Job hunting in a competitive labour market such as Vancouver’s can feel like treading water with no employment prospects on the horizon. But it is important to remember; no matter how dejected we may feel about our chances of gaining employment, there are always options. One option that is worth shining a light upon is an often overlooked, but highly effective resource, known as recruitment agencies.
Recruitment agencies seek out individuals to fill positions with various corporations and organizations that have job openings. For the most part, employers will look to recruitment agencies to assist them in their hiring needs for permanent, temporary, contract, full-time or part-time positions.
In Vancouver, there are many recruitment services specializing in different sectors and a number of employers are turning towards recruiters to meet their hiring and staffing needs. Recruiters are responsible for carefully pre-screening and meeting with prospective candidates to assess their eligibility for a job opening. Recruiters are also responsible for assessing a prospective candidate’s technical skill-set or ability related to the specific job. If a prospective candidate seems like a good fit for the position, the recruiter will arrange an interview time and date between the candidate and the employer, if the employer likes the candidate, they are offered the job. Recruiters largely work on commission, so they have a vested interest in ensuring they successfully place candidates in the positions they recruit for.
Recruitment agencies are an excellent resource to utilize. Think about it, while you are applying for jobs online, conducting informational interviews and networking, you now have a group of qualified and experienced professionals that will be keep you informed of any position that matches your skills and qualifications.
Recruiters generally have an excellent network of key individuals in particular sectors and also have a wealth of information on various industries. Aside from having insider information, recruiters can also provide you with leads on jobs that are not advertised. In other words recruitment agencies can be the gatekeepers to the ever-elusive hidden job market. On top of that, recruitment services are provided to you at no charge, all you have to do is submit your resume and register with an agency.
Sounds pretty appealing and you are probably thinking ‘why haven’t I looked into this yet?’ But not so fast! Before you start firing off your resume to every recruitment agency in the city, it would be wise to review some necessary information:
- TREAT THEM LIKE THE EMPLOYER: Remember, while recruiters are an effective resource in job search assistance, keep in mind that they also evaluate and assess your eligibility for a job opening. All the same rules and principles for job searching apply with recruiters. That means; your resume needs to be a polished, professional document that will get their attention. When the recruitment agency contacts you for an interview, dress as you would for a formal job interview.
- DEMONSTRATE INITIATIVE AND BE PRO-ACTIVE: Recruiters meet new and prospective candidates daily so it is hard to keep track of every individual on their roster. Don’t wait for them to contact you, make an effort so that you remain fresh in their mind by constantly communicating and reaching out to them. Remind them about your skills and ensure that you are demonstrating your flexibility by letting them know that you are open to temporary or part-time work and are willing to utilize your skills in different fields.
- UPGRADE YOUR TECHNICAL SKILLS: Ensure that your technical skills are effectively highlighted in your resume. Most recruitment agencies will conduct on-site testing to evaluate your competency with programs such as Microsoft Office (yes, that means Word, Excel and Powerpoint) and your typing speed.
- RECRUITMENT AGENCIES DO NOT CHARGE YOU: If you are dealing with an agency that is asking you to pay up-front, turn around and leave immediately. Recruiters are paid by the organizations that hire them to meet their recruiting needs. You, as a job seeker, should never have to pay a recruiter, yourself, for their services.
Working with recruiters is an effective way to increase your chances of gaining a job, but they are not to be relied on as a crutch. Your job search is, primarily, your responsibility. Recruiters are one stream to assist you in landing a job, but you should still be applying online, conducting research on various companies and, most importantly networking. By combining all of these elements, you will significantly increase the likelihood of identifying opportunities and landing the job that will launch your career.