Category Archives: Recruitment Agencies

Forging relationships with Project Management recruitment consultants

This is an interesting topic in that a great deal of PM professionals I’ve spoken to, say that it can be an impossible feat trying to even get to speak with the recruiter direct. Skipping past all the usual excuses of gazillions of applications/calls/pressure blah blah blah, it is possible to strike up a relationship with these people as long as you make the right moves. Now, building a relationship doesn’t mean stalking… No one likes to be bombarded with calls and emails! Think about how you are approached by others and what techniques they might use which actually work and get your attention. Don’t bother if you haven’t made a good effort to sort out your CV and make it sell your abilities or haven’t done your research in regards to what type of job including which field etc you want to apply for moving forward – and for goodness sake, be realistic, you are not jumping into a programme manager role from support position. No matter how good you are and how great your sales patter – recruiters cannot seek you into their clients when you have unrealistic aspirations.

  • Do your research – find the agencies and individuals who handle your type of roles
  •  Make contact with the identified individuals by dropping them a line and asking if it would be possible to have a chat.
  •  Make sure you send a well written CV ahead of your call so the recruiter can see your background.
  •  Don’t be pushy, no one likes to be bullied.
  •  Do what you say you’ll do, if you’ve arranged to call at a certain time, then do so.
  •  Make sure you are clear about what you want to discuss and stick to the point – recruiters are busy and don’t appreciate disorganised candidates bumbling on.
  •  Treat others how you wish to be treated in return, this means everyone, receptionists etc all count!

Business relationships

I remember a candidate working hard to build up a relationship with me, back in my PM recruitment days, we would have a chat on a bi-weekly basis and even though I wasn’t 100% I could place him, I continued to humour him when one day a role came in which was a good match for his skills. I thought about him immediately as I knew I was due a call, we discussed and I agreed to present his CV to my client. Now he wasn’t an exact match but knowing the client well, I knew I could sell him in. Having done so I was pleased to announce that an interview had been arranged for my candidate. He was very happy and so the interview coaching began, I spent quite a lot of time making sure the candidate knew all the was to know about the role and business, and ran through typical interview questions – ensuring the preparation was top notch. After all I knew he would have to shine at interview to beat off his competitors who had a closer match to the role. All was running swimmingly until a day before the interview I received an email…. Yes an email, not a call, from my candidate saying he was pulling out of the interview. Obviously I wasn’t best happy, but c’est la vie, I informed my client and made up for the disappointment with a new candidate (who was offered an interview and eventually got offered the role). So on my part I wasn’t too bothered, however I vowed I would not work with the candidate again as I had stuck my neck out for him and he had been so rude.

A few weeks later I received a call from said candidate who had the front to ask me to put him forward to other roles, I explained as politely as possible that I wouldn’t be doing that and he persisted to ring me regularly to the point I got all my calls screened and told all staff under no circumstances to put his call through. I thought he had got the message but a few months after leaving the PM recruitment business I received a text from a colleague telling me he had been in touch again…. Thankfully my former colleague did not pass on my contact details! And that is how not to make and break relationships!


Job offers – PM Job Tips

I have been working with a recent graduate to get his CV up to scratch for his first job in his chosen field, we have produced a good, strong CV and also been through some careers coaching to ensure he is applying for the right roles and in the right way. As he started to apply for positions he found a great deal of interest from recruiters and direct from employers, so much so that he had a number of interviews lined up and was now being prepped ready for these when he came across an awkward situation with a recruiter.

To set the scene; he had already been through a 2 stage interview with company A and was due to go for a 2nd interview with company B when he received a call from the recruiter representing company A telling him he had an offer for the position – great news! However the candidate wanted to go for his 2nd interview with company B later the following day as he had a preference for this position/company. Being new to all this, the candidate explained his situation to company A recruiter and asked for a little time to consider his application. Bearing in mind 24 hours since his offer had been made hadn’t passed this shouldn’t be an issue. However recruiter representing company A then started to pile on pressure, stating that the offer may be withdrawn if he didn’t accept now and that he had a list of other suitable candidates which he could supply to company A.

Offer letters

The candidate called me and explained the situation asking what he should do, he feared being left in a position where he would have no offers at all should company B not make an offer and company A may withdraw offer. I pointed out that he should be in receipt of an offer letter as a minimum from company A but ideally they should be sending over a contract as there is no real offer until you have something in writing. I also pointed out that I doubted company A were threatening to revoke the offer and that it was likely the recruiter was saying this as a bullying tactic to get him to take his role – clearly his commission was at stake.

After a lengthy discussion we agreed that any company offering and withdrawing within 24 hours might not be the company you would want to work for, but giving them the benefit of the doubt we said a positive move forward would be to ask for the offer in writing for consideration (and buying some time for the other interview to take place). When the candidate asked the recruiter for an offer letter/contract the recruiter said it is not normal practice to send out such documentation without acceptance of the role. As the candidate regaled the conversation to me it became clear that recruiter A was getting rather desperate and saying anything to get the candidate to accept the role.

This kind of practice is not on and can really damage the reputation of the company the recruiter is representing, not to mention lose a good candidate for them, the good news is that the 2nd interview at company B was a success and an offer was extended on the spot to the candidate who has accepted and starts next week.

It is important to stay in control in these situations, do not be bullied into taking a role and always ask for an offer letter/contract as you may find yourself with no firm offers in place – you are entitled to take some time to consider an offer and it isn’t unreasonable to take a couple of days, keep your cards close to your chest about other opportunities when being pressured as this can lead to additional pushing from recruiters. Gut instinct should play a good part in decision making, don’t let fear of losing an opportunity make your decisions for you. If you are commanding a good level of interest elsewhere then you won’t be on the shelf long before more offers come your way.

How to Make the Most of a Recruitment Agency

When we enter the job-seeking market, our first port of call is usually a recruitment agency. It may be tempting to let the recruiters do the donkey work for us and sit back and wait. However, utilising a recruitment agency to our best potential will have more impact on what is offered by way of a job. Recruiters will always want to protect their business and offer what their clients want, but, they need us to fill the positions so they can get paid for their services.

Be Your Own Best Advocate

We are responsible for how we market ourselves, not the agency. The agency will promote what we promote to them. They will advise on CV writing techniques, give plenty of job leads, however, it is up to us how they will promote what we have to offer a potential employer. Using a recruitment agent is not the middleman, treat the agency as if they were employing directly. We want the agent to find us the best role, we want them to place us and we want them to use us.

Do the research

Widen the Net & Register with Various Agencies

We don’t have to place all our eggs in one basket. Registering with different agencies will spread our details far and wide. While there are many smaller agencies who offer a more bespoke and localised service, national agencies are suitable for a wider recruiting audience. Other benefits of this, are we can tailor-make our CVs and covering letter exactly the same which reduces the chance of cross-recruiting and companies seeing the same name with different details if registering with various agencies in our sector. Now, this doesn’t mean we are telling fibs on our details, but it is no secret that people have a tendency to embellish the truth on job application forms. There is little worse than a potential employer faced with the same name but two completely different CVs.

Agencies Which Offer Jobs in your Niche

If we are in a profession then registering with agencies which deal particularly with our sector will be a more suitable option. There is little point in a medical secretary registering with an accountancy specialised agency. Utilising an agency which specialises in the sector we are looking to work in is essential for securing the position we want. All sector agencies are all well and good, but the chances are we will be up against a much bigger crowd.

Keep It Simple

We want the agency to promote us well. Don’t make the mistake of over-loading them with information that is completely irrelevant. Utilise the agency for employment techniques, not golf skills or how we can run up a pair of curtains in an hour. In this age of ‘tell all’ with social media networks and varying advice on how to ‘get the perfect job’ recruiters will be interested in our work skills, not our recreational skills. We are not looking for new friends, we are hoping to seek a fabulous job. Always be professional and alert, we don’t have to be shy, but we don’t have to shoot ourselves in the foot either and end up in the bottom of an in-tray.

Work as a Team

When looking for a job, we need to be pro-active and help the agent to find us employment. Jobs are hard to find in this climate and we need to respond to calls, emails and letters in a professional manner. Remember, agents are busy people trying to run a business and we have to be pro-active in helping them and we are in essence, representing the agency to their clients. We never know when we might need the agency again, so we need to mind our Ps and Qs.

One Last Piece of Advice

Recruitment agencies are a fantastic way of finding new employment on both a temporary and also a permanent basis. It can be especially useful to use an agency that specialises in your niche area of recruitment.

When I was in further education I used to use recruitment agencies when looking for temporary childcare work during the summer break. I always preferred the temporary work offered through the childcare recruitment agency I used rather than the more general agencies I was also registered with.

Ros Davies writing for Lebreton Recruitment the leading staffing agency for childcare recruitment is the UK.