Maxwell Stephens

How to Work With a Recruitment Consultancy

When applying for a post with a Recruitment Consultancy, it is expedient to consider the main function of their role.


Wikipedia describes recruitment as ‘….the process of attracting, screening, and selecting qualified people for a job’. The recruiter’s sole aim is to find the best person for the job and they are representing the hiring manager (client) in this regard.


Benefits of Working with Recruitment Consultants


Due to the length of a campaign and associated costs – many organisations outsource their HR/recruitment function (as they do for their FM services). Therefore many roles will ONLY ever be appointed to through a recruitment consultancy. In a sample taken in September, 81% of the online jobs on FM World were advertised through recruitment consultants.


Going back to recruitment’s initial premise (that being to appoint the best person for the role) – the recruiter will take all proactive steps to enhance their ability to fill the post and this information will be open to you as the candidate. As the consultant is being paid to represent his client’s interests and find the best person for the job (as opposed to HR who will advertise and often only reactively deal with the response).


Recruitment Process


‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. How you interact with your recruiter will determine whether they deem you suitable for the post and whether you merit consideration for the shortlist. Each stage of the process is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are the right person for the post.


Applying to the recruiter


Things to include:

› Why you want to apply for the role

› How your background demonstrates the key competencies

› Any written references


Things to avoid:

› Spelling mistakes

› Using a generic CV


With currently over 100 applications per post, you want your application to stand out!


Meeting the recruiter


Remember that this is the first step of the process. If you fail here – you have no chance of going forward to this potentially career changing move. Treat the interview request as you would if dealing with the company directly. Showing a lack of commitment or desire at this stage will deter the recruiter wanting to represent you. If two applications are received of equal merit (in terms of competencies/qualifications) the recruiter will always opt with the person showing the most desire.



› Try to be flexible around meeting – this is the 1st stage interview.

› Show definitive examples from your employment history that demonstrate the competencies required for the post.



› Turn up late

› Cancel at the last moment

› Show a lack of commitment (I have not had time to read the spec/review the company’s website etc.)


CV Submission/Covering Letter


If a recruiter is not discussing how your CV will be ‘pitched’ for the post and what competencies you need to demonstrate then they are not increasing their or YOUR chances of being successful. This is the time where the recruiters in-depth knowledge of the client, company, environment and the hiring managers ‘wish list’ will come into use.


Client Interview Process – common mistakes (which can be avoided when working with your recruiter…)


1. Not researching the company

2. Lack of preparation – not showing your full potential

3. Speaking negatively about former colleagues/employers

4. Talking too much/waffling/not being concise

5. Personal impressions (mobile phone left on, being late, not dressed appropriately)

6. CV discrepancies

7. Sounding desperate


Offer Process


Your consultant can add real value in this crucial, sensitive part of the process and can negotiate on your behalf effectively and can act in an impartial manner without the inherent emotion involved in changing jobs (and the financial matters this entails). Your consultant will ensure that discussions are conducted in a professional manner and the tone is measured.


Your recruiter will work with you to ensure that your wish list for moving are represented with the client. Contrary to the notion that recruiters only ‘chase the fee’. Your consultant will want to secure a long-term appointment which further enhances their reputation with the hiring company. It is not in anyone’s interest should you leave.


Many recruitment processes can stumble at this critical stage due to misunderstanding and lack of communication. A skilled recruiter will be able to adeptly manage this process to ensure all parties are Comfortable and their desires are represented.


How to select a credible recruiter


Generalist vs. specialist – Are they a large high street recruiter where the consultant will look after FM roles in addition to secretarial, IT, accountancy etc. – If so, it is doubtful they will have the in-depth FM knowledge required to accurately represent you


Level and seniority of posts – If the agency only advertises junior posts (and you are a senior manager) it is doubtful they will have had exposure to Director and Head of HR level contacts. Therefore they will not be best placed to represent you and be viewed by the hiring manager as a credible business partner


Length of service of recruiters – How long have they been in FM? Do they have a developed network of contacts and in conjunction with the generalist vs. specialist debate; is their FM knowledge sufficient to effectively secure you a post?


View their website and assess their brand. Are there typos and spelling mistakes. If they pay no attention to their headline written information, what will they do to your CV?


Golden Rules


Aim to work in partnership with your recruiter (you have the SAME goal – to find you a role)


Be honest and open which includes:

› Your salary expectations

› CV background – never lie about qualifications

› Your track record within a given skill set

› Be flexible, be available and be easy to work with

› Don’t allow previous bad experiences to prejudice your relationship with a recruiter

› Remember it’s a small world. The recruiter you fail to build a rapport with today could be the in-house recruiter within your dream company tomorrow.




View recruiters as facilitators and as trusted advisors NOT gatekeepers. Recruiters want to provide strong levels of customer service to both their current clients and their candidates (who could become their future clients).


Above all, it’s a partnership – you play a strong part in the service you receive – help them to help you.

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