If you’re actively job hunting, chances are you’ll register with more than one recruitment agency over time.
While there’s nothing wrong with this (no one agency is going to have all of the jobs, all of the time), it’s super important that you manage your relationships with agencies carefully.
Just as candidates often work with multiple agencies, many hiring managers will brief more than one agency on their vacancy. In addition, some recruitment ‘consultants’ (I use the term loosely) will send resumes to hiring managers speculatively, without first gaining the hiring manager’s OR the candidate’s permission, in hopes it’ll stick and they’ll make a quick buck.
This can result in an awkward situation where you have more than one agency claiming they’re representing you for the same job.
But doesn’t that increase my chances of getting the job?
The answer is an emphatic NO. As a job seeker, this is not a good place to be in.
The hiring manager is likely to think that you aren’t managing your relationships well and are a bit ‘all over the place’.
And often, it just gets too complicated for them – they don’t know who they should be contacting to arrange interviews, or who will be eventually billing them.
As a result, you could well miss out on the job all together.
Prevention is better than cure
We generally recommend working with a maximum of three good agencies at any one time (and remember, just because you’ve registered with an agency at some point, it doesn’t mean you have to remain on their books if you’re not happy with their service).
What makes a good agency? They work hard to understand you and what you’re looking for. They work hard to understand their clients and what they’re looking for. And they never, EVER send a resume without first giving a detailed explanation of the vacancy to the candidate and getting their explicit permission to do so.
In an ideal world, every agency would operate this way. But the reality is, some don’t. It’s up to you to work only with those agencies you judge to be trustworthy.
You must also be clear in your expectation that they will talk to you before they send your resume anywhere – it’s your private document, and it should be treated as such.
Finally, make sure your consultant gives you all the information you need about a job. If you’re at the stage of the game where your resume’s about to be submitted, there’s absolutely no reason why your recruiter shouldn’t be able to give you all the relevant details (company name, department and hiring manager’s name - at a minimum).
But I’ve already got two agencies scrapping over me! What do I do?
There are no industry rules around candidate representation, just norms. At the end of the day, you have the say about who represents you.
I would suggest that the agency that has spent the time understanding you, explaining the role to you and gaining your permission to represent you to their client, is the agency that you should choose.