A recruiter acts as an intermediary between you, and their client, the business. Kat Excell heads up the Graduate Sales division at specialist recruitment agency Holland & Tisdall. Here is her advice for making the most of recruitment agencies:
Benefits of using a specialist graduate recruitment agency
- Most reputable agencies have excellent networks and longstanding relationships with prospective employers so are extremely well-placed to secure an interview for their candidates. When I meet exceptional candidates, I am able to line up a number of meetings on their behalf swiftly.
- A good recruiter knows their clients’ businesses in depth and is able to offer you insight into the company and your interviewer ahead of any meetings. This will give you a head start over other candidates who are less familiar with the history of the organisation, the background of the interviewer, exactly what the role entails, the prospects for progression and the company’s plans for expansion. I prep my candidates before every interview so they feel confident.
- Your recruiter will be able to obtain honest feedback following interviews and will be able to let you know what your interviewer liked about you, where you might need to improve or why you ultimately weren’t offered the job.
Choosing an agency
Do your background research. You will usually be able to establish what sort of roles and industries each agency specialise in by visiting the company website, however, if you are unsure or want further clarification give them a call to have an initial chat about what you are looking for from your career.
Every recruiter will have a LinkedIn profile. You can connect with your recruiter and take a look at recommendations from previous candidates and their clients. If you haven’t already set up your own LinkedIn profile do so now.
Approaching an agency
I always suggest sending a CV via email and following up with a call to ensure it has been received and given due attention.
Please spend time on your CV; this is the first impression a recruiter and potential employer will have of you. In my experience CVs which include a personal statement or a paragraph detailing your Career Objectives, which are specifically tailored for a particular industry sector, tend to get better recognition than those without. This is a two-way process – recruiters will choose to represent the best candidates, so you need to ensure it’s as well-constructed as possible and ideally 2 pages long.
Not every agency will have time to respond to each applicant individually. If you haven’t been contacted within a week of submitting your CV (and are still firmly focussed on pursuing the role you applied for) ring the recruiter and ask them to look into your application, let them know you are very serious about your career search and find out whether you can improve on your submission in any way.