It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the local newspaper would increase their number of pages on a Thursday because of the volume of jobs being advertised.
In those days, job seeking was fairly straightforward, you scanned the ‘situations vacant’ pages of the paper and applied directly to the employer. If you were lucky, you were granted an interview, and if you were very lucky secured the position.
Oh, happy days. Or were they?
The scatter gun effect was just that. Applying for numerous vacancies in the hope that you would be noticed and manage to obtain an interview.
Today, it’s all very different. To start with, searching for a job has changed beyond recognition. Local newspapers have all but disappeared, online job vacancy boards have proliferated, and recruitment has become more of a science than just potluck.
So, how does it work today?
As a result of the Covid pandemic, there are many people who are currently re-entering the recruitment process, probably for the first time in many years. There are also others who, having had a prolonged period of working from home or practicing office social distancing, are re-assessing their future career opportunities, and looking for an improvement in their work-life balance.
This is where a recruitment consultancy can truly come into their own. To start with, they have a good working knowledge of the current employment market and can advise on what skill sets employers are searching for. This is especially important if candidates have been out of the job market for some time.
Well established consultants such as ourselves, have also built up an extensive network of employers and applicants. This means we can quickly pinpoint the specific vacancy requirements and match these up with a registered pool of suitable candidates.
What a recruitment consultant can do is ensure your skill sets are identified and matched to the current needs of the jobs market. We can also help candidates focus on what it takes to land that ‘dream’ job.
How do we do that?
If you are currently in the job market, we strongly recommend registering with a reputable recruitment consultancy. This is especially important if you work in, or want to work in, a specific sector or industry. For example, we have three specialist recruitment divisions.
Our Technical and Trades recruiters have a great deal of experience in recruiting both permanent and contract, blue collar positions, such as gas engineers, electricians, and plumbers in sectors including building services, social housing and construction.
Our Support Services team, on the other hand, devotes itself to placing both temporary and permanent office and field positions such as sales and marketing, administration and customer service particularly in the Building services, local authority and environmental services sectors.
We also have a team looking after white collar professional recruitment. They have many years’ experience in identifying suitable vacancies for project managers, estimators, and quantity surveyors.
Choose your recruitment partner wisely
We, therefore, suggest that it’s worth identifying a recruitment partner that has experience in your chosen employment sectors and focus on them, rather than using scatter gun tactics.
We are very much aware, that looking for a job at the moment comes with its own set of challenges. There is no such thing as ‘normal’ anymore, and for many professionals in sectors that have been hit the hardest, it could even mean moving out of the industry - forever.
This is where a recruitment consultant can offer the first line of support. They have an up to date knowledge of the broad market as well as an in depth one of their specific specialities. They will be able to advise on how to quickly get back into work or what steps to take if looking for a career move.
The UK employment market is undoubtedly in a state of instability. Some sectors are buoyant while others are in the doldrums. And it’s not going to change soon. Even with an impending vaccine and an easing of lockdown, the predictions are that it will be at least spring 2021 before we start to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Having said that, there is no doubt some employers are keen to bolster their workforce due to an upsurge in business while others are looking to recruit staff with a specific skills mix as the business moves into new commercial areas.
How do you gain an interview?
As they say in the Scouts, ‘Be Prepared’ Sit down and make a list. Start with the role you are particularly looking for but, at the same time, aim for some flexibility, especially if the industry or sector is going through stages of mutation. And then match that to a recruitment partner that has experience in the particular industry or sector.
The next stage is to identify what skills and qualities you can bring to the position.
Make two lists here. One with skills and qualifications and the second with what other benefits you can offer a prospective employer. These could, for example, include languages, technical skills, voluntary work, networking connections etc. And then prioritise them. This means putting them in an order that reflects the current market conditions. This is where a recruitment consultant can steer you in the right direction. The more information you can supply, the better your chances of creating a strong employment brief.
In our opinion, choosing a recruitment partner that not only ticks all the boxes, but is prepared to work closely with you to prepare you for work is crucial in you securing the ‘right’ position.
Consultancies like ourselves will get to know you and understand your expectations. They will also help you update your CV and advise on the kinds of extra qualities employers want. This is especially important for those who are re-visiting the jobs market for the first time in some years.
For example, we will help you prioritise your skills set to match the expertise that employers are now looking for. This could be technological, customer facing or niche specialisms. In other words, extra qualities that, we feel, will benefit a prospective employer, and distinguish you from other candidates.
Once you have an updated CV that responds to the current state of the employment market and you have chosen a recruitment partner that operates in your field of experience it’s time to prepare for the interview.
Under the current lockdown conditions, the chances are that any interview will probably be via an online video conferencing platform such as Zoom or MS Teams. However, it’s also good to be prepared for a face to face meeting especially if the position is considered key.
Upon reaching the interview stage, we suggest a few hours practicing both virtual and actual interviews is time well spent. Be familiar with online video techniques and rehearse your ‘on camera’ persona, possibly with friends and colleagues. We will make you aware of which platform the interviewer will be using as well as provide you with expert tips on how to sell yourself on camera.
For face to face interviews, should the current Covid restrictions still apply, then it’s worth considering what effect social distancing could have on your performance. No shaking hands for example and the real possibility of having to speak while wearing a face mask, and having to contend with your glasses steaming up.
Building a relationship with your recruiter
It’s a fact that recruitment consultancies currently have a busy workload. Demand in certain sectors and for specific skills is high. Therefore, don’t expect them to be constantly chasing you. Make sure you know how frequently they will contact you and when rather than regularly calling them on the off chance.
Having said that, it’s a partnership and the relationship you have with the recruiter is incredibly important. This means ensuring you provide updates, any changes to your circumstances or whether you have honed your skills set during lockdown. In fact, anything you feel will give you that competitive advantage.
We recommend signing up for job alerts with your recruiter. This not only enables us to match your profile with relevant jobs tailored to your specific skills set, but also means we are not sending unnecessary emails that can be off putting.
We also recommend you keep in regular contact with your recruiter over the phone where possible. Having a chat with us means we can get to know each other better, and you are not just a CV on paper. Building a relationship with your recruiter is key to the consultant advising you as well, as they will look to match you with the best organisation that fits your personality as well as your skills.
Don’t forget, we can also advise on CV presentation, helping you to highlight your skills, or make relevant additions that will be eye catching to prospective employers.
Communication is key
Make sure you are available. Interviews can be called at very short notice so make sure your mobile phone is to hand (and charged). And after the interview, let us know how you feel it went. Also, be aware that it may be some time before we receive formal feedback from the client, especially if there are others being interviewed.
Rest assured, however, we will provide you with constructive feedback and your suitability for the role. And should you not be offered that particular position, don’t despair, as it’s not uncommon for employers, who were impressed with a candidate’s interview, to re-contact us and offer the interviewee a different position in the organisation.
So, to answer the question, ‘what did a recruitment consultant do for us?’
In a nutshell, they streamline the whole recruitment process.
If you are ready for a career change or looking for a job, have a look at our specialist areas and if they fit the bill, give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org