Agency or applying direct -what is more effective in this job market?
Your CV is updated and ready to go. What do you do next? Where do you start? Traditionally there are two routes you can take to apply for a job; directly or via a recruitment agency. Here are few things to bear in mind when deciding which route to take.
You can apply for roles directly via company’s website, LinkedIn or via job search platforms. My favourite job search platforms are Indeed, CV Library and Totaljobs. Once you find a job you are interested in, submit your CV via the link provided or complete an application form for the role you are interested in.
Some application forms are lengthy and most of them ask for a similar information. Write your answers in a word document and save them to reuse later. This will not only save you time but also a will to live when you are asked for the fifth time to write about your strength and weaknesses.
Most of the job search platforms will allow you to create a profile and save an up to date CV you can use to apply for jobs on the go. This is a good time saving tip if you are using same CV to apply for all new jobs. If you need to change your CV when applying for jobs, make sure you check you have attached the most relevant CV to the job you are applying for.
Applying via recruitment Agency
You can sign up with a recruitment agency to help you find a job. If you are not sure which agency to use, you can do an online search to find an agency which covers your line of expertise and upload your CV to their website.
The quickest way is to either call or email the agency and ask to speak to a recruiter who looks after the roles you are interested in. Most agency recruiters focus on a business area, for example technology. There might be a separate recruiter covering contract roles and permanent roles. Recruiters can specialise in particular regions or countries so make sure you speak to the right person.
Once you find the right recruiter, they will ask you questions about your CV, your salary expectations, your availability, work location and anything else they might need to know to qualify you for the right job. The recruiter will then let you know if they have any suitable vacancies or give you an update on the current job market. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Recruiters are industry experts and can provide you with a useful overview of the industry you’re looking to apply to. Make sure you stay in regular contact with your recruiter. You want to stay fresh in their minds but remember to avoid being too pushy.
If the recruiter has a role you might be suitable for, they will ask you to sign a disclaimer stating you are willing to be represented by their agency. This is to protect the recruitment agency in case another agency submits your CV to the same client without your consent. Your agency will be able to prove they are representing you and will get the fee if they place you in the role.
The benefit of applying via an agency
You have an agent working on your behalf trying to find you a job. This might give you a better chance to get your CV in front of more companies.
Having a good recruitment agency and agent is a game changer. I would advise you to build a good relationship with your recruiter, once you have found the right one.
Things to watch out for when applying via recruitment agency
The agency might format your original CV to make it consistent with their branding without informing you. If you are offered an interview, make sure you ask to see your CV so you and the hiring manager have the same copy. It can be embarrassing if the hiring manager asks you questions about your CV you are not aware of because your recruitment agency updated it wrongly. It happens more often that you think.
If you are approached for the same role by more than one agency, be upfront and tell then you are already being represented by a different recruiter. You don’t want your CV to get submitted for the same role three times by three different agents. It makes the agency look as if they don’t have a candidate control. It makes you come across as a less credible candidate who doesn’t care what role they are applying for.
The difference between applying for a role via an agency and going directly
The main difference is the cost to the business. If you have been submitted for a role via an agency and you accept the role and start, the company will pay a fee to the agency. The fee is a percentage of your base salary and varies. If you apply directly and accept the role, there is no cost associated with your hire. Don’t let this put you off applying via an agency. The company using an agency will have the budget approved upfront and it will not affect you as a candidate.
In the current market some companies might try to recruit directly and some will still use agencies to find the right candidates to save time. Some companies will focus on saving cost and direct route will be their preferred option. Some companies will use a mixture of both methods. My advice to you as a candidate is to use both routes. Apply for jobs directly but also use agencies to cover every available role on the market. Build your personal network on LinkedIn. Post about your job search experience, ask your network to share your profile. Be brave and be ready for that call to an interview.
To find out more about job search strategies read more articles here.