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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.

Reference: Phoebe Spinks

  • As a Global IT director with General Motors, it’s critical that I source high calibre technical candidates every time. ERS bring such a level of confidence and integrity to the pipeline of candidates that distinguishes them from everyone else in the market. ERS is about relationship building, getting to know our company, our management team and our requirements. They assist tailoring job specifications to ensure the widest range of candidates are attracted to the job profiles. ERS hands on screening of candidates means that we have an excellent ratio of interviews to job offers and subsequently, shorter ramp-up cycles, improved business value, increased efficiency and low attrition. Candidates are not just screened based on their CVs, ERS invests a lot of time to get to know the candidates and this profiling gets best results, both for my teams and for the prospective candidates. Our local team has hired successfully through ERS from multiple countries which means our teams are also very diverse in their skills, experiences and cultures. The technical roles filled range from Senior managers, Architects, Java developers, Mainframe, Middleware, SAP, High-performance computing, Mobile Development, Infrastructure, scrum masters and a wide range of global operational roles. Global IT Director General Motors

  • ERS, part of the Casseo Group were engaged on a critical programme aimed at further enhancing Dell’s renowned Supply Chain model for outbound logistics in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). The ERS team immediately “hit the ground running” and added immense value in augmenting the internal Dell IT team seeking to expedite this critical project.  They brought a strategic and realistic view of the possibilities for the project, as well as a professional focus on delivery of a quality product to agreed timescales.  They managed a wide range of internal relationships, as well as cementing the external commitments needed from Dell’s partners to make the project a reality.  Throughout the project life cycle, they always brought a practical perspective to the table when wrestling with a complex project, and executed creative and innovative solutions to ensure success. A very worthwhile partnership which I would eagerly recommend to those in search of external expertise and commitment in meeting their project commitments. Dell

  • GE Financial Insurance (now Genworth Financial) engaged ERS as part of the Casseo group, to assist in the delivery of a complex cross-functional project. The project entailed managing the IT Infrastructure and providing IT Support to assists a dedicated debtor recovery team that was set up specifically for the project. Based in Birmingham, ERS leveraged excellent project management and technical skills to quickly win the confidence of the local team. Over a period of time, ERS as part of the Casseo group worked hand-in-hand with this team to deliver an outstanding result where significant more debts were recovered than had been thought possible.  I have no hesitation in recommending ERS and the Casseo Group. Programme Manager, Genworth Financial

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