Often people are unsure about how to use a employment agency. Many candidates are hesitant about approaching agencies and are unsure about what to expect from consultants. The truth is enlisting the help of an employment agency can be very beneficial to your job search. Employment agencies have the inside track and are trusted by companies to present only the best candidates for the job. Essentially agencies are the eyes and ears of potential employers.
Which one to choose?
You should always sign up to more than one employment agency, simply because it is better to have a team of consultants working for you giving you access to more positions and exposing you to a broader base of potential employers.
Choose a couple of local agencies and do your research. Smaller local agencies know the business environment they work in and try harder to represent the smaller number of candidates in their database. It is pointless registering with a specialist architect agency if you are looking for employment as a school teacher. However, if you are an architect don’t just approach specialist agencies, find a couple of general employment agencies as well. General agencies tend to have specialist clients but they also charge smaller fees which makes you a more attractive candidate. Once you have made an appointment make sure to be on time.
Suit up – make a good impression
When you register with an employment agency, dress the part. Even if the agency is casual you need to treat this as if it were the actual job interview. Dress smartly and professionally, you need to be neat and polished from head to toe. Make provisions for the weather, dress comfortably but don’t be sloppy. Women should be modest with makeup, jewellery and tidy hair. Men should dress in a suit, shave and make sure they look sharp. The point of the employment agency interview is to make a good impression so you can get more referrals and interviews with the agencies clients.
Bring your Curriculum Vitae
Bring a couple of concise two page CV’s with a separate page of references. Your CV should be typed and in pristine condition. This means no bends or folds and no stains of any kind. Make sure you have checked your CV thoroughly for spelling and grammar before printing. In most scenarios the recruitment agencies will already have your CV from emails or online. Even if the employment agency doesn’t want another copy of your CV, some recruitment agencies have their own style application/resume form they want you to fill out. Essentially it will contain the same information and may seem pointless but if you have a CV with you it is easy to copy the information. This way you can easily and consistently provide the same information.
Even though you have an appointment you might want to bring a book to pass the time. Recruitment agencies are notoriously busy and often run over their allotted time for interviews. There tends to be a couple of people showing up for interviews at the same time. You may also be required to fill out an employment agency styled CV. The reason it was a good idea to bring your CV is because the quicker you complete your application form, the quicker you’ll get into the interview room.
Know your programs, practice your typing skills, prepare by knowing your CV and career aspirations. Some agencies require candidates to take standard tests to determine the level of competency using certain software programs, such as Microsoft Word Microsoft Power Point, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop and other industry specific specialist programs.
Be honest in your employment agency application. People have a tendency to overestimate while agencies have a tendency to underestimate computer skills, so let your results speak for themselves. These tests are designed to identify work efficiency, so accurate fast typing using shortcuts will speed up tasks and impress the consultant. Your competency tests need to be better than the standard to be considered and the consultant will have your results available in the interview. However, if you have other professional abilities at your disposal the tests may be discarded, but try get the highest score possible.
Take the employment agency interview very seriously. Treat this as you would an actual job interview and try not to cancel or reschedule as this makes a bad impression. You really want to make a good first impression when you meet the consultant. Being on time, dressed appropriately with a professional CV devoid of errors and good competency scores will go a long way to helping you. Always be courteous, honest about your experience and clear about your goals. Know where and what type of business you want to work in, state salary expectation and if part-time or full-time employment is required. Use the interview to ask advice and discuss your option with the consultant. Be open to positions you will consider. Consultants are trained to identify transferable skills and career development opportunities.
Follow up your meeting with the consultant with a thank you email, sms or phone call. You can ask the consultant in the interview what method of contact they prefer. It is almost impossible for consultants to keep in contact with all their candidates. So don’t expect a phone call for a chat, consultants will only contact you if they have a suitable position for you. Contact the consultant regularly but don’t badger them. One communication a week should be sufficient to continually remind the consultant that you are still available. Staying in contact will improve your chances of when a position becomes available. Check the agencies website often and if there is a job posting you are interested in bring it to the consultants attention. If you are sent for a company interview, follow up with the consultant. Make sure you communicate how the interview went.