Why Can I Not Get a Job Through a Recruitment Agency?


If you have registered with numerous recruitment agencies and have now been sitting, anxiously waiting for the phone to ring or for a ‘New mail’ notification from your inbox, but not had any contact, then read on. There are a number of things that you should know about the recruitment industry and the techniques that are used to shortlist candidates.

First of all, do not take rejection from agencies personally. A key thing to remember is that recruitment agencies exist to make a profit; it is their interests at the centre of everything they do, and not yours. Do not be under the illusion that an agent will go out of their way to find your next career move, as ultimately they will be working hard to fill the vacancies on their books. Once you consider this, it doesn’t feel as bad when they fail to call you back. You will barely ever receive a call from an agent if you are not shortlisted or you are unsuccessful in an interview. Their time is spent on the phone to people that will help them earn their commission, not giving you advice on how you can improve your job seeking skills.

The next thing that you should be aware of is how the agents discover you as a potential candidate. They will have access to a huge CV database, the contents of which they would likely have purchased from one of the larger job boards, and they will use a keyword search to find candidates that match the vacancy requirements of their clients (employers). It is not just whether a keyword appears in a CV; it is also the frequency that it appears. So a recruitment agent searching for a Web Developer will probably search for résumés with multiple occurrences of “Java script”, “HTML” and “CSS” in their search. Therefore it is not enough to briefly mention your expertise. You should insure that you mention terms relevant to your desired career move in your CV multiple times. It is also useful to have a ‘Key skills’ section to your CV, a list of your skills which will help you score extra hit points. Be sure that, whilst being aware of the need for keywords, your résumé still reads well and avoids “keyword stuffing”.

Once happy that a CV is search friendly and has been submitted to various job sites, the worst thing that a job seeker can do is sit back and wait for the interviews to roll in. They should hit the internet and start searching for vacancies, avoiding the major sites that they have already registered with. Try local newspaper job sites, industry sector specific sites and direct employer websites to find vacancies. In the meantime, your CV will hopefully be doing some work behind the scenes and you will soon receive calls from IT recruitment agencies as well.

Once you receive the call from an agent in relation to a vacancy, there are certain questions that should be asked. Where did they come across your CV? Who is the opportunity with? What is the package? When are they looking to interview? If the agent withholds any of these pieces of information, then you should seriously consider whether or not you wish to continue the call. There are number of tricks that some recruitment agents use to entice information from job seekers that would be useful to them, such as the name of your current manager who they know will soon be recruiting.

Once aware of these practices and techniques, job seeking becomes a slightly less arduous task. By asking certain questions and avoiding unnecessary emotional turmoil over lack of contact, efforts can be concentrated in the right place. This will ultimately lead to a more effective job search.

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