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The recruitment agency: friend or foe?

November 17, 2017 by Storm Crow

The recruitment agency: friend or foe?

With the semester over, some of you will be getting ready to apply for graduate jobs. When you do, this could involve dealing with recruitment agencies. Some people will tell you to steer far away from these companies, but some might recommend them highly – saying if it wasn’t for a recruiter they’d still be struggling to find a job. Just like any situation there’s two sides to a story.

Here’s some key information to think about if you ever come into a recruiter’s path:

What does a recruitment agency do?
You’ll probably come across companies such as Michael Page or Hudson during your searches on job boards like Seek. They’ll be advertising a role for another company, but won’t give any details as to who that company is; you’ll just get a rundown of the responsibilities and skills required. They, essentially, source talent.

Who is the recruiter?
A recruiter’s role is to bridge the gap between employer and employee, by narrowing the amount of suitable candidates and sourcing the right talent for a job. In return for connecting the employer with a great candidate, the recruiter earns a bonus fee of 20-25% of the hired employee’s salary (an added expense to the employer). However, if you don’t get the job the recruiter earns nothing.

Pool of advice
Recruiters generally specialise in an area or industry, so they have knowledge of emerging themes your sector is currently looking for within candidates. They know what positions are available, what questions might be asked at interview and what stand-out candidates look like.

So, if they offer you advice about your resume and think you should change something – look into it. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain accurate feedback and adjust your application strategy.

Connections everywhere
The recruitment system is like turning up to a party and only knowing one person. That one person then introduces you to five other people and before you know it, you’re all having a conversation and getting to know each other.

A recruiter can connect you with lots of employers in their network who are looking to fill roles at their organisations. Remember, not all vacancies are advertised online – so they may even know about a role offline which you could apply for.

The employers’ interests always come first
But, don’t be misled – the recruiter works for the employer, not those looking for the job. At the end of the day, the employer pays the recruiters commission – so it’s understandable the loyalty rests with them. So we wouldn’t recommend totally relying on them to find you work.

Using a recruiter but still struggling to find work?
Recruiter’s don’t guarantee work, they just connect you with opportunities. But, if you can’t seem to get past that initial interview stage, don’t kick yourself too hard. Recruiter’s say that sometimes employers need to fill a quota, and at the particular time you applied they might have needed to fill the gap in another way. These circumstances are unfortunately out of your control.

But even if you don’t land a job through an agency, keep in contact with your recruiter if you’re still looking for a role. Building and maintaining relationships is so important in the professional workforce; you never know when you may need to tap into them. Head along to our Graduate Gateway series happening at the end of this month and attend the Stop Googling, Start Networking workshop.

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