There are many benefits to working with an agency recruiter – access to unposted jobs, someone rooting for you behind the scenes, specific interview preparatory information, and career advice. Agency recruiters are the middle people between companies that are hiring and candidates looking for work. We are professional matchmakers juggling a variety of tasks: actively recruiting candidates, screening resumes, answering emails, calls, social networking, scheduling interviews, gathering feedback, understanding our clients and their hiring needs, and constantly networking. We want to build successful partnerships with the candidates we represent, and are sure you want to the same with us! Below are a few tips for entering into a relationship with a recruiting agency, and fostering a great working relationship.
Step 1: Initial Touch
Each recruiting agency functions in a different way. Recruiting agencies, and internal recruiters for that matter, appreciate when applicants take the time to understand their process and then follow it. Take a few minutes to research the company you would like to apply to. Check out the website – instructions are usually listed there. If not, call the main line and ask how to go about being considered for open positions.
Step 2: The Phone Screen
After submitting your resume, the usual first step is a phone screen. If you are actively job searching, make sure your voicemail message is professional and that your voicemail box has enough space for new messages.
If a recruiter calls you and you are caught off guard, it is totally ok to ask if you can call them back. You might be at work, on the subway, on a busy street, or just not in the right space in to talk. Thank them for calling; ask for their contact information and a good time to call them back. Just make sure you follow up at the agreed upon time!
When you do connect, be clear, concise and answer the questions asked. Try to avoid going on long, rehearsed tangents about your job search.
Step 3: The In Person Interview
An interview with an agency recruiter is a formal first round interview. It is a different kind of interview than one that you will have at a company that is considering hiring you directly, but it is still a professional interview nonetheless. Keep in mind that the reason an agency recruiter wants to meet you is to see how you present yourself in person. Dress professionally, don’t be late, don’t be rude to the receptionist, and stay professional the whole time.
The major difference with an interview at an agency versus one a company that’s hiring directly is that you can be completely honest about what’s important to you in your job search, why you left your last job, and the feedback about interviews you’ve been on. If your ideal position is something you think is too good to be true, tell us anyways. We want to know! Each company has a different work culture and set of expectations for their employees, and there’s a good chance what you’re looking for is out there. Our favorite kinds of matches to make are the ones that are ideal for both you and the company that’s hiring. We won’t be able to make this match unless you tell us exactly what you want. Just keep in mind that there is a difference between explaining your ideal situation, and presenting an ultimatum.
If you have questions about next steps, the process etc. ask them in the interview. Our goal is that you walk out of the door with a thorough understanding of our process and what to expect moving forward. If you have questions about that, please ask!
Step 4: Following Up and Checking In
Following up appropriately after an interview is a delicate balance. Always follow up with a quick thank you note (email is totally fine). During the in-person interview, ask how you should follow up with your recruiter and then do it. Almost everyone is busy in the workforce, including recruiters so keep follow ups simple, direct and polite.
Do your due diligence and keep your recruiter updated on how your job search is going. When they ask, be honest. What are you finding? What’s working for you, what’s not? If they approach with a new position and you just had a final interview for your dream job, tell them! Are you feeling happier at your current job and want to put the brakes on your search. Tell your recruiter!
Honesty and transparency are always the best policies when it comes to your job search, especially if you want to form a worthwhile relationship with a recruiter.
Step 5: Enjoy Your New Job!
As mentioned before, make sure to keep your agency recruiter in the loop on how your job search is progressing. Hopefully they have been able to approach you with opportunities, help you land interviews, and have even helped you find your next job. However, due to factors outside of all our control, that may not have happened, so don’t take it personally. We are all on the same mission to help you meet your career goals, whatever they may be.
Once you start a new job, keep in touch with your recruiter! Many agencies (including Clarity!) give referral bonuses and we love writing those checks for the great people you send our way.
Hopefully this information will be a useful resource for you as you embark in your job search. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below. Happy searching!