Job Hunting Tips: Networking and Recruitment Agencies

Recruitment agencies

Some employers use recruitment agencies to fill vacancies at all levels, from temporary staff to executives with greater responsibilities. This means you should consider registering with a recruitment agency to get into the organisation you want.

Should I use a recruitment agency?

Many agencies specialise in particular industries or sectors. Using a specialist agency will benefit you as they have industry insight and a good grasp of current issues and industry requirements. They will be able to explain what is happening in the industry and also advise on interview techniques. The flipside of this is that consultants manage the vacancies they are working on and they may not tell you about a job if they have already found a suitable number of candidates.

How can I find recruitment agencies?

You can use the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and Agency Central  to search for agencies by specialism and location.

Recruitment agencies also advertise online recruitment and their websites give a good indication of the roles they recruit for.

How do I choose an agency?

Never register with more than four agencies, as many recruitment agencies have the same clients and will be working to fill the same positions. It is good to find agencies who work with different companies, potentially giving you exposure to lots of different jobs, but you may not have access to this information before you register. Check that the agency is a member of the REC. Even if you find a good agency, it is still important for you to keep track of all of your applications.

How do I join an agency?

Agencies normally ask you to submit your CV before they sign you up. Phone first to check whether they deal with your work sector. Agency contact is likely to be positive if you have particular in-demand skills that make you a good candidate. If you are a generalist or have limited experience, they may not be interested in registering you at all.

When registering, it is important to make a good impression, so prepare as if you were being interviewed for a job to ensure that the recruitment consultant takes you seriously. For best results, build a relationship with your consultant and keep in touch to remind them about your skills, abilities and goals, so they represent you accurately.

If you are not happy with the agency representing you and their service does not improve after you discuss it with them, you can ask them to remove you from their books and not to act for you. Remember that agencies’ main clients are the employers, not the candidates, so do not expect them to do all the research and work on your behalf.


Why should I network?

You should network in order to:

  • actively pursue contacts within your chosen industry;
  • publicise your name and interests, making it easier for those in your field to approach you and suggest collaborations;
  • keep in touch with people you come into contact with, i.e. friends, tutors, past colleagues and prospective employers etc.;

Networking tips:

Remember to pursue networking opportunities. Networking opportunities include:

  •  temporary or part-time work to enhance your marketability and industry knowledge and to meet people in your target sector;
  • voluntary work to build experience and show your commitment – be clear about what you are offering to do and for how long;
  • industry internships, keeping in touch with colleagues you met on your placement;
  • professional associations, which may run networking events or useful training and conferences where you can forge new links;
  • careers events at university or elsewhere, speaking with representatives from many organisations in one place;
  • online professional networking websites – LinkedIn is a popular example that allows you to build an online profile, widen your network and join groups within your industry;
  • following up, on not only applications you have sent, but also with people you meet at events, etc.

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