5 tips for contractors dealing with recruitment agencies
There are numerous advantages to using recruitment agencies to find contracts, and the majority of contractors in the UK will go through agencies to find work.
Ultimately, they take care of the three main aspects of your career: which positions you apply for; where you will work; and the rate you will be paid.
However, you cannot expect to make the best use of a recruitment agency unless you fully understand their processes and their own objectives. Here are some tips on how to really get the most out of them:
Choose a reputable agency
Ask around in order to discover agencies with solid reputations and be sure to look for those that have experience and specialism in your industry. With time, you'll find the ones that best suit you; typically you will end up with five or more agencies which you deal with in the long-term.
Tailor your CV
In order to improve your chances of a recruitment agency putting you forward for a role, make sure you take the time to adapt your CV accordingly and tailor the text to suit a specific position. Take note of any particular skills they are looking for and sell yourself on these points.
Although many elements of the digital age are beneficial for contractors - namely, ease of applying for jobs online or via email - a quick phone call to the agency after submitting your CV will show that you are keen and serious about the role, and will also provide the opportunity to build up a rapport with the agent.
Prior to your interview, make sure you know enough about the role. The agency may have provided you with a summary of what the position entails, but - unless you are extremely confident - you want to know more. What is the project? What specialisms are they looking for? How long is it expected to last? Is there the opportunity for an extension? This will mean you avoid wasting time travelling to get to the interview and losing out on half a day's pay.
Be confident with regards to your rate and the type of role you want to be considered for. You are likely to receive calls for positions which don't fit your requirements, but it is important to hold out for the right roles. Remember: you have a specific skillset, are good at what you do and are (more than likely) in demand. If the client can't increase the rate of pay, ask the agency if they will meet you in the middle with regard to their margins to help secure the role for both you and them.
Ultimately, contractors need recruitment agencies as much as the other way round. As long as you choose the right ones, understand how they work and what to expect, there is no reason you can't get the most out of using their services.
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