How do you work effectively with a recruiter, in order to maximise your opportunities?

02 October 2018

Take it from a recruiter, we aren’t always perceived as the most trustworthy, even reliable of people. For those of you reading this who think I’m stating the blindingly obvious, note, this is not an article with a view to mocking the reputation of the recruiter, that bandwagon has gone through town many times over. And I'm not coming close to suggesting there aren’t good recruiters out there - It’s a minority that discredits the majority! But sometimes for access to that role you’ve been eyeing up for some time, you have to bite the bullet and work with a consultant you’d rather not. 

In these instances, you need to make the recruiter work for you, and take yourself out of the backseat. The recruitment industry comes with connotations, but by being proactive and employing a few key tactics, you can develop an effective relationship with the good recruiters out there, and ultimately improve your chances at securing your next move. 

It’s often the case that access to the best opportunities nowadays is through an agency, sure you might have a network that helps, or fancy your chances applying directly, but at the end of the day your best bet is to be represented by an agent. Direct access to the client, its HR function and the hiring manager are but a few of the luxuries a recruiter has, and as a candidate, your job is to utilise that advantage. 

Here are a few tips to help maximise your chances and work effectively with a recruiter. 

1) Find out everything an agent knows about the client. 

Usually, an agent will have a long-standing relationship with their client. They will understand the culture of an organisation, have an insight to its strategy and the personalities of the hiring managers they work for. Ask probing questions, if your agent doesn’t have an answer, ask them to find out. 

2) Ask to be prepared for an interview 

Interview preparation is common practice, but if you aren’t offered it, insist you get it. Ask your agent if they’ve worked with the hiring manager before, what has the feedback from other candidates been, what questions are they likely to ask, what is their interview style. Understanding what to expect in an interview will often make all the difference in standing out from the crowd. 

3) Don’t be afraid to manage yourself through a process 

There is a perception that agents have all the control over a process, that they hold the keys to the door. But you can make a difference by chasing up on feedback at all stages, whether that’s on your CV or how you performed on interview. If you aren’t successful, ask the agent for specific feedback, it will only help your chances in the future, don’t settle for just being told you aren’t progressing any further. 

4) Compare yourself to the competition 

You will never be able to garner specific insights on other candidates being represented in a process, but you can certainly get a general idea of who you are up against. Find out what level of experience other candidates have, how you match up, what are your strengths or weaknesses in comparison to other interviewees. Having this knowledge to hand equips you to approach an interview as effectively as possible. 

5) Engage and build trust with your consultant

Recruitment consultants will often talk to clients about their perceptions of a candidate. If you clearly have no time for them and see an agent as a means to an interview and nothing more, you might not be spoken of as positively as other candidates being represented. Give your recruiter a good reason to speak highly of you and sell your profile to the client, it makes a difference. 

Campbell North are dedicated to working for the benefits of both our clients and our candidates. If you are seeking a new role, or looking to hire, feel free to reach out.

If you have any questions or are a data scientist looking for your next role, then please connect with me on Linkedin and/or get in touch - bcreighton@campbell-north.com 

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