Forgetting Recruiters and Applying Directly: A Good Idea?

Starting a job search may seem daunting at first. It’s a process that requires a lot more thought than most people think. Not only do you have to decide what direction you want to take your career in and craft your resume to reflect who you are and what a great asset you’d be for any business, you also need to decide on the approach you want to take in order to get in front of the right decision makers. While being an “apply now” button warrior on job sites may seem like a relatively harmless and no-fuss strategy, it may hurt your chances of landing your ideal job in the long-run. Should you forget recruiters and apply directly?

First off, in the early stages of your job hunt you need to decide whether you’ll go through a recruitment agency or cut the middle man and apply directly to live roles advertised by the companies themselves. While the latter may seem more attractive and we are by no means saying that it doesn’t work for some job seekers, there are millions of people who have benefited far more from using an agency. The danger of applying directly without coaching from a consultant can have an adverse effect on your search.

Indeed recruiters tend to have a negative reputation, for valid and invalid reasons alike. However, if you find a consultant you are confident has integrity and does believe in the work they do, then you’ll reap the benefits tenfold.

Here are a few points you should consider before you decide to forego recruiters:

CV Editing

Crafting your CV is an art in itself and recruiters are the ones who can help you get the best out of it. There are so many great candidates out there who sell themselves short on their CV through no fault of their own but inexperience when dabbling in the job market. You need to view your CV as your personal marketing tool and no matter how much you’ve worked on it it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from a professional who does this day in and day out.

Your consultant will know exactly what questions to ask you to glean relevant information that you may have missed on your CV for one reason or other, but that would set you apart from other applicants. What you need to remember is that your chosen recruiter will most likely have long-standing relationships with their clients and know exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate. While you can scour job descriptions published directly by companies and adapt your CVs to them, there is still no guarantee that your CV will make it in front of the right person.

Don’t Be Just Another CV

Aside from a recruiter’s knowledge regarding CVs, their relationship with their clients will enable them to recommend you for your desired job. They will take time to get to know you and learn about your experience in-depth, information which they can then use in conversations with hiring managers. A hiring manager can only get so much from a CV, but they can learn far more about your skills, you as a person, and your transferable skills from their trusted recruiter.

If you stick to applying directly you won’t benefit from that human touch. If you apply through a recruiter, it’s like having a direct line to the people who actually do the hiring.

Interview Insight

If you manage to make it past the first hurdle and get invited to an interview without the help of a recruiter, you may fall short in the interview prep department. If you go at it alone, you’ll most likely get limited information regarding the interview process and what to expect during it. However, if you work with a consultant you’ll be given insight into the whole interview process and what it is they’re looking for in people. This is likely due to their experience placing candidates with the client and knowing the hiring managers and HR.

Furthermore, if you choose to go directly you’ll most likely be going against other candidates who have had help from recruiters preparing for the interview. They’ll most likely be in better stead because they’ll know what the hiring manager is really looking for.

Future Representation

If you apply directly to an organisation and you don’t get a call back then you get lost in their system. They do keep your CV on file, but it’s very likely that you may never get a call even in the future. If you approach a recruiter after applying directly they will tell you that they can’t put you forward for the role as you’re already in their system. There’s just no incentive for the recruiter to represent you, therefore you’re stuck just being a name in the company’s database- a needle in a haystack.

Salary Negotiations

Regardless of how good you are at negotiating, salary conversations can be awkward no matter who you are. You don’t want to sell yourself short just to get the role, but you also don’t want to come across as though money is your only motivation. If you work with a recruiter all of that falls into their hands and they’ll be able to tactfully get you a better deal than you would yourself nine times out of ten. Let’s not forget that recruiters work for a fee and the more you get, the more they get. It’s a win-win situation.

So, when embarking on the daunting task of changing jobs it’s best to take everything into consideration. Even if you’re leaning towards going at it on your own, it’s best to have a conversation with a recruiter beforehand as it doesn’t mean you have to make a commitment. What you need to remember is that while recruitment sometimes gets a bad rep, there are very many recruiters out there that have their candidate’s best interests at heart. If you need some tips on choosing a recruiter, check out our “6 Tips for Choosing The Right Recruiter” here.

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Good luck!