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Job Seekers: The Pitfalls of Using a Recruiter

Author: Dwayne Kelly

Published date: 2019/06

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You may read this title and think to yourself, “What? An article written by a seasoned recruiter with a title like that?”

..Well yes, you read correctly. But in no way am I saying that by using a recruiter while job hunting an absolute no-go.

I mean, why would I have been in this industry for nearly a decade if I had a philosophy like that?

No, what this article is about, is discussing the pitfalls of using multiple recruiters when you decide the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence.

I believe most of you would be familiar with the saying ‘less is more’, and in this particular instance, when you decide to start talking to recruiters about new job prospects, it absolutely applies.

The first key mistake or pitfall people do when they decide to start looking for a new role, is to contact multiple recruitment agencies whilst heading to the trusty old SEEK website. Recruitment companies will typically have at least two consultants working within the same market, (and sometimes upwards of 3-4) who typically will always share candidates amongst themselves (nothing wrong with that). So, quickly run the numbers in your own head for a minute. If you are contacting multiple agencies, lets say 4. There is a possibility your details will be accessed by at least 8 consultants and potentially up to 16!

Having your details accessed by so many consultants can potentially end in disaster. There is greater risk of your details doubling up to the same clients, you as the candidate are far more prone to lose control of your CV and where it goes and who sees it. Limiting access to your CV gives you far more control in the long run.

Now, as a candidate of course you are not always going to know this is the case, especially if you are somebody who has been in a role for some years or new to using a recruitment agency. I firmly believe the easiest way to find a new role – or have access to the best roles and companies in the market – is by way of a Recruitment Consultant or Agency.

Consultants are across the market day to day, they have intimate knowledge of the companies they work with and represent you to, and make what can sometimes be a quiet stressful experience, an easy process by doing all the leg work of introductions, setting up interviews and chasing that all important offer of employment. They are there to support you through the resignation process, which can be very difficult for some people, and can give guidance and advice along the way.

HOW TO COMBAT THESE PITFALLS: Below I have listed some helpful tips to get you started, and avoid some possible hurdles and pitfalls you may encounter.

Do not go out to the market – Align yourself with 1 to 2 Agencies, maximum. As discussed above, there will may be multiple consultants in a single agency. Any more than that and you run the risk of your details potentially doubling up with a client who has a job on offer. As a potential employee, you should always show you have control over your CV and where it is sent.

Do your homework – when you are choosing who you wish to represent you, have a look at the agency’s website & see how long they have been established. This will give you a rough idea about how long they have been in the market and how well-known their brand is to your new prospective employer. When you do speak about roles and companies with consultants, ask them what their track record is like with ‘client A or client B’, ask the consultant how long they have worked in the industry and what relationships they have. After all, this consultant is representing your brand as much as you are representing theirs.

Never! – align with an agency or consultant that doesn’t make time for you. This is a partnership remember! And should be treated as such. One of the biggest misconceptions is recruiters don’t care about your needs and are simply chasing a fee. Recruiter’s do care about you and your needs. However, just like any other industry, there are always a few bad apples. Align with a recruiter who makes themselves available to you on the phone, via email and who is in constant contact giving you updates and informing you about the process.

Make sure you meet your consultant – never let a recruiter represent you that you have not met in person. 

Be informed – you are letting someone represent you and your career. It is simply not good enough to be kept in the dark as to where your CV is being sent. You should always be told what clients are receiving your CV.

Exclusivity – once you have decided who you want representing you, send your consultant a confirmation email saying they have exclusive authority to represent you to the clients they have discussed.

Have a wish list – there is nothing wrong with helping your consultant out and giving them a list of potential clients you want to work for. Sometimes this can help your consultant think outside the box and get your CV somewhere they may not have originally thought of.

You have choice – this is your career. You get to decide where you are represented or not represented. If you don’t want to be presented somewhere a consultant has suggested, tell them no, and that you wish to pursue other opportunities. Once again, this is a partnership and both parties need to be open and honest.

By following these tips, you should be well placed to have the right people representing you for your next career move. Enjoy the process and the new relationships you are about to forge.