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Job Search Lessons From A Fly On The Wall Of A Recruitment Office

Two months ago I started as a digital marketing intern at Consult Recruitment.

This has meant I’ve spent 10+ hours a week inside their open plan offices. Of course, I’m here to get some real-world marketing experience, but there’s been another unexpected benefit to working at Consult. I’ve been able to get some unfiltered, behind-the-scenes insight into the goings-on of a recruitment company.  

I’ve been quietly filing away some observations that I know I’ll find useful as I enter the workforce. Being a generous kind of guy, I’m going to share them with you today.

One of the first observations I made is that the office is a very hectic place. Perhaps this is a result of the upturn in the market, or maybe it’s always like this. There’s a lot of coming and going of consultants and candidates, and the phone never stops ringing.  Despite the fact your consultant might sound cool, calm and collected on the phone, there’s a good chance they’ve been talking non-stop for the last two hours to many other candidates for many other jobs. My first takeaway: Just basic phone etiquette can make everything run a whole lot smoother.  So, introduce yourself (first name and last – they might deal with a lot of ‘Simons’), state the reason for your call, and be nice. They’re always up for a friendly chat and a little joke here and there.

Make it easy for them. A nice tidy CV combined with someone who’s straight up about their strengths and experience is a great combo for consultants. Honesty is the best policy: they’re likely to see through anything marginal candidates might try to sneak by them.     

Another observation I’ve made is that the relationship between the candidate and consultant is very similar to that of a bachelor and his wingman. Think of your dream job as a dream girl. For this analogy we can call her Sally, and your consultant can be Dave. Dave knows Sally pretty well and can even get you a date with her. Dave only wants the best for Sally, so get him pumped about you. If you have some qualities Sally wants, let Dave know (for example, if Sally likes rugby players, make sure you let Dave know you play full-back for your local team). Give Dave a reason to be excited about you. Dave will pass on his excitement about you to Sally, thereby greatly improving your chances of getting a date.

Consultants really enjoy placing people in jobs. They love it. This is why they’re in the business. When people are being placed, the office is a happy place. Everyone is smiling. To me it honestly seems to be about more than just ‘getting the job done’ and earning a fee. Back to my wingman analogy: Dave really wants to get you a girlfriend, even though it means you guys won’t get to hang out for a while. He’s happy that you’re happy. He thinks it’s cute that you and Sally are a thing now and he’s kinda proud. 

The last aspect of the relationship I will touch on is thanks. A nice email or phone call honestly means a lot. If you’re ever back searching for a job, you’ll have a head start as the consultant will have fond memories of you. Since I’ve been working here, one candidate who the team placed in a new job dropped off a box of cupcakes. She was the talk of the office for a long time to follow. You don’t have to bring in cupcakes; just a simple acknowledgement of their efforts is enough to make you stand out. 

So, there you have it: Job search pointers from an intern. I’m definitely hoping my time working behind the scenes at a recruitment company will give me an unfair advantage in future. Maybe it will give you one, too.

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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