Should you partner with a Recruitment Agency to secure employment?

24 Jun Should you partner with a Recruitment Agency to secure employment?

I often have people ask me for advice regarding whether they should use and / or depend on a recruitment agency to find them a position.
The thing with going through an agency, is that it can be both a positive and negative strategy, there are pro’s and con’s – there are some things you should know, and keep in mind when partnering with a recruitment / job agency.
In this current market, they are not as valuable in terms of the benefits as they used to be. That is because the labour market has changed – it used to be candidate driven (lots of jobs and fewer applicants), now it has changed to employer driven (fewer jobs and lots of applicants). Therefore, companies do not need recruitment agencies as much as they used to, as they find they are attracting lots of applicants on their own – they have the balance of power in the current market. However, there are still good reasons to register with one. The most important thing is to be aware of the way that they operate, and its impact on you as a job seeker.
The pro’s of going through an agency, is that they may have access to the “Hidden Job Market” – they may have good relationships with their clients – and hence they may know of suitable opportunities that are not advertised, and can use their sales skills, to sell you into a company, which can be a bonus, and you can definately benefit from this.
If they are specialists in a particular field, they will know the market, your ‘saleability’ and which clients to ‘pitch’ or sell you to.  They may have ideas that you have not considered and may see your value in a way you have not.
They can also offer career advice for free. This will usually be given to help you to help them – ie, they may give you resume advice to improve your resume, as this will help them to develop a better reputation with their clients – ie. they will not want to send dodgy resumes to clients they are trying to impress. Just keep in mind that the advice they give you may be relevant to their clients, but not the wider market.
They can be great for temp work and contracts – to keep you earning money while you find suitable permanent employment. A recruitment agency is of great value in seeking temp work, as this is the hidden job market, an organisation or company, does not usually advertise short term contracts, they will contact an agency to get a temp or contractor, as this is a better business decision in regards to time and expenditure.
When you go through an agency, they will be selling you like a product – recruitment is sales (I did it for years – it’s all about sales) – therefore you become their ‘product’ and they sell you to a company for a hefty fee – In Australia, its usually around 15% (up to 25/30% for some) of your annual salary package. eg. If you are on $100,00 pa – they will charge $15,000 to the company you join.
They need to get their monthly sales targets, and they are good at selling you an opportunity that may not align with your interests. So keep in mind that you are dealing with a sales person, you are not paying for their services, the client is, so they will (usually) look after the client first.
Recruitment agencies  also guarantee that you will stay in employment there for 3 months – a 3 month replacement guarantee (for permanent positions) is common in the industry. Therefore, they are going to do whatever they can to keep you in the role for that long. – ie convince you to stay if you hate it. If you leave before 3 months, they will have to do the recruitment process for the client again for free. So there interest is in keeping you there, even if it is not your best interests.

So, if you see that a job is advertised directly (by the employer) and also advertised by a recruitment agency – apply directly every time!! At the end of the day, think of it from a business perspective – if they have shortlisted the applicants down to 2 ideal candidates (you both meet their requirements perfectly) – but one of you applied direct, and the other one came through an agency – how would you choose – the one that costs you $15,000 or the ‘free’ one that you know wants to work for YOU?

There are obvious pros and cons, it pays to be mindful of your relationship with a recruitment consultant / agency and always consider their position and what is in it for them. In this day and age, and in the current labour market, there are ways to access the benefits of a recruitment agency without using one. Such as developing a LinkedIN profile, and connecting with companies that you want to work for, and being proactive in your job search.

Please contact me if you have any queries or need help on your job search or with your resume.
To your success,
Seona Craig
Career Elevator
YOU Unlimited
0423 171 234