Treat your initial meeting as an interview
Most recruitment consultancies will want to meet you in person before formally putting you forward for an interview. This will generally involve a fairly informal chat about your reasons for wanting a new job, the type of role(s) you are interested in and a discussion around the positions the consultant thinks might be appropriate for you. Often, the consultant may have a specific job in mind.
While the meeting will not be as intense or probing as a formal job interview, you will still need to come across as professional and employable. Bear in mind that a consultant’s reputation with their client (the recruiting company) is at stake when they put a candidate forward for a job, so he or she will want to make sure that you will perform well when you meet the recruiting manager in person.
Be clear about what you want
Jobseekers who approach recruitment consultancies are obviously looking for a career change. But for many, this is all they are sure about. While it’s good to be open to new opportunities, it’s best to do some research and have a good think about the type of job you want next. This will avoid recruitment consultants suggesting roles that you have no real interest in. It will also help you to develop a closer working relationship. Recruitment consultants want to help you but they will need your help and direction to get you what you want.
Keep in touch
Recruitment consultants meet a lot of talented professionals each and every week so it’s important you keep in touch with a phone call or e-mail (exactly how frequently should be agreed with the consultant). Similarly, you should take advantage of every opportunity available to develop the relationship. We often host networking evenings/lunches for HR people - if you’re invited to one of these types of events, try your best to attend as it not only keeps you at the front of their mind, but it also enables you to find out about the latest market trends and jobs available and allows you to get to know the consultant better.
Take advantage of their knowledge
Make sure you tap into your recruitment consultant’s knowledge as much as you can. They work close to the market day-by-day so they will be able to tell you hot jobs and the types of skills employers are looking for at any given time, as well as the salary you can expect. When you do get an interview, ask specific questions about the interviewer as your recruitment consultant will know him/her so will be able to give you some pointers about what to expect. Although this knowledge will by no means secure you a job, it will help you to prepare well, ensure you play to your strengths and reduce the risk that the interviewer will catch you off guard.
Ask for feedback
Asking for your recruitment consultant’s feedback can help you to improve how you present yourself in future. Recruiters review and assess the strength of CVs on a daily basis and know what employers look for so, if you take their suggestions into account, you can make your resumé as strong as it can be. If you are interviewed, your recruitment consultant will talk to the interviewer about it after it has taken place. Most will also call you to discuss how you feel it went - you can make the most of this conversation by asking questions to ensure you get valuable feedback about your performance. If you do not use a recruitment consultant, you would not have access to this knowledge so you should take advantage of it.