Best Job Application method?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 - career change, career management, career transition, Employment, Job Application, Job Boards, Professional CV, professionalism

Best Job Application method?

Elaborate job application proceures

Daisy, an HR Specialist, asks: I saw a temp job advertised on a job board by a specialist (HR industry) recruitment agency. They’d changed the title slightly, but by looking at the skills being asked for / doing a bit of detective work, I was able to locate what was obviously the same job on the website of the client company (a very big one) only on a permanent basis. I assume they must be looking for someone as a temp until they fill the slot? I’d actually be interested in either as I was recently made redundant. I know that many companies in my sector, and especially in London, prefer to use recruitment agents, despite there being a fee (ironic given I’m in HR). My question is, were I to post my CV directly to the company’s website, is it less likely to be looked at than if a recruitment consultant put me forward? Do companies genuinely use their own recruitment sites at all or are they there “for show”? I’ve only ever made career moves with agencies to date and it seems the only way to get a job in London …

In answer:
I’m a recruiter, and I am going to tell you to that the Best Job Application method is – Go Direct!

Firstly, accept that recruiters and companies have different agendas. Recruiters want placements, because that equals money; companies want employees, because that means competitive advantage.

Secondly, accept that recruiters have tighter standards than employers. If I send you into my client, you represent you and my brand. If you are awful, I might lose a position on the PSL (Preferred Supplier List). Hence, recruiters will always be cautious and only send in people who will represent their brand well.

Thirdly, much as though the agency may be good, the recruiter may not – and visa versa. Go direct and you cut-out the risky/unknown middle man and speak right to the people who you would have spoken to anyway at some point in the future had you been successful getting past the recruiter.

Finally, this job is in HR. If you were applying for an operational job, I would be advising you to go direct to the head of operations for that department. As this job is in HR, ringing directly and applying means you are there already.

The reason I am in the recruitment business is because there are so many bad recruiters: it creates a huge opportunity. Do yourself a favour and go in directly.

Good Luck!

Thanks for your honesty Ian! Recruiters are usually keen to put me forward for roles after meeting/talking to me: I come across well at interview, so they expand on my CV. However,I had a bad experience with one last year, hence my trepidation: this guy found my CV online, called me at work (he clearly googled it and called reception – very bad practice) then submitted my CV, which was a near perfect match for quite a niche HR role. After a couple of weeks he told me that I hadn’t got through for interview. However, in the interim I had a couple of very professional agents, who I’d met, signed up with formally and trusted, call me re: the same role. Both were surprised to hear I hadn’t got through, and suspected that this guy might not be on said company’s contracted agencies list. She explained that as I’d already been put forward by this guy, I wouldn’t be able to get the job unless it was through him, as he’d introduced me.

Further answer:
The competitive nature of recruiting means, that if a recruiter sees a great candidate or one with skills they know are short in their market, that they know would fit an actual or perceived employers brief – be they on the PSL or not – will often grab that CV and send it off, without talking to the candidate first. Hence you end up with situations like you did, where you are barred from applying for a job because an entrepreneurial shark has blocked your application through their ambition. They don’t care, because next week they will have another “ideal” candidate, but in the mean time you are blocked from application to that job.

You need to keep control of your CV. Don’t openly post it to numerous job boards, keep your key details off of the it, and always keep security high to ensure that anyone – employer or recruiter – needs your permission FIRST and an actual position BEFORE they can download a full version. You have to be careful.

Good Luck!


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