job seeker, a recruitment agency’s job is to help you in your job search. From helping you update your CV, to finding you roles, arranging interviews and helping with interview preparation.
The majority of recruitment agencies work in a commission structure, where the recruiter earns a commission from the company that you are placed with. This incentivises the recruiter to find you the best job possible, and with the highest salary.
Some recruitment agencies are more generalist agencies that cover a wide variety of industries and sectors. Or there are specialist and niche agencies, who focus in, and are experts in, one specific sector. Industry specific recruitment agencies can be better for those working in a competitive or specific industry, because they typically offer a more uniquely tailored service than the generalist agencies.
Of course the best recruitment agencies aren’t just interested in placing a candidate in a job. By offering candidates a fantastic level of service and building long-lasting relationships, they can work with the same job seekers throughout their career, and job seekers recommend the agency to friends.
Of course trusting a recruitment agency with the next step in your career can be a bit daunting. Which is why we’re pulling back the curtain on how a recruitment agency works:
The first real contact with the recruiter or recruitment agency is a message, email, or more likely, a phone call. If you applied to a job that a recruitment agency is advertising, and could be a fit for the role, then you can expect a phone call.
But it’s not uncommon for you to be contacted by a recruiter, even if you haven’t applied to any job adverts. If a recruiter has found your CV on a job application website like Reed, or found your profile on LinkedIn, they may proactively reach out to you to see if you’re open to new opportunities.
This first point of contact will be to find out your employment history, your skills and experience, and to find out what roles you are interested in (if any). At this point, if you’re interested, they may even present you with some job opportunities that they had in mind when they reached out to you.
Once the agency has your details you’ll be added to the recruitment agencies database. Then as new roles become available on the market, the recruiters will reach out to you with any roles that could be of potential interest. This can be either over email or with a phone call, depending on the agency and recruiter.
If the role is something that you’re interested in, the recruiter will send your CV over to the hiring manager at the company, to see if you’re someone they would be interested in interviewing for the role.
A recruiter will often help edit your CV, to improve your chances. Because the recruiter has inside knowledge on the role, they can help you to include the information on your CV that the hiring manager most wants to see. (This process can often be made anonymous if you desire, as recruiters can remove any identifying details from your CV and application.)
This can often be followed with a phone call by the recruiter or an email, where the recruiter will argue why you’re a good fit for the role. Working with a recruitment agency can often give you an edge over applicants for reasons like these.
If the employer wants to interview you, the recruiter will contact you to ask you for your availability for interviews (if they haven’t already).
They will then arrange interviews for you at a time that works for both you and the interviewer.
The recruiter may even go a step further. Here at Herd we help the job seekers we work with prepare for their interviews. We give you tips on what the recruiter wants to hear and help you prepare for any presentations that may be a part of the process.
If you’re successful with your interviews and the business makes you an offer, the recruiter may even handle this process for you as well.
And if you’re working with a niche or specialist agency, they will have expert knowledge of their industry and salaries. They’ll be able to make sure that you’re paid a fair market rate at minimum, and may even be able to negotiate a higher salary on your behalf.
Working with a recruitment agency has a long reason of benefits. Whether you’re just starting in your job search and looking for some insight into the industry, or have been searching and struggling: Recruitment agencies take care of a lot of the work for you. These benefits include but aren’t limited to:
Now you know how they work, how do you choose the best recruitment agency for you? And how can you use their services to help get you your next job?
When choosing a recruitment agency you may want to do a bit of research to make sure you’re finding the recruitment agency that can best support you. Like the kind of recruitment agencies you work with:
When you’ve decided on the kind of recruitment agency, it’s time to research individual agencies. Look at their reviews, their website and their social media to see what people are saying about them. Look for agencies with positive feedback, and for those with a good reputation for communication and candidate care.
Next, is getting in touch with your chosen recruitment agency. The agency will want to know a few key details such as your employment history and what roles you would like to be contacted about. The recruiter will likely ask you to send over a copy of your CV, so it’s not a bad idea to update your CV before you reach out.
The recruiters job is to represent you to the best of your interests. So while you should discuss with the recruiter what you can offer a future employer, it’s also important to speak about what you want, what your salary expectations are, and what your career goals are.
Now that they have your details and you are in their database, the recruitment agency should reach out with roles that interest you.
Whether you are interested in the role you’ve been contacted about or not, we advise replying promptly to the recruiter. This lets the recruiter know you are still actively interested in hearing about roles, and haven’t simply forgotten about them or are ignoring them.
And recruitment agencies speak with hundreds of candidates and job seekers. Staying in touch also means you’ll be at the forefront of the recruiters mind when they’re considering who to contact about new roles that come onto the market.
One of the great parts of working with a recruitment agency is they arrange all the interviews for you. Don’t worry, you still are in control of when and what time you interview. But your recruiter will take care of arranging it all for you.
The recruiter will be able to offer you valuable insight into what the hiring managers and interviewers are looking for. While you should obviously conduct your own research, this recruiters insight should give you an inside edge over the competition.
Whenever possible, you should strongly avoid not attending or missing an interview arranged by your recruiter. Rearranging an interview last minute or after it was supposed to happen will obviously damage your chances of getting that job.
But additionally, it will make the recruiter much less likely to put you forward for further jobs and interviews. They may see you as unreliable, and the recruiter won’t want to risk their reputation putting you forward for other job opportunities.
A common worry is that working with a recruitment agency costs you money. But no, recruitment agencies never take a cut of your salary. If a recruitment agency ever asks you (as a job seeker) to pay to work with them, we would advise avoid working with them completely.
A recruitment agency is paid a fee for their services, by the business that they recruit for. This fee is a percentage in relation to your salary. But don’t worry, this does not come out of your salary.
But it does mean that the more you are paid, the more the recruitment agency is paid, and the higher commission the recruiter earns. This means that a recruiter is financially invested in getting you the best job with the highest salary they possibly can, and will always argue your corner for you.
If you’re a digital marketer looking for your next job, you can have a look at our open digital job vacancies here. Or if you want a little more insight into what we offer our candidates and what we can do for you, you can find out more here.
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