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How to manage your relationship with recruitment a

How to manage your relationship with recruitment a


Your relationship with recruitment agencies and consultants is of critical importance if you are to quickly secure employment. This article will help you to better understand the dynamics of this rela
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

Your relationship with recruitment agencies and consultants is of critical importance if you are to quickly secure employment. This article will help you to better understand the dynamics of this relationship and how to ensure that your job search activities are geared to your best advantage.

Without doubt, the vast majority of individuals who successfully secure a sales career within the UK Pharmaceutical Industry, do so via a specialist recruitment agency. Such agencies act as recruitment consultants to both you - the candidate and to their 'client companies' i.e. your potential future employer. It is the role of the agency to understand the exact requirements of their client companies and to seek out those candidates who meet these criteria. Recruitment Consultants and Agencies, in most circumstances, are paid in relation to their ability to produce results via the search, selection and placement of such qualified candidates.

When you seek the help of an agency, you are forming a mutually beneficial partnership with an organisation or individual who has the tools and knowledge to help you attain your desired objective. Many agencies employ ex-pharmaceutical sales professionals who have already taken the path that you are starting. Where this is not the case, such agency staff will at the very least have been fully trained and will have a well-tuned understanding of the steps that you will need to take to secure employment.

Which agency is best for me?

We cannot endorse or recommend the services of one agency over those of another. Your choice of agency or recruitment consultant must be a personal one. Your ability to gain rapport via your initial telephone contact or one-to-one interview, may have a bearing on your choice. The professionalism and integrity displayed by the agency may equally influence your decision. There may be a number of logical considerations when contacting agencies. For example, you may wish to establish upfront, which client companies the agency partners with. Several of the 'top 10' pharmaceutical companies only deal with a select number of recruitment agencies, so if you wish to work for a specific company, it would make sense to seek out the appropriate agency.

To a large extent, your choice of agency will depend on three things:
  • Their qualification to deliver the calibre of career that you are seeking
  • Their observation of certain codes of recruitment practice, relating to their respect of your career and best interests
  • The quality of relationship / partnership that is established

How many agencies should I register with?

There is no exact answer to this question, but let us first consider the difference between an agency accepting you on their books and an agency that is proactively seeking interview opportunities for you. It does not matter how many agencies you register with, if all that is ever achieved is another confirmation that you are on their database! What counts is action, interviews and results. On this basis, experience dictates that the optimum number of agencies to register with is between one and three. Any more than this can often be counter-productive and to understand why, one has to consider things from the perspective of the recruitment consultant. Recruitment is a highly competitive and demanding business, where as much as 90% of time invested can yield no results (for the Recruitment Consultant). For this reason, any sensible recruitment consultant will establish working practices that stack the odds in the favour of themselves, their agency and the candidate, thus maximising return on investment. Restricting the number of agencies that you register with or even granting exclusivity to one agency, can very much stack the odds in the favour of the agency, making it far more attractive for them to 'pull out the stops' and work harder for you (the candidate). On the other hand, why would a recruitment consultant wish to invest their time to help you, if they discover that they are already in competition with another ten agencies?

Where can I find agency and vacancy information?

You will find full contact details of the better-known UK agencies on the following web page: Click here for a directory of UK Recruitment Agencies

Other traditional sources of job vacancies and agency listings include:

  • The Daily Telegraph (Thursday edition)
  • The Grocer Magazine
  • Pharmaceutical Field Magazine (PF)
  • Pharmaceutical Times Magazine (PT)

In addition, there are a number of other established internet portals offering current vacancy and agency listings. Links to these can be found on the following web page: Click here for an overview of UK Recruitment Portals

What constitutes good recruitment practice?

Without covering the full codes of practice, there are number of ground rules that should be established:

  • Maintain control of your CV
    It is important that in most circumstances, you maintain control of where your CV is sent. Good recruitment practice dictates that when a suitable opportunity arises, that your agency should first discuss this with you and gain your consent to forward your details. This allows you to maintain an element of control, whilst ensuring that a potential employer does not receive your CV from a number of different agencies. Where this duplication occurs, your chances of an interview will be lessened!
  • Mass mailing of your CV
    Some agencies may wish to speculatively forward your CV to several companies, regardless of the current vacancy situation. This is generally not good recruitment practice.
  • Your best interests first
    Bearing in mind that recruitment consultants are normally paid on results, there will be times, when the occasional consultant fails to act in the best interests of the candidate, by 'pushing' them or influencing incorrectly. If at any time you feel that an agency is not fully acting in your best interests, you would be wise to seek independent advice.

How often should I be in contact with my recruitment agency?

It is said that 'the wheel that squeaks the loudest, gets the most grease' and to a certain extent this is true of your relationship with recruitment agencies. There is, of course, a fine line between maintaining professional contact and becoming a nuisance. It is for you to strike this balance and to ensure that your recruitment agency is appropriately, and regularly, reminded that you are still looking, or to update them on elements of your research and general progress. Do not register with an agency and then sit back expecting job offers to arrive. You must be willing to proactively manage the process.

Keep a Journal

We would strongly implore you to maintain a journal of all aspects of your contact with recruitment agencies, including consultant details, telephone contact summaries and especially records of any vacancy or company to whom your details are submitted. This professional approach will save any confusion or embarrassment, especially when dealing with more than one agency.

The ability to professionally manage a relationship with recruitment agencies is a stumbling block for many aspiring medical sales professionals. To a certain extent, this part of the process warrants the least amount of nerves. You are in effect seeking a mutually beneficial partnership, where you, the candidate, are seeking a career and in return, the agency receives financial reward.

Good luck...

Further information:.
Where Medical Sales Professionals...Click

About the author:

Following a successful Pharmaceutical sales career and several years in Pharmaceutical Sales Recruitment, Jeremy founded, an information portal, dedicated to pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare sales professionals, as well as graduate trainees seeking their first pharmaceutical sales position.