Build a good rapport
Treat your meetings with your recruitment agent/consultant like an interview. Remember you need to make a good impression with them in order for them to put you forward to their clients.
Don’t underestimate the power of a recruitment agent/consultant – in some cases they will not only be putting your CV forward, but they could be making initial pre-selection decisions for the company and even running assessment centres.
Not all agencies are right for you, so go and talk to two or three before deciding which one to work with. Look for those agencies/consultancies that can show that they have a detailed understanding of their specialist market area, that do not put you forward for inappropriate roles and show a willingness to maintain a relationship even when they are not actively seeking work for you.
Know the rules
Make sure you understand what a recruitment firm can and cannot do for you. The REC, which is the trade body that supports and represents the recruitment industry, provides best practice guidelines. Check to see if the agencies you are using are signed up to the REC and its code of practice.
Explain what you want
Explain clearly and carefully what you want – if you take time at the start, it can reduce misunderstandings and wasted efforts and ensure you get the job opportunities that interest you.
If they contact you with an opportunity, especially for temporary work, try to respond as quickly as possible. However if you feel that you need more information before agreeing to put your CV forward or accepting the temporary role, ask for it, also so some independent research if you feel you need to. Agencies often work under time pressure, so slow responses may lead to disappointment.
Contact them if you hear nothing
Keep an eye on the results – if your requirements are reasonable and the market is also reasonably buoyant, then you should hear about potential opportunities within a couple of weeks. If you don’t hear anything, then follow up with them (a phone call is usually best, but email if you can't get hold of your agent/consultant). Politely ask ask them for an update. If you keep in contact, they won’t forget you – but don’t become a thorn in their side.
Use their knowledge
If you have a good recruitment agent/consultant, they will often know the market well. They are a great source of market information, especially regarding salaries and benefits.