Why work with a recruiter?
9th Mar 2020
WebTalksNI a podcast dedicated to web specialists in Northern Ireland.
Gareth Stirling (host)
Hi Alex. For those who don't know, Alex just got recently engaged. Congratulations.
Thank you.Thank you.
She's also off to Vietnam next week as well.
Yeah, but I could catch the Coronavirus though so I don't know how good that is. We're both actually engaged at the minute. Not together, separately, to make that clear.
Yes, I actually got engaged last year as well, just beat Alex to the punch. Alex has come on to ask a few questions about on our topic this week. So for our first episode, we're going to cover off why you should use a recruiter. My background was, I used to work in web development and had my own web agency for about eight or nine years. When the company went down the tubes, I went to various recruiters. Now, to be fair, I never heard from many of them again.
You know, I give up my time. I came from outside of town to met with them. Sometimes I sat for, half an hour/ 45 minutes, to go back home and waiting for a phone call that never came.
To be fair, there was one recruiter who was very, very good. She met with me, she actually created opportunities for me. What I mean by that, I worked in development in my own company, I moved into I.T. Sales, particularly selling I.T. training courses. There is only a few places in Northern Ireland that provide those services, but she's able to set me up a couple of meetings with with rival companies, even though they weren't recruiting.
Now she didn't get the job in the end but I thought her approach was very good. She kept me a informed, she called me on a weekly basis, she set up interviews, she provided feedback. So when I came into recruitment, I remembered that experience. I wanted to provide that service to my candidates and my clients, as well.
So, as you know, I specialise in Web Development recruitment. The market is so busy at the moment on, there's a lot of opportunities for developers. As soon as a developer wants to move on, they stick their head up and have multiple opportunities presented to him before the end of the day and even job offers before the end of the week.
However, there is a real benefit off going to a recruiter, a good recruiter, and getting them to work for you. So, um, first of all, like the best, the best approach is to find the right recruiter. Look, the elephant in the room is there's a lot of bad recruiters out there, unfortunately. Now, it might not be their fault, they could be junior recruiters, they could be working in companies that are under high pressure, a lot KPIs. But unfortunately there's a lot of practices that go on.
What would be some of those bad practices be? How would you spot somebody not doing their job correctly for you?
Yeah, that's difficult.
Unfortunately, sometimes has to be a trial basis, maybe you have to talk to a couple of recruiters and see which one works for you. The best way is to talk to your colleagues, your friends, LinkedIn a good source of reference as well. What you want to do is find a recruiter who specialises in your area, first of all.
You know, say you're a web developer, you'd probably come to somebody like myself, if you're dot net developer, you may go to another recruiter. Maybe your I.T. support, there are people who specialise in that area. Your best finding somebody who specialises in a particular area because they would know that marketplace inside out as opposed to a generalist recruiter who maybe just touches on I.T., maybe does sales, maybe does a bit of everything.
They won't have a good understanding of what your particular marketplace maybe like. So yes, talk to your colleagues, look at LinkedIn. Most good recruiters have a good social presence these days. They'll have good recommendations, good reviews.Do better research and pick a recruiter who works in your area.
You know, changing your job is a very sensitive topic, because if your employer was to find out that you're changing your job, there is a massive risk there. Once you contact a recruiter, that is your first intention of 'I'm thinking of changing my job'. I suppose I'm asking. Why would somebody work with a recruiter over going directly to a company? Because I think, if you haven't worked with a recruiter before, that's probably your first thought 'Why would I do that?'
Yeah, yeah. No, that's a fair point.
There is actually quite a few reasons.
One is that a recruiter will take away all the legwork for you. You know you're busy. You know, changing jobs is one of the most stressful things you could do and we certainly appreciate that. It would be difficult to, you know, to arrange interviews, to try to get feedback, to look at job boards, to see what roles are out there. A good recruiter should take away all the pain for you. You know, they should be able to set up interviews for you at a time that suits. They'll be able to provide you feedback.
Sometimes companies, unfortunately, are quite bad at providing feedback, for people who have given up their time to go speak with them. A good recruiter would get you get you that feedback.
If you are successful and you do get a job offer. A recruiter would be able to negotiate the best package for you. One because it's in their interest, this the way a recruiter is paid. It's a commercial relationship between recruiter and the client. So there's a finder's fee, basically, that's involved.
It's based on the percentage of the salary, so they will help to get the best salary for you and they will get a good fee, but also get you a fair salary. Good recruiter won't just push, you know, for the highest salary available. You may think you're worth, say, 40K, but reality may be worth 35K. A good recruiter will be able to give you that information.
So it's managing expectations. You know, once you're in the world of developmental, all you hear is 'You should be on 60k' and you're thinking how are those salaries in Belfast that high. So, you are able to manage the expectations of what businesses are actually paying?
Oh yes. I do see that. People say I have five years' experience, I should be on £50K. It doesn't work like that. Unfortunately, you know, it depends, first of all, what experience do you have? You know, have you been developing Greenfield projects or have you been in a company fixing bugs and retaining software applications which have already been built.
Depends on the company as well. It's not all about salary either. You need to make sure that it's the right job for you, not only from a technical perspective, but also from a culture fit as well. A good recruiter would know what companies you could fit into because they've done the research, they've met the companies, met the hiring managers, spoken to different directors from the business. They have maybe been on site on numerous occasions, so that should give you a clear picture of what that company's like.
How do you think somebody could get the most out of their relationship with a recruiter, so they can make the relationship better, you know, to make sure that they get most of those opportunities?
Yeah, again, that is a good question.
I made a mistake when I was looking for work, that I registered with maybe five or six different recruitment agencies. Which is a common mistake because you think, 'I need to do that to get the best understanding of what jobs are actually out there.' You think 'the you more recruiters, you're register with, the more jobs that you will be presented with.
Unfortunately, that's the wrong approach.
I think the best approach is to find a good recruiter and then work with them on an exclusive basis. Because if you have that, that's something I always asked my candidates, 'Give me two weeks, I'll work with, you know, I'll make you a priority'. I normally only work with maybe three or four candidates over a month on that basis, because if I know that they've bought into me and they're giving me exclusivity, I will give them my full attention.
However, if somebody comes in to register with me and they say ' I've already registered with five I.T. recruiters, I've got maybe five interviews over the the next two weeks'. You know, there's no point of me doing a lot of work with that person because, you know, chances are, by the time I've even set up an opportunity for them, they'll probably have got a job offer and they're gone.
So, yeah, plus, it duplication as well. If you're working with multiple recruiters, sometimes, unfortunately again, some of the bad practices out there. Some recruiters will send your CV with your prior knowledge. Even with GDPR in effect on, it's kind of a reverse recruitment. They set up the interview and then try to sell the opportunity to the candidate which again is more bad practice, you want to avoid that duplication. You want to have full control over your career. It's your career at the end of the day.
If I was employer and I got somebody's CV multiple from different recruiters, how does that come across to the employer?
Well, it's been said to me that sometimes it seems a bit desperate. It seems that they don't have control over their own career. You know that they are obviously keen for a move.
It can also cause a bit of friction. You know, I've been in that situation multiple times, where I've done the diligence, I've the candidate, I've got the permission. I sent a CV, and then the client comes back saying ' Oh, I've actually received that CV from 2 other recruiters'.
It reflects badly on the recruiters first of all, because they should be doing their work properly. You should be getting permission, some people, unfortunately, take the scatter gun approach. What I mean by that is sending as many CVs out as possible and see what sticks. That's just not recruitment to me, that's just a CV farm.
From the client's point of view, it can cause a bit of friction because they're about to go on and discuss this candidate with these recruiters. Who're going to fight over ownership for the candidate, and the candidate is going to get the friction on their side because they'll get multiple calls saying 'I want to represent you'. So it's just it's just causing work yourself. You don't need to have that confusion, you know, it should be a seamless process.
I also think that sort of arguing over a candidate for a job, gives recruiters a terrible reputation. This same thing happened to my partner, it was his first job out of uni, recruiters were fighting over him and bringing him into their office and going 'Oh, why don't you just choose me', and it just looks desperate on their side too.
You'd rather have that seamless process of just working was one recruiter. Who's gonna fight your battle and support you, be your champion to getting the job, making sure you're getting, you know, the best salary package for you and giving you the real expectations that you should have rather than, 'We can get you whatever you want.' and then when it comes down to it, you're like, Oh, but you promised they 60k and they've only offered £40K. It's just trying to make sure everybody's expectations are managed throughout the process.
Yeah, that's a good point.
Yes, the best way to describe it is, you're entering into a relationship with a recruiter. A business relationship, and you want somebody who's gonna, as you say, fight your corner and do the best for you, not just for themselves.
Yes, we all need money, we all need to get paid. A good recruiter will want to find the right job for you. Not just any job, just to get a fee on the board. Recruitment, I don't think this is a difficult job but it's a hard job to do right. I'm going to say, there is a lot of bad practises in the industry. So again, it's back to my first point, you get the right recruiter on make them work for you because that's their job at the end of the day.
Ok, to wrap up the podcast then, what would be your top three tips for somebody who's thinking about working with a recruiter?
What would be the signs to show that they are a good recruiter and would be right for them?
Yes, again, a good question.
I suppose the best way is to, again, to talk to your colleagues, see what recruiters they have worked and see what recruiters they wouldn't work with as well, because some of the bad practise that we discussed. Do better research, LinkedIn is the best place to do it. You'll see recruiters available, not only, in your geography but in your sector and your specialism, then approached them, Vet them as well. Maybe go meet a couple and see which ones you have a good rapport with, see which ones that you can trust.
Then after that, once you do enter a business relationship, communication is key. There's a lot of practise from recruiters that are well documented. At the same time, there's a lot about practise from candidates as well. You know, maybe they send a CV and then they don't respond to you. Maybe you arranged an interview for them and they don't turn up. Maybe they ghost you completely.
That's all causes frustrations for the recruiter at the end of the other day who're only trying to do their job and get your job. Communication is key throughout this process. We understand that circumstances change you know, maybe there's another job offer, maybe things work out in your current place of work. But let the recruiter know, a simple phone call and they'll stop hounding you as well. You'll stop getting phone calls, emails, text messages. But yes, that's the best approach.
Do you have any more final thoughts about why a person would use a recruiter?
Yes, there is one important point that I've forgotten to mention. A good recruiter will actually have access to unpublished job openings, what I mean by that, is that not all jobs advertised. There could be jobs that might just be about to be released, there could be historic jobs that haven't been filled, but basically they they should have access to jobs that you don't know about.
So again that's a really good advantage of working with a good recruiter because if they have a job on that hasn't been advertised, chances are, there's not five other people in for it. So if you're the right person for that job, they could set that interview up pretty quickly and get the job offer, even quicker. Yeah, that's definitely another good advantage.
Do you think working with a recruiter helps with getting an insight into what the hiring manager's train of thoughts are?
Oh yeah, definitely, Yes.
If they've got a good relationship with that client and placed people in the company, you know, they know the approach, the best approach to take. They have to go through interview preparation etc. But if they know that client particularly well, they'll know the best tips on how to impress that client. You know sometimes it's still the basis. Some people still like their candidates to turn up in a full suit, for instance, and others don't. It could actually put them off. You know, if you're in a small web agency in the centre of town, and you turn up in a suit and everyone else is sitting there in shorts and flip flops.
Yeah, it's hard to know what to wear to an interview these days. Michael from the office was saying he had a candidate go to interview in shorts on he was convinced you got the job. It was a warm day and he was like, 'I've got that job, I knew the guy who was interviewing me. I've have got this'. On the first call, Michael had from the hiring manager was, 'Yeah, he doesn't have the job, he turned up in shorts'. So you know, it's strange, what you're wearing can have such a massive impact on the rest of the interview as well. It's hard to get that insight from a client who's just saying, 'OK, right, we'll meet you here or there', but doesn't say anything about what to wear.
Exactly, that's a good example. Other examples could be, i've set up interviews for candidates, and the client said, Yes, we'll see him. But we're concerned about A, B and C, and you could relay that information to the candidate. You'd say, the interview you're going to, they think you've got potential, but they are concerned about lack of experience in these areas. And then the candidate is able to prepare for that. So yeah, definitely, interview prep is another good advantage.
Also, even just getting your foot in the door, you know a good recruiter again can create opportunities for a candidate, now in software development and web development. That may not be such an issue because there's so many jobs out there. There's a lack of candidates. However, in my experience, for instance, when I was with the recruiter, you know, they they were able to, you know, contact clients on your behalf and you know, big you up.
And, in other words, and you set up meetings with ignore might be jobs available at that time, so you least make those connections. A good recruiter should be able to do that for you.
Yeah, I definitely think that recruiters able to bring a CV to life, you know, describe the personality a bit more and just what you know the candidates actually like, because I think a lot of some hiring managers would see a CV and day 'they don't have enough experience' or 'they don't have the skill-set there'. They'll just it's an immediate 'No', but if a recruiter can see, the value and see that there could be a good fit culturally. But maybe, you know, they could learn the extra skills or gain experience when they're in the job, you know, it gives the candidate a real chance. Where otherwise, if they had of went straight to the company, they wouldn't have.
Yeah, I suppose the last point which is important which you started with actually, Alex. It was confidential. It is important than when you do begin a job search that you know that your current employer doesn't get wind of it on for obvious reasons. And, so, a recruiter, a good recruiter again, understands the importance of confidentiality in a job search.
A good recruiter will take every step possible to ensure that's when you start looking for employers that has kept in confidence. So, yeah, so sometimes I have heard of candidates say that, you know, I really like to join the company, but my boss plays golf with his boss. You know, I wouldn't want you to jeopardise that. So a good recruiter will be able to lay the groundwork for you. Make sure that you know that it's the process is kept in confidence on as professional as possible. They will be able to do the ground work for you.
Would you say that recruiters are are not just for helping you change your job, but even just to find out what's going on the market, you know, it doesn't always have to be, 'I need to change my job right now', maybe more enquiries about what's going on in the market right now?
What new companies are coming in or whatever's going on, you know, because obviously recruiters are aware of what's going on in the market right now. They know what hiring managers and business owners are looking for, what skills are coming, you know, and those kind of areas. So I see recruiters not just for, you know, I need a job right now, Can you help me?, but also that long term relationship of what's going on in the market.
Oh yes, definitely.
Something I try to encourage that some people I may have chatted with three years ago and maybe only placed recently. It's definitely, common practise. And yes, there's no reason why you know, even if you're happy in your job, to cultivate a good relationship with a recruiter because if you have that relationship, they can keep you informed of not only what's happened in the marketplace but what skills are really you know, on demand at the moment, what new companies are entering the market and what companies are leaving.
The reputations of certain companies. Yeah, they give you all that, all that good information. I understand, particularly, Software Developers don't want to do that now because you think as soon as I start speaking to a recruiter, I'm gonna get spammed and tortured. That brings me right back to my first point, is you have to pick the right person to do this with. A good recruiter, will understand that you're not actively looking right now. So don't be pushing them and don't be sending them jobs every week. Provide them good, good content, you know, like good podcasts.
We get reviews from all our candidates and clients on Feefo. Just about how their service was a Corvus. The top liked review is one about you, Gareth, and it literally just says 'He was not pushy', five stars. That's you know, a big problem in recruitment that people just assume all recruiters are pushy, they're going to force jobs on you. So it's nice, to break away from that and show that you're not the same.
Yeah, that recruitment is hopefully dying the death.
I think people got wind of it on, but yeah, no. Yeah, good recruiter will work with you and not cause your problems, but we'll we'll solve issues for you. But you're definitely cultivate a relationship now. Particularly if you're a Web Developer, UX designer, let's connect, let's grab a cup of coffee.
I can certainly give you insight as much as possible into the marketplace and if the time comes for you to make a move, we've already got that working relationship, we've built trust and you know I'll do the best for you.
Yeah, we'll take it from there. So enough of this shameless plugging.
I hope you enjoy the podcast. Giving you actual career advice n for getting the best out of your recruiter, if you enjoyed this and there's a topic you'd like us to cover, for instance, we might cover, how to write a good CV or benefits off a technical interview, things like that. If there is something specific you'd like us to cover, definitely get in touch. My email address and phone number will be published in this podcast. Okay. Thank you.
Web Development, UX &UI Recruiter & WebTalksNI podcast host
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