So you are looking for a new job, you have registered with the well known job boards and a couple of the better known agencies, such as BCL Legal. You can now sit back and wait for the interviews to role in. If only it were that simple.
All too often candidates find themselves inundated with phone calls from all sorts of agencies (often that they do not remember registering with), some talking about specific roles, some talking about speculative things and some not disclosing where the vacancies might be based. In such circumstances keeping track of where your CV is going and for what can become an impossible task and all too quickly you find that agencies are squabbling because you gave given permission for two of them to approach the same firm about the same job.
So how do you control the process and make sure it works for you?
1) Firstly when registering with a job board, be aware that your details will be available to all parties that register for access to that job boards CV database. This is mainly recruitment companies but it is not unheard of for employers to also pay for access. There is nothing to stop a disreputable agency from taking your CV and sending it out to their entire database of law firms (and this does happen). By selecting the option that makes your CV unavailable for general viewing you take back control about who views your CV.
2) Secondly appreciate that if 7 agencies are all advertising a 1-3 year PQE Employment Law position in Birmingham, it is likely that it is the same job with the same firm. Firms have different sized preferred supplier lists ranging from 3 to 20+ agencies. Applying to all 7, is going to result in 7 agencies registering your details.
Job boards are also not always reliable indicators of available positions, often by the time that you see the vacancy the role is at interview.
Select reputable agencies such as BCL Legal who are on the majority of leading firm’s preferred supplier lists and limit yourself to no more than three such recruiters. You should not need more than that to cover the market. Those agencies will then contact you about available positions as they arise. Do sign up to your recruiters job streamers and check their websites to make sure they do not miss you on any positions (we are only human). You should no longer need to be checking the job boards.
3) An agency should never sent out your CV without disclosing the name of the firm you are approaching. Even if you apply to a job through a job board, they should call you and make sure you are happy to approach that firm. If you discover that any agency has approached someone without your express permission then you should immediately dis-instruct them. Vacancies where complete discretion is required are extremely rare. An agency that asks to submit your CV to a firm without disclosing its name to you, should have an exceptionally good reason for doing so.
You should not want to work with an agency that is not prepared to be open and honest with you.
4) Keep a list of where your CV has gone. This should include; date, name of firm, position, location and who sent it.
5) Appreciate that all firms run different recruitment processes. Some treat an application via agency as an introduction that lasts for six months (or longer) so that future applications may have to go through the first agency that introduced you. Other firms view each new application, for each new position, as completely separate from previous ones.
Good recruiters can advise on this to ensure that you are properly represented in connection with each new role. It is important that you raise any previous applications that are up to 12 months old, so that your recruiter can advise properly
Agency usage should be a positive experience that brings relevant and interesting positions to your attention, many of which you would not have heard about on your own. If you follow the advise above, it should ensure that you are in control of the process and get the most out of the experience. BCL Legal’s consultants are always happy to discuss and advise regarding the use of agencies.