A lot of thought goes into searching for a new job. And if it doesn’t, it should.
Apart from deciphering what career direction you want to take, updating your resume and crafting bespoke cover letters, you need to shape your approach to getting noticed by the decision makers who matter. Ideally your game plan will be far more sophisticated than clicking ‘apply now’ buttons willy-nilly and spamming your CV about the town.
An early decision you’ll need to make is whether to enlist the services of a recruitment consultant or apply direct to organisations of interest, through open roles online or otherwise. If you ask anyone who’s opted for the latter and seamlessly scored the role they wanted, that approach would be recommended every day of the week. After all, recruitment consultants have a reputation of chasing the fee and not always your best interests… not to mention if a company can avoid paying hefty agency fees for employees, they will!
However, for those thousands of job hunters who put their heart and soul into direct company approaches only to never hear back, the testimonial would likely be very different. Constantly being ignored and rejected not only crushes confidence, but can also bring some very real, irreversible repercussions which will make your life harder in the long run.
Before you bypass recruiters and apply direct, consider these points first:
1. Missing out on interview insights
When you work with a recruitment consultant, you will be guided by someone who has a wealth of inside information about your process. Recruiters have direct access to hiring managers, HR and other candidates who have interviewed before – so can properly prepare and guide you along the way, making sure you’re best placed to make a lasting impression.
When you apply direct, you’ll likely be given limited information about the interview process and you’ll be at potential risk of going up against candidates who have had an expert recruiter in their ear coaching them towards success, with the inside knowledge of exactly what the hiring manager is really looking for.
2. Being sold short
The salary conversation can be a very difficult one to have. On one hand, you don’t want to come across money hungry and driven by your bank account, but on the other hand you don’t want to cheat yourself out of cash all for the sake of being humble and wanting to leave the perfect impression. Let’s be honest, negotiating more money for yourself can be a little awkward and there’s a likelihood you’ll sell yourself short here. When you work with a recruiter, they’ll take this responsibility off your hands, and can push for a bigger pay packet! They’re incentivized by fees, too.
3. Getting lost in a sea of CVs
Recruiters want to place you! Not only will they get a fee, but they’ll help you achieve your dreams and this is largely what they love about their job. Furthermore, working with a recruiter allows you to leverage their industry relationships and get recommended into a particular organisation. Where they are great at their job, they’ll be a trusted business partner of your dream organisation, and can give you the exposure you need, putting in a good word to the people who count.
When you apply online, there’s absolutely no guarantee your resume will land in the right place. You might even be weeded out by a machine looking for key words and not the suitable, transferrable skills and experience you can offer. When you apply direct, you run the risk of being just another name on a piece of paper, in a pile of thousands.
4. Unknowingly opting out of future representation
Being ‘lost’ in your dream organisation’s system can have even more serious consequences than simply not scoring the job you wanted. If you try to work with a recruiter in future to get you noticed by that company, you might find consultants won’t be able to help you. Why? Because when they find out you’ve already applied direct, they’ll tell you they can’t represent you… because the organisation will already have your details on file, meaning there’s no introduction to be made.
Put simply, if your resume is already registered on the organisation’s system, there’s little incentive for the recruiter to represent you, given the company can easily say ‘we are already aware of this candidate’, invite you in for interview (having just been brought to their attention) and turn the recruiter away, robbing them of any fee for their work. On top of this, if you end up getting the role (well done), that recruiter also loses out on the potential business of filling that role with another candidate.
In summary, make sure you do your research before diving into your job search. Having a no-strings-attached conversation with a recruiter about how they believe they can help you will assist in your decision about what to do. While recruiters are driven by fees, they also are the ones who have an in depth understanding of the jobs market, from a range of different client perspectives.
Genuine recruiters will tell you to go at it alone if they think that’s best for you. Don’t forget this fact: a recruiter will only want to work with you if they think they can get you a role, otherwise it would be pointless for them. If that’s not a vote of confidence for you, I don’t know what is.