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How to become a first-choice candidate at a recruitment agency

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 13 May 2020

First Choice Consultant Hero Image

We all know that sometimes, finding a job that’s right for you doesn’t come as easily as we would like. Using a recruitment agency can be an acquired taste, however, they have contacts that you may not find elsewhere. If you have decided to ask for aid from a recruitment consultant, there are a few things you should be doing to help you stand out from the competition. The job market can sometimes be tough and when a recruitment consultant is working with you, you should to try and do everything you can to make sure that you are the candidate they put forward for the top roles.

Who is the ideal candidate?

Someone who has good self-presentation - It’s all about how you present yourself. A meeting with a recruitment consultant is the first step of communication between you and a potential employer. If you don’t take the time to impress the recruiter, then they won’t introduce you to the job opportunity, it’s that simple. The best approach is to dress the way you would as if you were attending an interview, strive to impress them. A recruitment consultant isn’t going to refer you to a contact if they don’t think you are a good fit, their reputation is on the line. There is money in this for the recruitment consultants, if you don’t seem like a good fit, they aren’t likely to remember you.

Be well prepared – You need to be well prepared as well as well presented. A good candidate for any job, will have an up-to-date CV with them when they attend any interview. You should also know what you are looking for in a job and have this decided before you talk to the consultant. Even if you are looking for a range of different roles, make sure you state why you are happy to look into different types of jobs. They have to know exactly what you want so they can go and find you a good fit.

Also be prepared to answer any questions the recruiter might have for you. These questions are likely to be job orientated, so they will ask for information about your past job experience, why you are looking for a new role and other similar questions. Their goal is to learn a little more about you. Part of this is seeing how you communicate with new people and knowing how to sell yourself in a conversation. Recruitment consultants can often provide very good advice for how to act during an interview.  

Available to meet with the recruiter – One way or another, the recruiter is going to want to speak to you directly before they put you forward for any interviews. This could be over the phone, via video chat or in person. From my own experience, recruiters often prefer to meet you in person. Making the time to go and see the recruiter can show them that you are dedicated to your job search. This is not the case for all consultants, however, meeting in person might be best for you. They can really analyse how you act meeting with new professionals.

Your online presence

Recruitment consultants regularly use online platforms to find candidates. They spend hours searching through CV databases on job boards, LinkedIn and other social media platforms to find potential candidates for their vacant jobs. You don’t want them to find anything that is going to affect the way they think about you professionally. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to make sure that you have separate accounts for your professional social media and keep any personal pages on private.

Sometimes a bad social media profile can speak for itself. You should make sure that you are keeping positive and more importantly, keeping active on your social media. If they come across a page that looks like it has minimal activity, they are not going to try and connect with you. It can seem like a waste of time, especially if it looks like a dead end. They want to see active accounts, so they know that you are going to reply to their query. You can read more about social media presence over on E&TJ. Click here to read: What should your social and professional media be saying about you?

Bring your own questions

Much like an interview, recruitment consultants like to know that you are going to be interactive in interviews. Meetings with recruiters aren’t all about you, they will be more than happy to answer any questions and more importantly, they invite it. Having a 2-way conversation is what many recruiters look for. They don’t want to be sending a candidate to an interview, knowing that there won’t be much interaction. Show them that you are confident in yourself and you want to learn more about the company they are putting you forward for.

First impressions

The way you present yourself in the first meeting is going to stick with that recruiter. You want to be well presented, well prepared and over all know what you are talking about. It’s all about marketing yourself. If you turn up to that ready to show them what makes you unique, they are going to remember that. They want candidates that are different and know who they are as a professional. Ask yourself these questions;

  1. Who am I?
  2. What makes you different?
  3. What makes you a good engineer?

Confidence can be what sets you apart from other candidates. Honesty is also important to recruiters. If you let them know the truth about your job search, they can help you find what you are really looking for.

The follow-up

Following up after a meeting, much like an interview, is simple etiquette. You want to thank them for their time, but also round-up the meeting. Make sure you are letting them know your thoughts on how the meeting went, if you are interested in what they had to offer and just generally re-capping your conversation. Make sure you mention any points of interest that will make them remember you, not just as a candidate, but as a person. Recruitment consultants see a lot of job-seekers, making sure they remember your face can really help you. Sending a follow-up email not only gives you a little boost but shows that you are thankful for their time. Really show them that you are worth remembering.