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What You Need to Remember About Recruitment Agencies and Headhunters

What You Need to Remember About Recruitment Agencies and Headhunters

A great many job seekers either don't like or misunderstand employment agents and headhunters. Sometimes this comes from experience, sometimes from reputation, but a little understanding of what agents and headhunters are doing, where their focus is, and how to approach them and achieve a mutually beneficial relationship, could see you increase your chance of getting that all-important interview.

The first thing to understand is how a recruitment agent makes their living. Reputable agents never charge fees to candidates. They earn their income from companies that are recruiting. This tells you something right away. Some agents will be fully focused on their recruiting client and getting the right person for the role to be filled. Some agents will see candidates as merely commodities, either fitting a description or not, being harvested and passed on where the person matches the requirement. Experience shows that this is where many candidates might have cultivated a negative view of some agents, but the vast majority of good agencies will never see candidates in this light.

The professional agent knows that the candidate and the role are of equal importance. The agent is effectively recommending a candidate to a recruiter because the candidate carries the agent's pre-approval when their CV is submitted, and so a little of the agent's reputation is invested in the candidate as the recruiting company must see the best quality people for their role if the agent is to maintain a reputation for finding high-calibre people.

Employment agencies are also very busy places and the agents themselves are often handling many clients and many roles, meaning they have only a finite amount of time to dedicate to individual candidates for jobs. If you want to establish a great relationship with an agent, it pays to do your homework before getting in touch with them.

Agency-advertised jobs will always have a role description. Help the agent out and catch their busy eye by making sure that your CV and cover letter makes it clear that you are a perfect fit for the role. Rewrite every cover letter to fit each role, and edit your CV to make sure that the words being used in the advertisement are also used in your CV. The agent will already be familiar with the advert text and will recognise key words and phrases in your CV, lifting you into their line of sight and making you a great candidate to introduce to their client.

A little understanding and preparation can go a long way in helping you make an important connection with the recruitment agent. Even if first contact doesn't result in success, if you make the right impression, the agent will feel much more confident about looking out your details and sending them to a company if they have been able to gain some confidence in you as a candidate and that you know what is expected of you in crucial roles.

Article Added: 11/11/2014

Posted By: Paul Docherty