The sheer amount of recruitment agencies that job seekers have to choose from today is simply vast, from specialist boutique firms to the well-known truly global recruitment firms, job seekers are spoiled for choice. Ultimately the type of recruitment agency you decide to pick will depend on your specific needs and career goals.
It is therefore important that you conduct as much research as possible into finding the right one that closely matches your requirements. Below we have listed the main things that you need to take into account when choosing a recruitment agency.
Bigger is not always better
Start off by listing down what you want in your recruiter, will you go for a well-known and trusted big player in the recruitment market? Or will a smaller specialist firm suit your career needs better? While larger firms may be an attractive proposition due to their market 'clout' they may not be ideal when you consider that a larger firm tends to specialise across a wider field, effectively catering for the masses, with roles across all industries. While this may suit an individual on the first steps of their career ladder, a seasoned professional may require the experience that comes from a smaller, specialist firm that can understand market expectations a lot better.
Added to this many smaller 'boutique' firms offer a career service to their candidates such as specialist careers advice. Many lesser known recruitment agencies are staffed by recruiters who themselves have worked in and may even specialise in your field. This valuable industry knowledge and insight may be vital for candidates working within IT that seek the latest trends or need to know the next 'big thing' such as a new software development that will have a direct impact on their working conditions.
Know what you want from the relationship
While it is true that recruiters represent the clients on their books, a good recruiter will take their commitment to their candidates seriously. Many agencies will offer free careers advice, tips or a mentoring service as part of their ongoing commitment, therefore before you register with any firm make sure you choose an agency that can offer this.
Read between the lines
Did you know that only about 15-20% of jobs are actually advertised (Quintcareers) many roles that you see on jobs boards only represent a small fraction of actual marketplace vacancies. If many firms are not advertising these roles publicly then one of the best ways to find out about the newest 'hidden' roles is to pick a recruiter that are happy to share and relay this knowledge to you, effectively giving you the chance to apply for these jobs.
Research the company's 'hype'
Previous candidate referrals and testimonials are a great starting point to how an agency treats the candidates on their books, but that is only one part of the story. If you have friends that have previously used the agency then ask them how they were treated. Questions that include:
- "Did the agency take the time to get to know their specific requirements?"
- "Were the staff courteous and professional and understand the marketplace?"
- "Were they kept informed at every stage of the recruitment process?"
- "Did the recruiter 'follow up' to see if the candidate was getting on well once securing a placement?"
All of these questions and deciding factors will help to determine if the agency is a reputable one and is worth registering your details with.
What other factors do you look for when choosing a recruitment agency?