With more than a decade of recruitment experience under my belt, I’ve worked with many different types of job seekers. But what frustrates me most is when I meet with candidates who are keen to make a move but are undermining their own chances of securing that next perfect role. Make sure you aren’t hurting your chances by making the following mistakes.
Not doing your research. Resist the urge to apply en masse to roles you find advertised on job boards. Instead, take a few minutes to understand whether you’re applying with the actual company or through an agency.
If the roles you’re interested in seem to come from an agency, research them. If they have reputable reviews and a good reputation, contact them directly for a face-to-face meeting so your CV isn’t floating around half a dozen different recruitment firms.
Along those lines, research the recruitment consultant before contacting them. Choosing the right recruiter will make a huge difference in your search. How long have they been recruiting in your industry? Do they have recommendations from others in your field? Remember, they’ll be looking you up!
Withholding information from your recruiter. Often, candidates will fail to mention that they’ve sent their CV to another recruiter or applied directly to a company. Although they might think they’re sparing my feelings by not telling me they’re “playing the field,” in reality, this strategy works against them.
If my client has seen your resume from a few different consultants, it becomes apparent that access to you and your skills isn’t exclusive – your appeal has now diminished. If the employer does decide to go forward with your application, you might have a harder time negotiating your ideal salary.
Avoid this by being forthcoming about where your resume has been sent. If you’re working with other recruiters, they should be gaining your explicit permission before sending your details to companies. Additionally, if you have a contact at a company – a former colleague or friend, for instance – and you’ve let advised them you’re interested in working there, in a recruiter’s eyes, that is an application. Let me know!
Applying for a role that’s too junior. If you’re trying to get your foot in the door at a specific company, applying to an entry- or mid-level position when you have senior-level experience doesn’t mean you’ll have a better chance at securing it. On the contrary, it can be interpreted as “I just want any job” to hiring managers.
Instead, work with your recruitment consultant to find appropriate roles within that company. If there’s a specific reason you’re seeking out a more junior role – for instance, you’ve changed industries, taken a career break, or were trained in a different country – be sure to let your recruitment consultant know the details so they can properly explain when their clients.
Not trusting my expertise. Job seekers sometimes ask me why I haven’t referred them to a job that I have listed. That’s easy – not every role I have available is an appropriate fit for your professional experience and motivations.
When a recruitment consultant advises you of a position, they should be able to clearly articulate how the position will help you reach your career goals. I carefully consider why you’re switching jobs, what your long-term goals are and what your strengths are, before recommending a position.
Any good recruiter should do this for you. If you’re encouraged to accept a permanent role you’re unsure of “in the meantime” until something better comes along, run! This consultant is not concerned with developing your career, but in earning a placement fee, or two.
Burning bridges. Finally, when looking for a new role, be sure that you’re ready to make a move. If you’re just testing out the waters and want to see what your skills are worth in the market, let me know. Any good recruiter will be happy to provide career advice without expectations.
If you begin interviewing and secure a job offer that you never intended on accepting, word will get around; industries are smaller than you think. When you really are ready to make a switch, your reputation may precede you – and not in a good way.
Being honest with your recruiter about who you’re working with and why you’re ready for a change will make the process a lot more productive and help you land a job you’ll love.
Sanj Shouan has been a recruiter with Aspect for more than six years and in the industry for over eight. When he’s not coaching his Structural Engineering candidates through interviews and working with some of Melbourne’s top-tier firms, Sanj enjoys working out, watching movies, and eating eggs from neighbourhood fixture Corner & Bench. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.