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The best relationship you will ever have

Let’s be honest, looking for your next career opportunity can feel like a full time job in itself; it’s time consuming, hard work and can often result in little or no feedback for all your efforts. This is where your recruitment consultant comes in and whilst yes, their primary role is to help you obtain your next career opportunity, it most certainly should not be just a transient relationship. 

By building and maintaining a strong relationship with your recruitment consultant you not only gain insight into career opportunities, you gain a wealth of industry and recruitment knowledge. They can offer advice on CVs and interview techniques, so you are a better prepared and focused candidate, which will make you stand out against other candidates. Most importantly, they know the person who is going to give you the job and this can only be a positive. 

However, it is important to recognise that the relationship between yourself and your recruitment consultant works both ways and should be mutually beneficial.

Here are a few ways you can make the most out of the relationship with your recruitment consultant:

• Show respect - do your research on the most suitable consultancies for you to approach based on your skills and experiences. Be friendly and courteous, be on- time, call when you say you will; act professionally and remember they are the gatekeeper to your next career move. 

• Appear serious - it is vital you are professional, motivated and knowledgeable about your interests and career path. Consider registering with only one or two recruitment consultants, so you can focus on building the relationship. Registering with multiple consultants gives the appearance that you are hedging your bets and don’t have faith in them securing you the right role.

• Know what you want - the relationship works best if you have a clear understanding of the types of roles you are looking for. By doing this the consultant can be focused and only send you roles from employers that are a match. Being clear about what’s right is important, and as equally important is to be clear about what is wrong, especially any deal breakers.

• Be honest - By building a trusting and honest relationship with your recruitment consultant you will allow them to fully tell your story to potential employers. Understanding your personality and motivations is a huge precursor to a successful placement. Being honest about your skills and experience allows the recruitment consultant to gain the whole picture and represent you accurately. Do also let your consultant know your honest salary and benefit expectations throughout the negotiation process, so they can ensure there is no misunderstanding when speaking with employers.

• Be transparent - if you are no longer interested in a job, or can no longer attend an interview, be direct about this. Keep them informed as to which roles appeal and which do not. If you’re just dipping a toe in the water and haven’t fully committed to finding your next role, then tell them and they will be more than happy to discuss the trends and types of roles available.

• Keep in contact - having an open two-way communication is the best way to build a relationship and rapport with your recruitment consultant. If they are trying to contact you don’t ignore them; not responding to emails or phone calls make you come across as disinterested and unreliable. Indeed, don’t think the relationship will be at its most productive if you rely on email alone; pick up the phone. Feedback is essential to building and maintaining your relationship and for ensuring you are discussing the right roles. Remember, securing a job doesn’t mean the end of the relationship. You never know when you’ll need a new job, so keeping in contact can only be beneficial.

• Be open to advice- your recruitment consultant will have a good overview of your market and how you and your skills fit into it. If they are advising you on salary expectations, improvements to your CV or how best to impress at interview with a particular company, take note. Ultimately they want you to get the job, so will be laying the groundwork to give you the best chance of success.

Ultimately for a recruitment consultant, the candidates that come to mind first are those that are obviously best suited the role. However, those candidates with whom they have a continuous, trusting and active relationship are a close second. By communicating with your recruitment consultant and showing them your career aspirations, you will build a strong rapport and they can then keep you updated on suitable opportunities, as soon as they come out.