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Contacting Recruitment Firms and Employment Agencies

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By Lori Jazvac.

Recruitment firms and employment agencies offer job seekers a stepping stone to career opportunities. However, the most effective recruiters only work with candidates who present a solid set of skills, are a strong fit with the potential employer, and make a good first impression. So, before approaching a recruitment firm, it is advisable to do your due diligence.

The increasingly high expectations of recruitment firms and employment agencies

Recruitment firms have elevated their standards considerably in the last few decades. Today, recruiters are highly trained to screen out candidates. They review resumes with a scrutinizing eye in order to select the right person for a particular role.

Candidates are expected to have a solid command of technical (on-the-job) skills well as soft (interpersonal) skills to be able to perform at peak levels. This requires that they exercise an ardent commitment to continuous professional development and skill enhancement.

Recruiters not only want candidates with appropriate qualifications, but also that are a suitable FIT. The term “fit” can encompass factors such as personality, goals, and alignment with organizational culture and values. This element often helps ensure that a candidate will stay with an organization for the long run.

Job market demands have also become more stringent; candidates will need to come prepared when they approach a recruitment firm. This means having a polished resume and cover letter at hand, along with references and a portfolio showcasing credentials and achievements.

For the best chance of success, make a positive first impression. Strive to forge a harmonious relationship with the recruitment firm based on trust, loyalty, and integrity. Consistently show enthusiasm and willingness to work. Before approaching a recruitment firm, do your due diligence:

  • Conduct your research and find out how the recruitment firm operates, their prospects, as well as turnaround time for available positions. Do their values, vision and mission align with yours?
  • Find out what type of opportunities the agency has available. If there are no full-time permanent possibilities imminent, seriously consider alternatives such as part-time, temporary, or contract work. If you stay connected and in the market, the firm may want to consider you for a long-term opportunity when it arises.
  • Assess your skills, experience, and education. Determine your career target and if you are fully equipped to meet the requirements of the recruiting firm and their clients.
  • Find out the exact documentation you need to present to the recruiter. Ask yourself if your resume and portfolio offer a winning combination. You may need to upgrade your computer literacy and brush up on grammar to create effective documents.
  • Make sure you have a strong LinkedIn profile. The recruiter will likely explore your presence through social media and endorsements.
  • Verify your references. Contact your references and update them regarding your expertise and goals; ensure that they can positively support your claims.
  • Prepare yourself well before you are invited to the interview. Memorize key dates of all your positions and have relevant information related to your previous positions handy for reference.
  • When you are invited to an interview, be prepared to spend up to four undistracted hours at the recruitment firm for testing, completing online/manual forms and detailed applications, and the interview itself.
  • Read all fine print in detail before signing to ensure that you understand and agree with the contractual terms and conditions, including timesheets and compensation terms.

If you feel that you can benefit from career support, retain a professional. A Certified Resume Strategist will be happy to assist you with customizing your resume. You can also get help preparing your strategy for a productive job search by targeting recruitment firms and other opportunities in the hidden market. Take the lead and position yourself for success!

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