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What Job Seekers Can Expect from a Staffing Agency

Many job seekers feel simultaneously hopeful and unsure of what to expect by the prospect of working with a recruiter. When you haven’t partnered with an agency in the past, it’s natural to have questions about how the process works and what you can expect. Let’s go through some common tips on how to best partner with your recruiter! 

The Role of an Agency for Candidates

The role of the staffing agency is to assist companies in filling open positions quickly with high-quality candidates. As a job seeker, you’ll likely connect with a recruiter by applying for jobs the agency posted on sites like Indeed or LinkedIn. Word-of-mouth from your network on who to partner with is a common way to find a great contact; when someone secures a good placement through a recruiter, they’ll likely recommend that person to friends and family who also need help.

After reviewing candidate applications, the recruiter’s next goal is to engage with a shortlist of suitable candidates and conduct initial interviews to learn more about them. Because the recruiter has additional insights into what the company is looking for, they can provide candidates with details beyond the job description. 

Like a match-maker, the recruiter introduces a candidate to the client when a suitable fit is identified. They also help the applicant prepare for interviews and assist in salary negotiations when the time comes.  

The Benefits of Working with a Recruiter

When you apply for a job through an agency, they typically consider you for positions beyond that initial one. In this way, working with a recruiter increases the odds that you’ll find a good fit; you don’t have to apply for every open position to be considered. Recruiters want to get to know you and help you find an opportunity that aligns with what you are looking for. Additionally, recruiters know what the company wants, their budget and minimum requirements, their hiring process, and their timeline. This inside knowledge helps them get the best deal for both the client and the candidate.

Meeting your Recruiter

Once the recruiting agency schedules an introductory call with you, you’ll find that this conversation is more candid than an interview with a hiring manager. For example, while you wouldn’t want to tell a hiring manager that you had problems with a former boss, you can (and should) let the recruiter know so they have a better idea of what kind of company and culture you want. 

This interview is also when you’ll discuss salary. Transparency here is key. Recruiters can’t get what you don’t ask for, and you want to avoid blindsiding them later by rejecting an offer that met the requirement you gave them.

This is also your opportunity to ask questions about the job, the recruiter, the agency, communication expectations and other positions for which they’re hiring. Use this time to determine if this will be a good partnership and if they have the resources to find you a good match.

Meeting the Hiring Team

Once you’ve had a conversation with the recruiter and have agreed on opportunities you’d like to apply for, your application goes under a second review process with the client under a uniquely small applicant pool. Agencies will only short-list a handful of candidates to recommend interviewing, so the likelihood of getting connected with the company is greater.  

Many hiring managers and HR professionals may ask about everything from your work experience, education and qualifications, to why you want to work at this company. To set yourself up for success, you should plan to discuss your accomplishments. For example, don’t just say you “managed high-value accounts” and are an “expert” at something. Instead, be more granular in your responses and give them enough detail to ensure that you’re the person they want for the job. You may also have a skills test during this phase, depending on the client and the role.

What About After I Start? 

So you’ve got an offer and you’ve accepted – Congratulations! Your recruiter will check in on your first day and periodically reach out to see how things are going. After all – they want to make sure that you and their client are happy because a good fit is the ultimate measure of success for a recruiter. 

Staying in touch with your recruiter is an excellent way to ensure they can help you find a new job when your contract ends or when you’re ready to change positions. LinkedIn is a great tool to easily keep in touch with your recruiter. 


Photo Credit: Canva 

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