Get the best from your recruitment agent

Get the best from your recruitment agent

Off By Civvy Street

Service-leavers often place their trust in professionals such as recruitment agents to compensate for their lack of experience in the job market. Here’s how to get the best out of them…

Just as joining a gym will not help you get fit, registering with a recruitment agency won’t automatically gain you a job. You need to commit, get involved and work with them to get results.

Service-leavers may have next to no experience of finding a job to draw on so it’s a sensible move to get a professional to help you out. Even so, they can’t do it alone. Only with your input can they properly market your skills and qualities and land you a gig.

Do a bit of homework before you start reading out your shopping list of preferable terms and conditions. Be realistic and flexible and keep in mind that you may have to compromise, especially if your job hunt has become urgent.

First things first. Since this is a two-way partnership, you should ideally meet (or in these days, at least video chat). You’ll want to assess them and they’ll want to get a look at you, not least to see how you come across – for future interviews, etc. Aim to be professional but also the type of person that perhaps they’d like to work with. The agency will have favourite customers that take a good number of candidates from them and the agent will only want to put the best across to them in order to preserve their reputation. You want to be in that cohort.

Aim to form a friendly but professional relationship.

Be reliable
Don’t let your Military standards slip. Be on time and well-presented if you want to be among the agent’s go to candidates. 

Stay in touch
Communication is a measure for success. Some roles will either be time-sensitive or else could be snapped up by your competitors (or even via other recruitment agencies) so returning calls and messages in a timely fashion is vital.

Showing an interest in an agent’s progress is also a hallmark of commitment and will provide the agent with yet more confidence that putting you forward for roles is a good move.

Put the agent to work
Without going overboard, make the agent earn their commission (from finding you a job). This could mean asking them to review your CV and discussing where your Military skills might be used, or even discussing the kind of questions that might come up at interview.

Think about what you really want rather than letting them guess you into a career path. Know what you want in terms of the role and indeed, regarding what you expect to earn.

Recruitment agencies of worth build up good quality contacts. Ask them to cast around to see if any of them are looking for someone with your skills and attributes rather than just chasing vacancies.

You both win
It’s in the recruitment agency’s interests to see you succeed and are there to support you in doing so. By getting you a job both you and the agent win.

Select the right agency
There are hundreds of recruitment agencies to choose from. Some will have very particular specialisms that might mean they have access to more of the specific sorts of vacancies you’re looking for. 
To filter recruitment agencies by region and sector, among other criteria, visit:

How many?
You can register with more than one agency but it would certainly be sensible to tell agencies that you’ve done so. Some jobs may be exclusive to one agency while others will be spread across several – you don’t really want to be put forward for the same role twice, by different agents. 

Registering with multiple agencies may give you a better chance of harvesting more opportunities but the downside could be that you become unable to maintain the relationships or control you have over just one or two search professionals. 

Perhaps the best advice is to start with one and register with a couple more as things develop.

If you haven’t used recruitment agencies before you may not realise that you don’t need to pay for their services. They earn a fee or commission from companies that make a successful hire. Furthermore, in some cases, if you don’t stay in a role for a set period of time they may not earn their full payout. This means that they are usually aiming to find a role that’s ideal for you.

Remember you’re a Service-leaver. Your recruitment agent won’t always realise the benefits of your transferable skills or attributes and you may need to explain how these might be applied in the workplace. On civvy street, for example, ‘leadership’ becomes ‘management’ – and ‘combat experience’ becomes ‘working under pressure’ and so on.