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How to get the best out of a recruitment agency to find your ideal role

How to get the best out of a recruitment agency to find your ideal role

almost 9 years ago Empty Jason Thornhill


Updated February 2023

People often think a recruitment agency is a bit like a job centre but most perform more of a headhunting role, searching for the right expertise and experience to fill a specific need within a company.

So how can you get the best out of a recruitment agency to help you progress your career?

Search well  

There is a definite skill to job searching, just as there is to Googling. If you put a slightly different combination of words into the search engine you’ll get a completely different set of results. Think about the key words that describe your skills, for example: sales, HVAC, air conditioning, commercial heating, refrigeration, ventilation, technical, retail, construction, public sector, hotels. Choose the top three and add the word “jobs” or “careers” into the search. If you want to be based within a specific region add the county or area e.g. South East, Midlands. This should help you find the most relevant roles and will often inadvertently lead you to the specialist recruiters in that field.

Vet the agency

If an agency offers to put your CV forward for a job without interviewing you first, alarm bells should be ringing. They may be operating on a numbers game, putting as many candidates forward as possible in the hope that the employer will like at least one of them. A good recruiter will interview you in depth, either over the phone or in person, to find out what areas you know most about and where you’d ideally like to see yourself.

Ask questions

It’s in the agency’s interest to put forward candidates that are enthusiastic about and well-suited to the role so don’t be cautious about asking questions. The agency knows their client and the industry well and can answer questions about the company, the sector they operate in, their typical salary levels and bonus schemes. A specialist agency will usually have placed other candidates with that company and will have received feedback from them about what it’s like to work there. The agency can also advise you on negotiating, presenting and answering questions at interview.

Keep in touch

If you don’t get the role this time -or even if you do – keep in touch with the recruitment agency. They can help you find similar roles that meet your requirements and when it comes to climbing onto the next step of the career ladder they should be your first port of call.