How Can I Leverage Recruiting Agencies In My Job Search?





There are a few ways in which your crush and your recruiter are exactly the same.

  • You hate when they reschedule.

  • You seem to have intractable word vomit whenever they call.

  • And you’re always wondering what they say about you to their co-workers (or if they even bother talking about you at all).

recruiting agencies

I work for one of Toronto’s premier staffing agencies.

As a recruiter, former candidate (and amateur dater), I can appreciate the exigency to inform someone of all the ways your undergraduate degree has equipped you for greatness. Especially when that person could potentially hold the key to your future happiness. Recruiting agencies can help! 

But unfortunately, much like homeboy Justin from last Thursday at TurtleJacks (who drank whiskey neats and talked about capital markets or why I should smile more), your recruiter may not have the capacity to make you their first priority after you meet. At some point, you may even feel that they have ghosted you entirely.

jimmy fallon, ghosted

What does that mean for you?

Basically, waiting by the phone won’t make it ring. And spending time pondering your side of the conversation or whether your last Instagram post was a potential deal-breaker is not effective. In any relationship. The truth is, finding the right fit is tough. It takes time, effort, and resources.

Here’s the good news!

There are several ways that you can benefit from your interview with your recruiter, regardless of whether or not they are successful in placing you in your dream job.

Many of the fortune 500 companies do not post their job vacancies on job-boards because the process is time-consuming. Time is money, especially in the corporate sphere. Hiring Managers often do not have the capacity to sift through qualified and non-qualified resumes. So, it’s difficult to screen candidates that could potentially be a fit and then book/facilitate several-round interviews. Instead, some Hiring Managers will exclusively engage third-party staffing agencies because of their large network of available candidates who have the credentials to fill highly difficult and/or niche roles. In which case, sometimes the only way to gain access to those reputable companies is by working with recruiting agencies.

A question that candidates frequently ask is whether or not they have to pay a fee for recruitment services. This is absolutely not the case! Recruiting offers candidates a free avenue to assist them with their job search in exchange for their time, compliance, and professionalism. If a recruiter determines that a candidate meets the requirements for an active job order, the recruiter will go out of their way to advocate for that candidate. If the Hiring Manager chooses to interview and hire the candidate, the company will pay the staffing agency a fee for their service.

As a candidate, it should be comforting to know that the person advocating for your resume has a relationship with the company at zero monetary cost to you.

Though recruiters tell candidates that they cannot guarantee them a job, they will always share valuable feedback on how to craft a resume. This may drive a better response from Hiring Managers in their own search. For instance, I always recommend that candidates format their resumes in chronological style as opposed to functional style. That way, the recipient of the resume can better understand which duties you were responsible for in each of your roles. This creates a better sense of transparency.

During a recruiting agency interview, candidates can gain insight into the candidate market for the roles they’re most interested in. For instance, they can determine what the educational profiles look like for a certain job. They also have the opportunity to ask questions that may not be appropriate to ask a Hiring Manager (ie. how to negotiate a salary).

As recruiters, we know that a two-week data entry job is not sexy. However, if candidates (especially new grads) are on the hunt for a permanent position, it could take a while before they find the right fit. In the meantime, recruiters may contact candidates about short term assignments. These assignments can offer candidates an opportunity to network and speak to people working within their desired industries. Short term contracts allow candidates to learn new software that adds to their resume and builds their technical skills. Sometimes the skills candidates learn in contract assignments are what they leverage when interviewing for permanent roles.

As a new grad, you may feel that meeting with a recruiter is a waste of time. You may also feel like you lack the experience or hard-skills that clients buy into. Depending on the role, this could be true. However, a ton of companies hire with the intention of training junior candidates so they can mold them into valuable employees. Therefore, your age and tenure could work to your advantage.

Additionally, meeting with recruiting agencies can give you the opportunity to talk about the initiatives you took in school, the complexities of your courses and the skills you learned through your internships. All of which may go unrecognized if you were to apply to the job directly.

Often candidates meet with me looking like Shia Labeouf circa 2014. Perhaps this is because they’re not meeting someone within a hiring capacity. So, they feel that they do not need to make the extra effort. When you leave your home, you are publicly representing your personal brand. When you meet with recruiting agencies, you should dress for the part of a job candidate. Recruiters will only put forth the candidates that they feel accurately represent the professionalism associated with their agency.

My advice? Come to an interview with a positive attitude and an outfit that reeks of potential and placability. Presenting yourself professionally will go a long way and could be the deciding factor between you and a competing candidate.

Are you putting a resume together? Check out Cover Letters, Resumes, and Personal Branding: What’s The Difference? for more insights.

Samantha Moss

Samantha Moss

Sam is SLN’s resident Fashion editor and blogger. She also finds time to be a full-time student at McMaster University. Somehow.

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