So after 20 years in professional recruitment, negotiating the recruitment minefield has taken me in every direction possible, with some unexpected twists and turns along the way, some of my own making, some not and some you just wouldn’t believe (I’ll save those stories for another day). Travelling to each job-offer destination, it is so very easy when you are in the recruitment bubble to be a passenger and forget and lose touch with how it feels to be a Candidate, who may actually be experiencing a very different ride.
Truth Number One. You may not need to apply for your dream job via the recruitment agency advertising it
This one will hurt Agencies the most. If you prefer to have a Recruitment Agency represent you, then stick with them and to be fair, sometimes you don’t have a choice as this is the only way you can get an introduction. But now more than ever, Employers are getting wise to the reach of social media and the power of their own network. Employers may also advertise their vacancies on their corporate website, LinkedIn or on job boards. Or they may even be taking advantage of free websites like Indeed, Facebook and very shortly – Google Jobs. (Watch this space, Google Jobs will turn recruitment on its head when it lands).
If you prefer to apply directly, you might want to check these places first before you engage with a recruiter. Once you commit to an Agency however, you should progress via this route and not deviate.
Truth Number Two. Duplicate Candidate representation is not best settled by “first CV received”
This is probably the most controversial truth and has to be the biggest recruitment irritation, ever.
Duplication occurs when more than one Recruitment Agency recommends the same Candidate to an Employer. It’s a frustration for everyone – the Agencies both claim they “own” the Candidate, have T&CS in place and have their eye on the placement fee; the Candidate does not want nor need the negative attention and the Employer potentially may have two placement fees to pay. It’s messy.
The cleanest and customarily way for Employers to manage this is to apply a strict policy of whichever Recruitment Agency submits the CV past the post first – wins. This is just a recipe for disaster because it focuses on speed and not quality and certainly does not serve in the best interests of everyone involved. The fact of the matter is that Candidates can “choose” which Recruitment Agency they work with and the Employer can “choose” which Agency they prefer to work with. They both, however, should base their decision on the same question: who “initiated” the original interest in the Candidate which effectively led to the Candidate’s engagement?
By initiated, I mean which Recruitment Agency initially presented the opportunity to the Candidate, revealed the Company, qualified the Candidate and agreed with the Candidate that the Agency would represent and submit the Candidate? To do this properly takes a little longer than just firing off a CV – hence, in some instances, the second CV received is sometimes fundamentally the right choice. (I have the battle scars to prove this!).
Truth Number Three. There is no danger in spread – betting
Frequently I’ve heard “I’m only working with 2 recruiters”, which is fine – you trust these people but they will only be able to offer you the opportunities which they are working on, so in effect, you are massively limiting your career options. Talk to people confidentially, raise your profile online and raise your head above the parapet. Your job market is a lot bigger than just 2 or 3 recruiters, why restrict your options?
The recruitment landscape is changing incredibly fast and consequently, the way in which we secure our next step career move is evolving too. Let’s not forget, it’s a candidate-driven market, where demand for certain skills, experience and knowledge is at its highest yet.
The power of networking and the leverage of social media is opening up so many more ways to surface hidden career opportunities and widen the career reach for job-searchers (passive or otherwise), without necessarily having to rely on traditional recruitment methods.
Now more than ever you can take control of your job search.