Are Recruitment Consultants Right for You?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 14 May 2019

What is a recruitment consultant and how do they work?

The overall goal of a recruitment agency is to find matching candidates for vacant jobs, using candidate information that may already be on their database, or taking the time to source new potential candidates. They work with the company hiring to find a potential candidate and put them forward for an interview. Placing candidates is how they make their money. Once a candidate has been placed by a recruitment consultant, they usually gain a commission. If they do not place a successful candidate in a job vacancy, they usually do not get paid from the hiring company for any work they may have done to help them.

Consultants are there for job-seekers who may need help with their job search. However, they can do more than just find you a job. They may help prep you for the job interviews they get you, they may help with your CV structure, design and overall help you with other large elements of your job search.

Using a recruitment consultant company is a decision you should make based on your own preferences and you should begin thinking about whether a recruitment consultant can help enhance your job search or not. There are both positives and negatives to using their services, and there can sometimes be quite a mixed bag of opinions. Recruitment consultants can sometimes get a bad reputation, and this can occasionally be down to their very salesy approach. Some people may see this as a negative trait to have, but it shows that the individuals you work with are doing everything they possibly can to help you get a job, therefore, some people see this as an extremely positive trait to have during a job search. It is a common misconception that consultants send just anyone to an interview. Recruitment consultants are not likely to send you to an interview that they think you won’t succeed in. Recruiters will spend their time prepping you, so believe that you are good enough. They must spend their time finding you, prepping you over the phone and often in person and that alone takes a lot of time. Most people know that recruitment consultants get commission from placing you in a role, so they must think you are worth hiring.

It’s important to take the time to learn about and talk to the consultant you will be working with. They want to know all about your CV and your experience and talking to them can help improve your self-confidence. Talking positively about yourself will help you see what you are capable of and hopefully help you when it comes to the interview. Take the time to read about the jobs they are listing, they will probably know if you haven’t read the job brief.

Reading online reviews can help you come to a decision about recruitment consultants. Reading other people’s experiences may help you to see how recruitment consultants can potentially help you. However, there are some job-seekers that just are not compatible with consultants, so be wary of any super negative comments. Take them into consideration if it suits you, but make sure you have an open mind. It may help just calling up the agency (if they don’t call you first) and seeing how you feel after a conversation, you don’t owe them anything if you change your mind. It’s better to let them know so you don’t waste time for both parties.

Reasons to use a recruitment Consultant?

  • They save you a lot of time looking for jobs
  • They help you network on a larger scale – they have a huge number of contacts
  • They want and need to place you – they have great incentive to succeed
  • They have access to opportunities that may not be listed on job websites or careers pages

There are many upsides to using a recruitment consultant and these reasons may be good enough for you. Companies use recruitment consultant companies because the business may not have time to complete a thorough interview process. So, they hire the recruitment company to find the talent and pre-interview them to save them the hassle. Consultants are likely to meet you before sending you to an interview, to see if you are a good fit for the role. This helps them get a sense of your personality and how you handle interview situations. Don’t be surprised when they ask you to travel to their office. They often ask this of candidates, so they can meet you in person and talk to you more about your career goals. This time can also be spent going through the job specs in more detail and helping prep you for upcoming interviews. For some people, this is great interview practice and can take away some of the pressure but for others, it can seem like a waste of their time. Recruiters can be a great resource when you are finding it hard to find the right job for you. They have loads of jobs that you may not be aware of, happening right now, sometimes recruitment consultants are the only way to find those ‘secret’ jobs.

Reasons to not use a recruitment Consultant?

  • You lose a bit of control over your job search
  • The online job postings can be slightly vague, making you wonder what you’re applying for
  • They can feel controlling

It’s obvious that everything has its ups and downs and you may not find any of these ‘negatives’ a problem for your job search. That’s great, you do what is best for your job search. Many candidates like to have complete control over their job search and if this is you, then a consultant may not be for you. A recruitment consultant may send you various job specs after they have found your details online and once a consultant thinks you are a great candidate, you are likely to get more calls from them. Sometimes recruitment companies stick by you, if they believe you are a worthy candidate, they may keep calling to try and get you the next job right for you. You will notice that many recruitment consultants may call and email you with new job specs. This can be a good and a bad part of the process, it’s easy to forget who sold you that job and what you have applied for, so make sure to keep everything in order. Especially if you are using more than one recruitment company.

The jobs you apply for can be slightly vague at the beginning of the process. They may not have the full job specification from their client, or they may not want you to know everything until they meet you. Whatever the case, it’s easy to just say yes to what they are offering, remember they are meant to sell you this job. However, don’t feel pressured to apply or accept a job that just isn’t for you. This can be one of the potential downfalls of using a consultant for your job search. Don’t get offended by it, recruitment consultants can just be great at persuading. It’s their job.

Making your decision

I’ve made it clear that there are both sides to the story when using a recruitment company. Ultimately, it is your decision. It may not be for everyone but if you do get a call from a recruitment consultant company, it’s important to listen to what they have to say and then make your decision. Don’t rely on reviews and word of mouth, you may have a different experience and potentially find your dream job. Don’t fall into the void and rely solely on them if you like having control and listen to what they have to say. Recruiters can be great business people and it may just be what you need for the next step in your job search.