You could spend days trawling through the situations vacant, ringing and writing to prospective employers “on spec” and buying numerous beers for your buddies in return for their “putting a good word
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010
You’re getting itchy feet. It’s time to move your career onwards and hopefully upwards. But where to start?
You could spend days trawling through the situations vacant, ringing and writing to prospective employers “on spec” and buying numerous beers for your buddies in return for their “putting a good word in” with their Manager or Company.
But since a large percentage of vacant positions are never advertised, you could be missing that perfect job. HR departments are swamped with speculative applications and all too often it is difficult for them to retrieve your details at a later date if something suitable does come up. And those buddies – how much influence do they really have?
So how do you get to know what’s out there and who you need to speak to? And do you really know what it is you want to do anyway?
Enter the Recruitment Consultant – potentially the person who can help you change the course of your career. But we’ve all had experiences that have not been so good so, how do you choose your Recruitment Consultant and get the best from the relationship?
Choosing Your Consultant
The first and arguably most important step is to choose your Consultant wisely.
Think first about how many agencies you want to register with. You may think that the more you register with the more vacancies you are likely to hear about but is that necessarily what you want or need? How common are the types of role you are looking for? The larger agencies such as Futures Resourcing carry jobs from most of the companies and limiting yourself to fewer agencies will limits the hassle for you! If you are looking for a National Sales Manager role however, you may want to register with a handful of carefully chosen agencies who handle management positions to ensure you get to hear of all vacancies as they arise. The Key here is to find a consultant team with wide contacts in the industry
Most importantly you should think about what it is you actually want from your Consultant. Is it career advice? Is it their knowledge of the industry and its key players? Is it a large number of positions to apply for? These may seem fundamental questions, but they are essential if you are to get the best from your Consultant.
If you are not sure what the next step is, or what you are or are not suited too, you need career advice. Make sure you choose a Consultant who knows the industry and the roles within it. They should have industry experience themselves, ideally in the function and at the level of the roles for which they are recruiting.
If career advice is what you are after you need a Consultant who can quickly assimilate a good understanding of your current experience and competencies. It’s important that they meet with you face to face wherever possible – telephone interviews, while a commonly used and helpful first screen, are not ideal opportunities to really get to know one another.
So be prepared to spend an hour or so with your Consultant, exploring every facet of your career to date. What have you done? What are you good at? What are you not so good at? What do you like? What don’t you like? All these questions and more will help your Consultant to form a picture of the right type of role for you and using their knowledge of the industry they will be able to advise on your future options. Remember, you need to give the consultant the ammunition to sell you, and find you the right position.
If you are happy that you know what you want to do, but are just not quite sure where you would like to do it, you need a Consultant with a broad knowledge of the industry and the players within it.
Which companies have the product portfolios that interest you? Which have the organisational structure that includes the type of role you seek? If you are looking for an office-based position, which are located in a convenient place for you to commute to? Which are of a size and have the organisational culture that you enjoy working in? Who are the key players in an organisation – have you worked with them before or do they have a reputation that you are attracted to or want to avoid!
If level of remuneration and employee benefits is an important factor in your career decisions, you need a Consultant who can advise you on the salary scales and benefits packages offered by different organisations. This will make dealing with the dreaded interview question “what salary are you looking for?” far easier to manage!
To get the best from your Consultant, you should feel confident that they have good contacts within organisations which they can utilise to good effect on your behalf – ask them who they know and the type and volume of business they have done in particular companies in the past.
Quality and Quantity of Vacancies
If you know what you want and you don’t have a particular preference where you do it, you may just want to explore as many different opportunities as you can before you make a decision.
It is in this situation that your Consultant can save you a good deal of time and ink presenting your details for as many different vacancies as you wish. Make sure you are clear regarding what types of positions you do and don’t wish to be considered for. Do you want to be briefed on every vacancy before your details are submitted or are you happy for your Consultant to move quickly on your behalf within a given brief and inform you retrospectively what has been done?
A note of caution here – if you are using multiple agencies do ask to know where and when your CV is sent and make detailed memoranda. Tell your Consultant if he or she calls you to discuss a role for which you have already allowed your details to be submitted via another agency. The last thing you want is your CV landing on one manager’s desk from five different places!
If you do wish to use this approach to your job search remember, quantity does not always equal quality. General wisdom has it that you should not “have a go” at any and all vacancies that come along without first having thought through what you want your next position to give you. You’ll soon get worn out and confused with two many balls in the area – better to focus on your goal and be selective in what you will consider.
Do’s and Don’ts
And finally, remember that Recruitment Consultants are human beings too!
Do be honest with your Consultant – they will be discrete but need to know if any skeletons are likely to jump out of your cupboard!
Do get back to your Consultant as soon as possible with feedback after interviews so that they know your views when the client calls with theirs!
Don’t be tempted to “improve” your current salary in the hope that you’re more likely to get a good increase in a new role……you will always get found out!
Don’t ever fail to turn up for an interview without calling your Consultant as far in advance as you can to let them know. A cancelled or re-arranged interview is acceptable – a "no show" is not!
Do try to give your Consultant some real life examples
Follow a few of these simple rules and you and your Consultant will get on just fine…..and that perfect job will be just around the corner! Good Luck!!
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