The other day I found myself in a really challenging situation, you know the sort, where you want the ground to swallow you up before you say something stupid. It was all because someone put me on the spot, in a very demeaning way. I was attending a jobs fair, standing by our branded table full of leaflets and merchandise, beaming away at people and talking lots when I was approached by a well presented guy. He picked up one of the leaflets, flicked it over in his hand and said:
‘What is it you actually do and why should I waste my time talking to you?’
As you can imagine, being my first ever contact with this individual I was a little taken aback by the abruptness of his tone and question. So, after rocking backwards on my heels for a couple of seconds, cheeks feeling a bit hot, I mustered up my courage, smiled and replied with total honesty:
‘I’m a recruitment consultant for an agency, which means I match candidates who are looking for a job, whether temporary or permanent, with companies who are looking for people to fill their positions. This basically means I’m really good at understanding people, getting to know what motivates them and building relationships. And I’m pretty sure, if you gave me 5 minutes of your time I’m confident I can help to make your job hunt a little easier.’
It turned out after quite an emotional rollercoaster of a discussion that this individual was in desperate need of some help in his job hunt. But after I came away and replayed the conversation in my head, it got me really thinking. Do people actually know what a recruitment consultant does and how much we can help?
As most know, job hunting is really hard. As a candidate you’re tasked with trying to find a way to fill your time that isn’t going to fill you with dread, is going to pay enough to cover the bills, fits around your schedule (often family and friends), is something your capable of doing, close to home and if you’re lucky enough, is something you enjoy.
And if this wasn’t hard enough, you actually have to stand out enough from everyone else in order to even get a job like this! Knowing how hard this process is, I see my role in recruitment as here for you as the candidate to make it that little bit easier. If you’re a job hunter you might find me through a job advert online, approach me directly via our company website, or maybe just come to our agency in search of a bit more information. Usually at this stage, your first question to me is ‘can you please help me?’. And 9 times out of 10, my answer is yes. At this point I will do all I can to get to know you, so ask lots of questions like:
What job role are you looking for?
What have you done in the past?
Whereabouts are you willing to travel to?
What motivates you? Etc. etc.
From this information and a copy of your CV, I can then suggest roles I know about from relationships I have with companies that might suit you. I can also use these relationships to go out to client companies to look for roles in the area that might suit you.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once I’ve put you forward for a role that we both agree will suit you, and that company then tells me they would like to meet you, I then support you throughout the whole interview process. I give you hints and tips to impress, support you and calm those interview nerves. Essentially, I act as the middle man between you and the hiring company, speaking up for your requirements and occasionally softening the blow. Speaking from experience, it’s a much more comfortable feeling having someone fight your corner than having to do so yourself – because interviewing can be a scary process.
The best bit though, is I’m also the person who gets to tell you “you got the job!” which is, for me, one of the most amazing feelings in the world.
So in all honesty, when someone asks me ‘what do you actually do as a recruitment agency consultant?’ My generic ‘job matcher’ response doesn’t quite cover it. The real truth is, yes I’m a job matcher, but I’m also shoulder to lean on, a relationship builder, a friend and someone candidates can really rely on. I’m someone who will support you in your job hunt and stick by you from the beginning to the end, until you find something you are happy in..