Candidates: How To Effectively Work With Staffing Agencies

Posted: 3/19/2014

By: Elias Cobb, Quantix Recruiting Manager

If you're an IT professional, you've surely interfaced with a recruiter from a staffing agency at some point in your career. And for those of you who aren't in IT, you may have run across recruiters as well - there are lots of us out there in many industries! Well, have you ever wondered why you would want to work with a recruiter? Or if there was a better, more efficient way you could work with an agency?

Why would you even want to work with a staffing agency? Don't they make money if you get the job? YOU don't get anything extra out of it! Does it really benefit you, the candidate, to work with an agency when it's the company who pays them??? Well, the answer in most cases is yes, it does benefit the candidate to work with an agency. But you need to ask some basic questions to see if the agency with whom you are working is one that will help you most.

First, many agencies work directly with hiring managers, while others don't have that kind of access. If your agency DOES work directly with the hiring manager, they can vastly increase your odds of getting the job over you applying directly. When the agency discusses the position with you, they can help you bring out parts of your experience that might pertain directly to this position, including experiences and skills you may not have accentuated on your resume. Had you sent your resume in to the company job board, it would have been screened by a non-technical person and likely rejected. But since you had the recruiter help you with your resume, then put it directly in the hands of the hiring manager, your chances at that job are much greater.

 

Image Credit: Optimal Sales Search

Second, did the recruiter take the time to really get to know you and what types of positions you are interested in? If they did, that recruiter is much more likely to stay in touch with you in the future, even if the current role you are working on together doesn't pan out. That's another thing a good recruiter can bring to the table - access to positions and companies you never would have found on your own. And if they know you and your desires well, they can bring you these types of positions on an ongoing basis.

So there are two tips on best working with an agency: 1) Ask if they are working directly with the hiring manager for the position and 2) See how in-depth the recruiter gets with you in the screening process.

What else can you do to maximize this process? Well, another point is honesty. A recruiter can't help you if you aren't up front and honest about your skills, your desired pay rate and where you are in the job search process. If you misrepresent your skills, you may end up getting embarrassed in the interview with the client, as they will certainly ask you technical questions. If you aren't honest about how much money you want, you may end up shortchanging yourself or pricing yourself out of the position altogether. Recruiters always have to provide a rate or salary to their clients when presenting a candidate, so trying to hide your salary or not disclosing it will likely keep you out of consideration. And finally, if you don't keep your recruiter apprised of your other job interviews, they can't go to bat for you with their client. Remember, if they inform their client that you have interviews or offers coming, they may be able to get the client to move a little faster. And that job might just be the perfect one for you!