HOW TO IMPRESS THE RECRUITMENT AGENCY AND HOW TO DEAL WITH INTERVIEWS

When you've finished refining your CV for a particular role and you’ve composed an introductory letter or email to the firm or recruitment agency, read it back to yourself and ask "Would I want to meet/interview me?" What stands out as good or bad? What catches your attention and makes you want to read more? Is it relevant to the role(s) you are interested in? Ask an impartial friend to do the same. 

Once you’re happy with this, send an email and follow up with a call. If this is to an agency, always clearly state which job you’re interested in or which types of jobs, if you’re not applying for a specific one.

Think about how you come across in person. There’s been research that states that interview decisions are made within the first two to thirty seconds. The rest of the interview is just somebody justifying their initial decision. So it’s a "gut feel" decision that may occur even before you shake hands. This applies when meeting recruiters too as they will be recommending you. For interviews, it’s all about preparation. Learn about your client/recruiter – how they communicate, how they dress, how they look. When you talk to them, watch their body movements. What’s the tone they use? What’s the speed they use to talk? You can also do that with their written communication – their website, annual reports, and press releases. The key to all this is communicating to your audience, so that it seems like you already work there.

Be honest, be yourself, but be specific about your experience and use examples. If you have experience in Further Education or Youth jobs and it’s directly related to the one you are applying for, demonstrate that with specific experience. Don’t talk too much and ensure you take time to listen and don’t interrupt! Show them you’ve done your research and why you are a good match for each other. Practice any potentially tough questions that may come up, as well as having some to ask them in return. Think about asking more interesting questions as opposed to self-serving ones such as ‘What’s the holiday allowance?’

Keep in regular contact with any agencies you are working with – make it easy for them to reach you, ensure they have all the information they need and that it is up to date. Ask an agency for feedback on your CV and also your approach and take on board their comments. This helps you and builds rapport with them. Also, be specific about your needs, be approachable and available and respond quickly. However, try to avoid the stalking routine of calling or emailing every hour! That isn’t helpful or welcome.

Jenny Smith

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