Recruitment agent relationship paradox

Last month my position was made redundant and I found myself in the market. Well, to be honest it was nicely timed for half term and gave me time for a few DIY projects!

With hindsight though, I could have set about the job hunt differently.

So there I was: at risk of redundancy; redundant; then on the job market. What did I do? Of course, I picked up the phone, emailed and pinged a LinkedIn message to those helpful, thoughtful recruitment peeps that I’d built up in my contact list.

Like many I’ve built relationships with a handful of recruiters over the years. Those that have secured previous roles, got me interviews for good roles, tailored the CV, and even taken the time to meet for lunch or beers occasionally. These people have invested some time in getting to know me and I distinguish them apart from those just running the numbers, picking out buzzwords in CVs and phoning with the Oracle DBA role in Manchester when I’m clearly a Java developer in London.

What happened? Well I got some interviews. But basically I started practicing with the good leads that I got from those agents I’d liked to have “paid back” for their years of getting to know me.

The result? you can probably guess. Blew the first few chances and started to improve with practice. Glad to say after a few weeks I secured a couple of offers, met some more good agents and accepted an offer.

My advice therefore is this. At first just get interviews in for practice, mostly these first ones are on the phone, and if they’re not ask if you can have a chat first, you want to get some practice in. Also take some technical tests, the variety of these used by employers is amazing. Un-intuitively hold back on talking to the one’s you are interested in, and hold off on contacting your preferred agents until you feel you can give their leads your best shot.

I’m not, but if I were a recruitment agent and someone I knew has just joined the market I’d have to ask when they last interviewed. If they are just getting started maybe consider, again counter intuitively, encouraging them to go out and get some practice in before you put them in front of this great job you have in mind for them. If they are naturals and get offers during the process well, that shouldn’t hurt as they are bound to interview well with an offer under their belt already.

Above purely my own thoughts, from having recently gone through the process over the last few weeks.

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