Everything you need to know about using a recruitment agency for the first time

Jun 14, 2020

If you’re looking for your first role after graduating from university or college, you should try to use any resource you can, especially in a tough job market.

Did you know that using a recruitment agency is completely free and can help put you in front of fantastic employers in your field?

At Tiger Recruitment, we can help you find graduate jobs available, even though the pandemic has meant that some roles have been put on hold.

Below is our complete guide to using a recruitment agency for the first time, what to look for in a great agency and tips to help you get the most out of the experience. 

This is a guest post by Rebecca Siciliano, the Managing Director of Tiger Recruitment.

What is a recruitment agency? 

A recruitment agency matches businesses and private individuals with potential job seekers. A recruitment consultant acts as a sort of middleman between the job seeker and an employer throughout the hiring process, organising interview times and relaying feedback to the relevant party.

If you’re a job seeker, this is an entirely free service – all you have to do is register with the agency and they will do the work for you. When a placement is finalised, it’s the company who pays the agency for helping them find a fantastic employee. 

How do I know if an agency is right for me?

There are hundreds of different recruitment agencies out there. Depending on the role or the industry you want to work in, you can register with either a generalist or specialist agency to help. 

For example, Tiger focuses on business support, private household, hospitality, virtual and HR recruitment. We specialise in roles like personal assistants, executive assistants, receptionists and office managers, alongside staff for private households, hospitality establishments or HR teams.

We are also industry-agnostic, whereas other recruitment agencies may focus on one particular industry, like media or finance. Do your research to find the best agency for your intended career path. 

It’s important that your consultant listens to your preferences and aims to match you with a role to suit your personality as well as your skills.

This is important as you’re so much more than your CV! Look for agencies that have good testimonials from other job seekers, or ask around in your own circle to see if anyone you know has had a great experience with an agency. 

Benefits of using a Recruitment Agency

There are many benefits to enlisting the help of an agency throughout the recruitment process.

First, your consultant will support you with moral support and coaching at every stage of the job hunt, from the first interview until you sign your employment contract (and beyond)!

It will also save you time, as your consultant will work to find roles that suit you, rather than you having to scour job boards and send hundreds of individual applications. 

As some employers exclusively use recruitment agencies to source particular roles, it’s possible your consultant will put you forward for a position you wouldn’t otherwise have had access to.

Lastly, many job agencies offer support and resources for job seekers, which is extremely helpful for graduates entering the job market for the first time.

Whether you’re looking for CV and career advice, interview training or professional development opportunities, a good recruitment consultant will be able to help you.  

How do I register? 

The registration process differs slightly for every agency, however, you will usually submit an initial enquiry online if you’re interested in registering.

If they feel your experience is suited to their clients and roles, they will then invite you in for a face-to-face registration.

This is usually a 30-minute chat where your consultant will talk through your CV and ask questions about your experience and achievements. 

They will also use the opportunity to find out what you’re looking for in a role, including the types of companies you’d like to work for.

This allows them to gain an understanding of what environment you’re best suited to working in.

It’s not unusual for them to ask you to bring certain documents to your registration, like your passport (to prove you have the right to work in the country), or other qualifications. 

What happens after I’ve registered?

After your registration interview, your consultant will upload your details into a database. This will allow you to be considered for any vacancies called into the agency that fit your skills and preferences.

If you’re applying for a business support role, you may be asked to complete skills testing to assess relevant skills such as touch-typing or Microsoft Office proficiency. 

If your consultant finds a role they want to put you forward for, they will check with you to make sure you want to be considered for a position. A consultant should never share your details with an employer without first asking your permission.

Generally, a shortlist of three-five candidates is then sent to the company seeking to hire. From there, they will make the decision to invite you in for an interview with them. 

Agency etiquette

When using a recruitment agency, it’s important to follow a few rules of etiquette to ensure your consultant puts your forward for as many opportunities as possible.

Firstly, keep your interview slot with the agency – if you’re late or you cancel at the last minute, it may lead them to believe you’re unreliable. It’s also a good idea to dress smartly for your agency interview and have a positive attitude (think of it as a practice run for future job interviews). 

Next, make sure to return phone calls from your consultants in a timely manner, as they need to be able to act quickly with the client in order to stay ahead. This is also an indicator of your enthusiasm for a role and will encourage your consultant to put your forward for the opportunity. 

Finally, if your consultant puts your forward for an interview with a client, you should conduct your own research into the company and interviewer. Alongside this, make sure you read the interview brief and job spec carefully, as this will allow you to be as prepared as you possibly can be. 

lady using a recruitment agency service

Tips on how to work with an agency and secure your dream role 

  • Make sure you’re in regular contact with your recruitment agency via email, updating them on any changes to your circumstances
  • Always check your agency’s website to see the current roles they have on their books 
  • Follow your recruitment agency on social media as they will post job listings that may interest you, as well as resources to help you with your job hunt 
  • Take some time to ensure your CV is polished and well-formatted so it stands out from the rest
  • When you’ve been to the interview, call your consultant and give them feedback so they can pass it on to the client
  • Once you’ve been presented with a job offer, give your answer to your consultant and return any contracts or paperwork as soon as possible

Finding your first full-time role can be daunting, especially given the current situation and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, by partnering up with a fantastic recruitment agency, they will be able to offer you the help and support you need to navigate your job hunt. 

Author bio: Rebecca Siciliano is the Managing Director of Tiger Recruitment, a consultancy that specialises in business support, HR, private, hospitality and virtual recruitment.

Tiger Recruitment is headquartered in London with offices in Dubai and New York.

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