You have made the decision to move on and are armed with a killer resume. You can almost taste your next dream job… but where to from here? In addition to trawling through the job boards for advertised vacancies and scanning the Saturday papers, inevitably you will benefit from establishing relationships with key recruitment specialists in your market. So who should you talk to? Where should you start and how do you make sure your experience is a positive and useful step in your career search?
Like any services industry, recruitment has its fair share of bad press; however for every negative story, there are also thousands of successful appointments, positive introductions and beneficial professional relationships built.
The first step is to identify the recruitment agencies that best suit your career search and are relevant within your market. For example, there is little point in talking to a marketing recruitment specialist about securing an engineering role. Sometimes the best way to identify recruiters who are active in your market is to browse their website and advertised vacancies. If an agency is regularly advertising positions you might be interested in, it could be worth giving them a call to make contact.
Build a select network
No 'one' person has every network or professional contact in town, so it is worth meeting a number of specialist consultants in your area to cover off all bases. However, whilst you should build relationships with the recruiters who are actively working in your specialisation, there is little point in meeting with everyone you can get through to. It is hard enough keeping up with multiple job applications, so rather than traipsing around to every agency, spend the time meeting with relevant consultants who are interested in providing you with the best and most relevant advice for your search. It is especially important that you remain in control of your resume and know who is representing you and where, every time. Over-representation and having lots of agencies sending around your resume without specific purpose and /or consent is a brand destroying exercise and more often than not works to your detriment.
Why work with a recruiter?
Professional recruitment consultants are experts in matching great people to great roles and even better, their career depends on it. As a result, recruitment consultants are an invaluable source of information on the market - who is hiring, when are they hiring and what are they looking for? Recruiters can provide advice on how to approach your preferred organisations, resume and interview tips and even provide proactive recommendations in areas that might not have even occurred to you. A good recruiter will also take their recruiter's hat off and play the role of objective career advisor too - they can assist you with weighing up the pros and cons of different career paths. If you want the best out of your tax return you go to a professional accountant; to get the best out of your job search, you should consult a recruitment expert.
When you attend your recruiter interview, it is important you present as if you were going to a top job interview as this is indicative of how you will represent yourself with their clients. The better your agency interview, the more compelled your consultant will be to represent you on new opportunities. Be on time and prepared to discuss your experience in detail.
Be honest and clear
Your recruiter is meeting with you to clearly understand and define your goals and aspirations in order to a) help source your next opportunity, and b) provide you with advice, recommendations and referrals that will assist you in your search. It is important that you provide your recruiter with genuine information about what you do and don't want and openly discuss your motivations and career history.
During your search, there's a possibility that your criteria might change. For example, you may have more flexibility on total remuneration or be happy to consider a 2IC role after only considering "Head of" roles. You may consider other geographies or be open to industries that were initially not of interest. Be sure to communicate this with your recruiter.
Set communication rules
A good recruiter may meet and be assisting between 10-20 potential candidates per week, all of whom have different requirements. This makes for a very busy life! Subsequently, it is important to set communication expectations and agree on the best way to work together moving forward. To avoid feeling like your calls are not being returned or that you have slipped through the cracks, agree on timeframes and methods to touch base. It might be a call only when a great potential opportunity comes up, or an email check-in every two weeks. Discuss what works for you both.
Do send your resume in Word format and not as a PDF otherwise your name will not come up in some recruitment databases and search engines.
Do build a network of recruitment professionals and stay in contact.
Do think of a list of organisations you would love to work for and ask your recruiter for advice on targeting these.
Do ask questions. Your recruiter is a professional advisor and can offer helpful information or insight in areas you are uncertain.
Don't give consent to have your details 'floated' to organisations without specific consent.
By building relevant contacts, understanding mutual goals, and setting the ground rules, you can enhance your career journey and ultimately secure your next position. As an added benefit, once you're in your new role your recruiter can help you hire talent for your new team. They know you, your team and the company, so are more likely to be able to find a good fit. In the event your preferred recruiter isn't fortunate enough to secure a role for you, make sure you stay in contact. A good recruiter will be there for you as your career progresses - for the long term.