Expert Insights: Working Effectively With Recruitment Consultants

This short series of interviews is designed to provide tips for accountants and other professionals on working effectively with recruitment consultants.  Today’s blog post is from my interview with Accountancy and Financial Recruitment expert Phil Scott of AFR Consulting. 

Tell us a little bit about you and your background.

I graduated from The University of Humberside with a degree in Accountancy & Finance and after spending some time in Practice I decided to do a summer season as a holiday rep – which turned into a 4 year career through a succession of promotions.  My last role with Thomas Cook was in their recruitment team which I enjoyed immensely.  I then decided becoming a financial recruiter seemed a sensible option combining my accountancy knowledge and my enjoyment of meeting people.

How long have you been working in the recruitment industry?

In 2001 I had my first recruitment role then in 2004 I co-founded AFR Consulting Financial recruitment specialists.

What are some of the common mistakes you see candidates make when it comes to working with a recruitment consultant?

I think some candidates expect a consultant to be sat around with an empty workload available to take every call.

Typically a recruiter will spend as much of their time between 9-5 visiting or calling as many clients as possible.

Some job seekers get frustrated when a recruiter isn’t available however it’s not always a negative, embrace the fact they are busy working on finding potential roles for their candidates.

You will soon find out who the good ones are by whether they return your call however this will depend on the quality and relevance of the information you leave for them. Building the best possible relationship with a consultant will undoubtedly help you get the best result.

What should candidates do before approaching a recruitment consultant?

You need to do your due diligence; research who is advertising positions at your level.

All good recruiters will call you in for a registration interview; 1) because the client expects it and 2) so they can fully get to know you in order to do you justice when representing you and speaking on your behalf to a client.

Research say that after going to see 10 agencies candidates will have had enough and stop registering with new agencies. Therefore whatever your magic number is just make sure you fill it with quality meetings before you reach your cut off point.  Whilst at these meetings educate them on your search criteria and what your USP’s are it’s important that you hammer home your strengths.

If you try to paint your self as a jack of all trades and master of none then you will never make the top of any shortlists requiring niche skills. However if you are a generalist then your USP is that you’re the No.1 generalist in the SME market for example.

What contributes to a successful candidate recruitment consultant relationship in your experience?

Clear understanding what each others expectations are from the relationship and the frequency and times of contact that is acceptable.  Also always be honest – for both parties, consultants should tell you when there are no roles quite right and candidates shouldn’t take interviews if they’re not genuinely interested.

What would be your 5/6 top tips for candidates when it comes to working effectively with recruitment consultants?

Attend a registration interview, build rapport and ask how long the meeting should take so that you cram in as much information in the allocated time slot without waffling or running out of time.

Keep in touch and establish the right amount of acceptable contact.

Respect that a recruiter will be doing business development to find vacancies for their candidates during 9-5

Check  whether you need to apply to vacancies once registered so you don’t add to an already clogged up inbox.  20 registered candidates all applying for the same 5 vacancies = 100 unnecessary emails which will deny the recruiter of 1-2 hours essential client business development.

Endear yourself to a recruiter so they fight to get you a role over other candidates.

Call your consultant after an interview so that you seem enthused for the vacancy.  If a client asks the recruiter after the interview which of the candidates seem interested in the vacancy you need to make sure you are on that list.

Anything else you would like to add?

In the current climate, unfortunately there will be more candidates available to speak to than there are minutes in the day to speak to them all so each candidate will probably get less air time than they would in a more buoyant market.

Phil Scott, Director AFR Consulting, Accountancy & Financial Recruitment Specialists www.afrconsulting.co.uk

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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