Dealing with recruitment consultants

There are thousands of them in the UK. They guard the door to many thousands of opportunities (or they hold the key to such opportunities, if you like to put things more positively). So, you will probably have to deal with them at some point in your career.

So, how can you manage the relationship in a way that is mutually beneficial? Turns out it’s not actually that difficult. It just requires the professional skills you already claim to have!

Here is a quick run down of the main principles. With these you won’t go far wrong.

1. Be honest with them – about what you do and don’t want. Remember if you change your mind after they have recommended you to their client, it makes them look bad and can cost them the client. Nobody benefits from this.

So a good consultant will still call you next time, after you have said no to a job that wasn’t right for you. A ‘no’ saves them time, allows them to look elsewhere to fill the position and gets them closer to finding you the right job.

All that is required for all of this to work seamlessly is effective 2 way communication. Well, I didn’t say it was always easy!

 2. Do what you say you will do. If you say you will send your CV to them on Tuesday afternoon, they might have promised it to a client the next morning. If you don’t send them it, what impression does that give? Remember their reputation is all they have to trade on.

3. Treat them like the employer. After all, they have been selected to represent the employer. Their judgement is relied upon. It makes sense to treat them with respect.

I once spoke to a candidate that told me he wouldn’t dress smartly to come and see me but he would for the employer. Sadly for him, he never got the opportunity.

4. NEVER play them off against each other. This is not a one off transaction. You might need that consultant’s help again in the future.

Obviously in return you should expect certain things from the consultants. They should only be recommending jobs to you that are suitable. They should do as they promise. They should not expect too much from you and should be understanding if you happen to choose an alternative job that is not with them.


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CV Writer and Interview Coach. Blogging about ways to improve your CV writing and job searching experience.

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