Everybody gets to be a job seeker in their adult life! I have had the privilege of being a job seeker, the employer who is
looking to hire someone for a job and the recruitment agency that is looking
for the right person for the job. Recruitment agencies do not have the best
reputation out there and they do little to cover themselves in glory. Their
purpose is to serve both the hiring company and the job seeker’s best interests.
It requires a strong ability to balance a conflict of interest if you serve two
masters. Most people actually believe the recruitment agency serves the hiring
employer and not the interests of the job seeker. Personally, I do not have any
confusion as to whom I serve as for me both are equally as important for my
success to be sustainable. Given the experience people have had when they are
looking for a job, I can see why the belief system of “recruitment agencies do
not work for you” reigns supreme.
Job seekers can be managed much better in the recruitment process and today’s practices leave me wondering what has happened
to the human element in this critical Human Resources Management function. Companies
have values which revolve around people and yet in this process where the
intention is to attract the right fit person for a job, prospective candidates
are treated less and less like people. I can say with confidence that not all
recruitment agencies are sharks (including those branded as Head-hunters albeit
the name is misleading). Not all hiring companies are arrogant and think they
are doing you a favour giving you a job opportunity. Not all job seekers are a
waste of time to sit down with to interview and look to understand what it is
they would like to do.
It is fair to acknowledge and apologise for the following mysterious happenings that you might experience while you search for a job:
Recruitment agencies are not your only way of searching and getting the job you want. They are part of your job search
strategy. The industry is like any other where some things work and some things
don’t. You choose which recruiter to engage, so know why you work with them to
assist you in your search, even if they Head-hunt you for the prospective job. It
is flattering when someone calls you and tells you you are the ideal candidate,
so enjoy the romance aspect in being contacted and then look at everything
objectively in terms of how it serves you. Empower yourself by interviewing the
recruiter as well, completing your own research as to:
· Where they are positioned. What kind of search and placements do they specialise in?
· Who is their client base? Do they represent employers that you want to join?
· What is the experience
of the agent that will be helping you with your search? The brand of the
company which is the recruitment agency is not necessarily aligned to the
personal brand of the recruitment agent.
· Be certain that they
do have a mandate from the client (the prospective employer) to search for
candidates on their behalf.
· Be certain that there
is a real job behind the advert, rather than the recruitment agency looking for
I am not saying lose all trust and look for signed off documents to validate mandates! I am saying don’t be naive in your search.
Apply some thought as to keeping yourself empowered in the process rather than
manipulated with no clue as to where your CV goes. As a “customer” you also
want your needs satisfied so you will upset a couple of recruitment agents that
don’t want to work with you and those requirements, but that does not mean you
will lose all chances of landing that job that you seek.
I recently read an article with the title, “R.I.P. Recruitment Search Agencies. Thanks for all your contributions but you will not be missed”. The
article itself was not impressive in my opinion. What was interesting was the
reaction it got from recruiters. Could it be that some of the contents was true
then? We are all different, and we all operate differently as recruitment
agents. Some methodologies are sustainable, and some make the quick buck but do
not build sustainable relationships.