Recruitment agencies can be invaluable when you’re looking for a new role – but they don’t always tell you everything you need. Behavioural psychologist, Richard Jenkins, lifts the lid on the hidden issues of job-hunting to help you become even more successful.
'The reason you haven’t got the job you want is because the firm doesn’t know you’re available'
Thanks to sites like Indeed and Monster looking for jobs has never been easier. But it’s never been harder to work out which firms you’re applying to work for. Many agencies don’t include the name of the brand in the advert. How then do you know you’re applying for a company you want to work for? The answer is 'you don’t'.
That’s not the only issue. Advertised jobs don’t account for all of the jobs available. Just because a role isn’t advertised doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Similarly, some roles are advertised and the job doesn’t actually exist - the more disreputable agencies creating ‘fake’ roles to broaden their candidate base. Either way, it’s a good idea to have companies in mind that you would like to work for. Don’t just look at ones who are advertising.
Most people don’t take a speculative approach - but it can be very rewarding for both candidate and employer if they did. Tell a company you’re available and looking for work and by taking the initiative, and through a direct approach, you’re immediately showing a high level of enthusiasm, proactivity and company knowledge (assuming you have researched the company thoroughly beforehand). Recruitment agencies, while effective, handle more than one client at a time. They’ll put forward multiple candidates for a single position. Plus they’ll charge the recruiting company in some way for doing it. Approach directly and your CV won’t be part of a ‘pack’ of applications, and you’ll save the company expensive recruitment fees if you’re successful.
'You can sell yourself better than anyone else can'
Having interviewed numerous potential employees during his time in the police force, Richard was always more impressed by those candidates who requested information and plainly wanted a career. He was less polite about those who simply showed up for an interview with very little knowledge or interest in the position or organisation.
Don’t be put off if there aren’t any vacancies at any one time. If you’ve expressed an interest about working with a firm and there are no jobs available, when a position does appear you may be at the front of the employer’s mind. Plus, there’s the money-saving element of no recruitment fees to help your case!
'It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know'
For some people the idea of networking can cause embarrassment. There’s often a reluctance to contact friends or previous colleagues. But this can be the most effective way of finding out about upcoming vacancies and getting recommends for roles.
If you have a company in mind, think about who you know who works there. If you don’t know anyone personally, introduce yourself to a decision maker in an online community or through a direct approach at an industry event or similar.
The key is not to ask for a job, but rather ask for help and advice on how to get work in that particular area or for a particular company. And if you do feel embarrassed contacting someone you haven’t spoken to for a while, remember honesty is always the best policy. The simplest and most effect phrase you can use is 'I need your help'. We all have a desire to help and asking directly is often the best way to get it.
It’ll come as little surprise that face-to-face interaction is the most effective way to engage. Almost 55% of the messages we receive from people come from body language. A chat over the phone or an online exchange excludes this vital communication. Wherever possible, meet face-to-face.
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