Christmas is here. So should I put my job search on hold?

Christmas Tree 2014 2

The TM Christmas Tree

On the first day of Christmas

My true love sent to me:

A rejection email with my unread CV.

 On the second day of Christmas

Another company:

No interview date

And a rejection email with my unread CV.

 On the third day of Christmas

This time four more companies:

“We regret to inform you”

No interview date

And a rejection email with my unread CV.

It is a common assumption that the recruitment market goes into a bit of a lull during the festive season, possibly due to employees drinking too much vin chaud and attending one too many Christmas parties.  So, with the holidays fast approaching, TM began to reflect on whether there is any truth in this belief.  Is the Christmas period truly a bad time for job hunting and when would be the optimum time of the year to start applying for jobs?

What TM finds

At TM International our busiest periods fall in April and October.  Given that our clients are based across all industries, this isn’t surprising since these two months coincide with the busiest months for recruitment in general, regardless of sector.  Being based in Paris, our quieter period falls in the summer, when the majority of Parisians pack their bags and head south for August.  Employees are usually en vacances and things begin to pick up again at the rentrée; it’s not just the children who are back to school!

Know your industry

The key piece of advice though is to know your industry.  It is fairly obvious that the retail and catering sectors see a huge surge in recruitment around Christmas as companies need to cope with the many more festive shoppers and restaurant goers.  In the UK, Royal Mail and Amazon are hiring 32,000 temporary staff between them this Christmas!  Likewise, financial services take on the most recruits between January and March in preparation for the end of the tax year when the workload picks up.  Aside from this though, analysing the recruitment calendar and hedging your bets is a lot like card reading; there doesn’t seem to be an exact science to it.

Change is in the air

Interestingly, Simon Baddeley, regional director of Reed employment, makes the point in an article by Emma Woollacott that the conventional recruitment calendar is changing and the traditionally ‘slow’ seasons (Christmas and the summer) are no longer quite so slow.  With online applications now commonplace, the use of automated processes has made the imbalances in the recruitment calendar decidedly smoother.  Now that job adverts are all online (who remembers the old adverts posted in the newspaper?) and many companies use technical screening for the first stages of your application, previously time-consuming processes have been simplified.  This means that the recruitment process is not so affected by reduced numbers of staff during holiday periods.  Furthermore, thanks to email, your CV and cover letter are no longer in the hands of the Royal Mail, so long gone are the days of your application being a victim of the infamous Christmas post!

Some recruitment experts go so far as to actually advise applying during the holiday periods.  Mary Eileen Williams gives several reasons to look for jobs at Christmas, her most important being that the number of candidates applying drops off.  While at TM we can’t see any specific lull in the number of candidates we receive in December, there’s no reason why you should put your job search on hold thinking that your chances of getting hired will be reduced.

So, on that note, update your CV, stop the online Christmas shopping, and start job hunting instead!  With many adding ‘Look for a new job’ to their list of New Year’s resolutions, beat the crowd and give yourself a head start before the year is up.  There’s no time like the present!

If you want a job for Christmas, head to our website to browse our latest opportunities.  And, if you liked this article and want more career advice, take a look at our blog (you can even subscribe by clicking ‘Follow’ – now that would be a good Christmas present)!


Job Seeker Top Tips

As you embark on your job search, the amount of job search methods on offer may seem daunting. Amongst the plethora of job boards, social networks, agencies and job fairs there are certainly plenty of different leads to choose from. We’ve set out the different tools at your disposal below and encourage you to work with all of them in order to multiply your chances of getting that elusive job offer.

Job Boards

Job boards are a great indicator of the jobs on offer and the state of the job market in general. The concept of job boards is straightforward: you can search for job offers and send in your CV and cover letter or you can post your CV as a speculative application. By registering with a job board, you will be able to save a keyword search tailored to your job search and receive job alerts suited to your profile. Nowadays, most job boards are available online with the big players in the job board domain being Monster, Career Builder, LinkedIn and APEC (for those residing in France).  In order to use job boards effectively, keep in mind to use a variety of job boards, such as broad-based job search engines such as Indeed and sector-specific search engines for example, Village de la Justice for the legal sector, to get the best return of results.

Recruitment Agencies

Many potential employers use recruitment agencies to handle their recruitments so they are an essential medium for you. Recruitment agencies are free for job searchers as it is the clients who pay for the service. The process of recruitment agencies is simple: you apply for a job advertised on their site or send in your CV and if successful, you will be called in for an interview. After the interview, the recruitment consultants will find the candidate suitable job offers and forward the candidate onto the prospective employer. The recruitment consultants should keep in touch with the candidate and deliver feedback to both the candidate and the client. A good recruitment agency will also advise you on your CV, interview technique and job search, potentially becoming  a career partner throughout your professional life. As above, there are broad based recruitment agencies and specialised agencies, for example TM International deals with the recruitment of bilingual admin jobs in Paris, so make the most of the variety of recruitment agencies on offer.

Social Networking

Businesses regularly use social networks to advertise job vacancies. Do your research, look for businesses you wish to target and follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts for their latest job offers.  Furthermore, take advantage of the Twitter hash tag and search for job vacancies that are suited to your profile. Keep your eye on the ball and visit business social network accounts regularly.

Professional Networking Sites

LinkedIn and Viadéo are where the majority of recruiters do their headhunting. In fact, a recent survey has shown that more than 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn, so this is a great way to look for jobs.  Catch HR managers’ attention with a complete profile with all professional experience, skills and recommendations included. Increase your online presence by participating in discussion groups and share articles of relevance in your domain. If you haven’t already got a profile on either of these sites, it is essential you sign up today!

Job Fairs and Networking

Direct contact with employers is a brilliant way to find jobs that aren’t openly on the recruitment radar. Websites such as LinkedIn and Meetup regularly advertise opportunities to meet prospective employers such as conferences, job fairs and after-work networking events. Make sure you sign up for them and come prepared with business cards with your contact details.  Don’t forget to contact your professional connections and friends to get the word out that you are seeking a job. Through your current contacts, you can reach their contacts in turn, one of which could be the key to your new job. To network effectively, it is necessary to chase up contacts, persevere and use all possible avenues!

What job seeking methods have worked for you recently? Which job boards or other job searching methods would you recommend?

How to make sure you don’t lose your language skills

If you are a multilingual job seeker in the UK, pay attention!

In today’s job market, things are getting more and more competitive. With new records of students graduating with degrees every year in Britain, there simply aren’t enough jobs to satisfy everyone’s needs. As a multilingual job seeker, your best assets are of course your languages. The question is; how do you keep them up to scratch.

There are many different ways in which you can keep your languages going and although many of them may seem simple and obvious, they are very important. For someone like myself who is bilingual in English and French, it is easy just to coast along in English (as it is my mother tongue) and living in Paris, most of my friends and family are English speaking. I find it is crucial to speak as much French as possible with native speakers. Be aware that foreigners do always like to practise their English so be insistent.

Reading is so important to keep your languages ticking over. If you can’t find an interesting piece of French literature, then just get a translated version of your favourite English book. Although this isn’t as good as reading French books, this is still very beneficial. Not a book person? Read a French paper once a day or subscribe to a French magazine eg. le Point. If you are not comfortable with that level of language or simply not sufficiently interested in current affairs, you could try a more informal magazine via Bayard Jeunesse eg. Okapi. It may be targeted at teenagers but is informative, easy to read and equally well-suited to adults with short attention spans!

Everyone likes a good film so there is no excuse not to watch them in French. It is such an easy way to consolidate your French and you are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to French cinema. In fact watching French television is very good for your languages. Just watching the 8 o’clock news every day is worth doing. You can also listen to the French radio and listen to French music (although it is not everyone’s cup of tea!)

If you have visited France or are planning to visit France in the future, make sure you keep in touch with the people you meet. This is the most important part of keeping your language at a solid level. There is no substitute for actually having a conversation in French with a French person. It is even worth finding a pen pal you can write to in French and they they can write to you in English. That way you are both winners.

Grammar. I have kept this to last. Unfortunately this is equally as important as your oral skills. Prospective employers will be keen to test your written French so accuracy is vital. The only way to do it is to practise, like anything else. There are plenty of websites available to test your grammar. You just have to grin and bear it and you will reap the benefits.

Your CV and your photo: match made in heaven?

Working in a recruitment agency, we often receive CVs that shock us in one way or another. The surprises range from garish background colours to outrageously unprofessional photos and candidates never cease to amaze us. When I recounted receiving one such CV to friends recently, they were shocked by something else entirely. It wasn’t the fact that the candidate had added what seemed to be one of their holiday snaps (cocktail in hand) to their CV that shocked them, but rather that they had dared to add a photo at all. Some of us look instinctively to the top right-hand corner as soon as we pick up a CV, expecting to find a photo there, while apparently others are surprised if they find one at all. So what exactly are the benefits of adding a photo to your CV? Do they outweigh the possible risks?

You would have to have been living on another planet not to have noticed the popularity of photos in the media these days. Anyone without a high resolution camera on their mobile phone is in the minority these days and the recent billion dollar sale of the hugely popular app Instagram shows just how valuable image is today. The importance of the visual is nothing new however and is demonstrated by the long standing attention paid to presentation in a business environment. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise therefore that in the six seconds that it takes recruiters to decide whether your CV is making it into the “maybe” pile, precious time is dedicated to looking for your photo.

So is it right that hiring managers expect a photo as part of the CV? One could argue that making hiring decisions based on a photo is unjust discrimination. If recruiters were looking only for a model type and therefore tossed endless “girl next door” type CVs, then such criticism would of course be fair. Realistically though, it is far more likely that recruiters are looking at a photo to see that a candidate knows how to present themself professionally. If an inappropriate photo from their last fancy dress party is attached, then no, the candidate probably won’t make it. But can you really blame a recruiter for reacting (as anyone would) to an unwise choice of photo made by a candidate?

In France, the standard CV features a photo. If nine out of ten candidates add a photo, the tenth risks becoming forgotten. The visual has a huge effect on what we remember – in other words by leaving your photo off your CV, you may be doing yourself more harm than good! If you plan on adding your latest Facebook profile photo to your CV, then yes (unless perhaps your latest profile picture is of you at a meeting) it’s probably best to give it a miss. If on the other hand you are willing to take five minutes out of your day to take a sensible, professional picture of yourself in business dress, then you will only enhance your application. You don’t have to be the next supermodel to reap the benefits of enabling employers to put a face to a name. A well chosen photo will show you to be a serious, realistic candidate as well as increasing the chances that you will stay in the recruiter’s mind.

So as long as you’re wise with your choice, you’ve got nothing to lose!

The graduate CV guide.

It’s almost the end of June and the academic year is coming to an end. Scores of students are looking towards graduation, with many UK Universities having released results to finalists last week. This means one thing – a fresh batch of graduates are on the hunt for jobs. Although some are way ahead of the game – with their places in graduate schemes secured months ago – many are just starting on applications, sending their CVs out in all directions.

It is no secret that getting a job these days is tricky and this is no less the case for graduates. Record numbers are entering the job market, so competition is tough. Many are forced to look outside their target field in the hope of improving their chances of employment. With hiring managers having to eliminate more candidates than ever in the early stages of the recruitment process, impressing employers with your CV is more important than ever. But how should all the relatively inexperienced graduates go about this?

So you’ve been working hard for the last three years to get your degree, before which you had probably only just finished at school. You haven’t got a huge amount of experience, but then how could you? No realistic employer will expect a graduate to have a huge variety of relevant experience, so don’t panic. Look to the skills and experience you do have and present them clearly and realistically. If the only work you have ever done is a summer job in Sainsbury’s, then tell it as it is. There is no point claiming that you “have accounting experience” if in fact you just worked on the till. Employers will see right through such claims and if anything, you’re making yourself look less credible rather than enhancing your skill set.

Pinned Image

Image via .SilentMode (Flickr)

Another temptation is to go into too much detail. While it’s great that you got your ten GCSE’s and Grade Two flute in 2007, they’re not so important now that you have your degree. By including everything you’ve ever done, you are only decreasing the chances that an employer will notice the truly relevant information. Although it is not necessary for an experienced 40 year-old to adhere to the “one-page-CV” rule, there is no shame in graduates keeping CVs to a concise page. Consider your content carefully; CVs from graduates listing their favourite books, films or board games among their interests (which some seem to do in an effort to pad out their CV) quickly flag them up as questionable candidates. It is always important to show professionalism and the case of graduate CVs is no exception. I have previously mentioned the value of including a photo on your CV. This is another area where professionalism is key. Attaching one of your holiday snaps or graduation photos will not help your credibility. Attach a smart, sensible photo of yourself in business dress however and you will help the employer remember you and put a face to a name.

Simple as it may sound, it is vital not to lie on your CV. Stating that you have an advanced level of German, when in actual fact you haven’t spoken a word of it since you got your B at GCSE is just not worth the risk. Employers are unlikely to seek such skills in a candidate if they don’t plan on having them put to use somewhere down the line, so there is absolutely no point in lying if you want to avoid looking like a fool later!

Be prepared. To give yourself the best chance of success, it is advisable to thoroughly consider the requirements of the job for which you are applying. There is absolutely no harm in tailoring your CV to the job at hand and highlighting particularly relevant experience. Preparation is also important where references are concerned. If you are claiming to have “references available on request”, then you should previously have identified those people, as well as having checked that they are happy to be contacted to provide a reference.

Do blow your own trumpet – as long as it’s true! As much as I have talked about the risks of exaggerating your experience, don’t be modest. Your CV is after all your real chance to show off and make a good impression. Describe relevant experience accurately and thoroughly, quantifying success and making your aim and suitability for the role clear.

Knowing the importance of CVs in the job search process – and particularly in today’s competitive graduate job search – it is important to follow the above suggestions in order to ensure that your CV portrays you in the best light possible.

Good Luck!

France’s sixth city: what does London offer the French?

Many of us have been shocked to read in the news recently that London has been dubbed “France’s sixth city”. We read on thinking that this must be some joke, nothing more than a twisted statistic. On the contrary, recent estimations have shown the number of French nationals living in the UK capital to top figures for important French cities such as Bordeaux, Nantes and Strasbourg. It is difficult to calculate an exact figure, but an estimated 300 to 400 thousand French nationals currently call London their home. The figure is so staggering that the French in London have won the right to elect a candidate to represent them in the French National Assembly. So what exactly does London have that encourages so many to make the move across the channel?

If you don’t know London well, you may be unaware that the French presence there is actually nothing new. Following years of persecution in their home country due to their protestant faith, the Huguenots were offered sanctuary in the United Kingdom by King Charles II. Large numbers of French migrants began to arrive in London in the seventeenth century. Often known as “Le Refuge”, this movement even led to the coining of the term “refugee”. Attracted by cheaper prices, the Huguenots converged in the east of the city, where their mark can still be seen in the area around Spitalfields market, with names such as “Fleur de Lis street” and “Fournier street”. Feeling towards these refugees was not entirely positive, with many feeling that the newcomers were depriving Londoners of work.

Several hundred years on, the French can be found in just about every corner of London. In the streets around the embassy in South Kensington, French “Londoners” flock to the finest patisseries and send their children to the posh “Lycée Charles de Gaulle”. The charitable “Centre Charles Peguy” in Shoreditch helps new French arrivals to find accommodation in London and demand has greatly increased in recent months. Surely it is not just the promise of familiar home comforts that entice more and more people to make the move?

Image via TJ Morris (Flickr)

In some areas of France, employment and family problems provide an incentive to leave. Department 93 for example is renowned for such problems. An abbreviation for the Seine-Saint-Denis suburb of Paris, department 93 is home to a high proportion of French nationals of African origin. Probably thanks to its high immigrant population, the area is synonymous to many with high unemployment, racism and discrimination. In France, job prospects can be harmed by the obligation to list such a postcode on your CV, as well as by name and skin colour. Fleeing the banlieues, many young French professionals see London as a land of promise, where their ambition might really come to something.

Looking closely at the demographics of migrants, it is clear that it is young professionals in particular that London attracts. They like the freedom that the UK capital offers, including its welcome escape from French bureaucracy and increased opportunities in the East End’s creative sector. Furthermore, many see London as a gateway to globalization. They are under the impression that once you come to London, the opportunities are endless (as long as you speak English!). Another reason for the recent increase in arrivals is of course the appeal of the Olympics, offering a perceived myriad of jobs. There is a definite case of the “bright lights syndrome”, which by definition can lead to disappointment. It is not unusual to move to France totally unaware of the expensive lifestyle, with housing often costing even more than that of Paris. Moreover, living conditions are often questionable and are particularly poor in areas such as the French-friendly Brick Lane.

Despite its initial appeal, it would seem that the French don’t always find life in London easy. Some claim that London is not for the faint-hearted and that those fond of their French food and holidays should stay put. London is an adventure. Wait to see if the risk pays off and you never know, it just might. One thing is for sure – a city with such a long history of French inhabitants isn’t about to give up its claim any time soon!

DOs and DON’Ts : The CV

Along with your cover letter, your CV is the very first impression of you that recruiters or potential employers receive. Research has shown that recruiters will form an opinion on a CV within just six seconds. This means that devoting time and attention to yours is absolutely vital, ensuring that the areas where their attention will be focused are absolutely perfect. We’ve all heard the supposed rules for writing your CV; don’t let it exceed a page, give them your references and so on. But should your CV really follow these rules? There are of course also many other less discussed rules that should not be forgotten…

DO have a focus. Your CV is your chance to show hiring managers just how suitable you are for their job. Every job is different, so it is clear that your CV should be tailored to show your suitability for each individual job. Despite this, many of us send off one CV and cover letter for numerous, very different roles. Statistics show that 71% of hiring managers prefer a tailored CV. A good way of keeping this majority happy is to keep one “tailorable” CV saved with all of your past experience, which you can then edit to emphasize experience suitable for the job at hand. If you choose this option however, you should take care to keep only truly relevant information, as an overly lengthy CV will only decrease the amount of content that employers read.

DO be clear. There is nothing more off-putting for a hiring manager than receiving two pages full of prose, worse still three or more pages. Be succinct – why use 20 words when five will do? While the aforementioned one word CV rule may be a little excessive, it is wise not to exceed two pages. If you think you have more than that to say on your CV, then the chances are that you’re including irrelevant information.

DO use keywords. Thanks to recent developments, employers increasingly use technology to screen candidates, namely making use of keyword searchable databases. As a candidate, you can’t possibly know that your CV will be screened in this way, but it is better to be safe than sorry. No matter how good a candidate you are, your CV could well slip through the net if you don’t express your suitability using appropriate keywords.

DO be thorough. Pay attention to detail and check your spelling and grammar and ensure that formatting is consistent. A CV where the bullet points change halfway through or where a candidate misspells important words will leave a bad impression. Even if you aren’t applying for a job where written English is of high importance, a lack of care is never attractive to employers, so make sure to iron out any the mistakes.

DON’T hide your skills. With limited time and often hundreds of CVs to sort through, readers pay the most attention to the first third of the first page. It is advisable therefore to include a clear “profile” section at the top of this page, featuring all your key information including a name, title, photo and key skills such as languages.

DON’T mention your references. Stating that you have “references available on request” – or even listing them – is a bit of a waste of space. After all, why would you be looking for a job if you didn’t have references? Recruiters will presume that you do and will ask you for them when they need to.

DON’T flatter yourself. Describing yourself as a dynamic, enthusiastic employee doesn’t really do you any favours. Anyone can describe themselves this way on paper, so you are far better off keeping the content of your CV quantifiable and waiting for your interview to show in person that you really have these qualities.

DON’T use clichés. Again, anyone can say that they are a team player or have good leadership skills. Why should a reader believe this? If you genuinely feel you do possess these skills, show them through the work that you’ve done. Describing the contribution you’ve made to a team project or the success of an initiative you led will show off your skills on paper far better than just words. Another word that gets thrown around is “experienced”. Anyone can claim to be experienced, whether they have been in a job for 10 days or 10 years, so by describing yourself this way, you may be doing yourself an injustice. A short description of your experience will paint a more realistic picture.

Anyone can write a CV. It is attention to detail and really thinking about the requirements of each job that will really enable you to tailor your CV to show yourself to be suitable for a role.

Good Luck!

What to do while you are unemployed.

We are all aware of increased levels of unemployment thanks to the current economic climate. A further issue that those currently unemployed have to deal with is the fact that periods of unemployment currently tend to last longer than before. Job seekers often worry therefore that large gaps between jobs will look unimpressive on their CV and that employers will be consequently less likely to hire them. Is this really something that could hinder your progress in the job search? What should you be doing while you are unemployed to increase your marketability?

According to a recent survey, 40% of current job seekers have been out of work for more than six months. Many of us worry that such long gaps will hinder our chances of landing a job. The same survey suggests that this is not an issue however, stating that most employers are sympathetic to gaps on candidate CVs. This is the case particularly in the current climate, with 85% of employers stating that they are now more understanding of job gaps post-recession. This is not an excuse to sit back and rest on your laurels, however. Agreed, you can’t job hunt constantly – being on the hunt eight hours a day, seven days a week would drive you mad – but this time is valuable and can be used to benefit you and your job search in a broader sense. Filling these gaps with activities and experience that broaden and develop your skill set will encourage employers to look past your gap in employment and to focus on your increased suitability for the role.

So the general consensus is; don’t sit around waiting for the perfect job to fall into your lap, as the chances are it won’t! Skills can be lost if they are not utilised, so find temporary or volunteer work through which you can develop them. This shows employers that you enjoy using your skills, are raring to go and have made the most of your time. Similarly, taking a class is useful to broaden your skills. This could be your perfect opportunity to develop a relevant new skill, learn a new language or try something out that you have never had time for before. Taking a class shows employers that you are serious about what you do. Not only that, but it is good mental stimulation and gives focus, while helping to keep spirits up.

A period of unemployment is understandably a great time to network. Taking a class or doing temporary or voluntary work relevant to your field is a perfect way to do just that. As well as making new connections, you will be showing others what you can do and getting yourself known; far better than falling off the radar and sitting at home refreshing Monster! Another way to network is writing a blog. As well as helping you to network without seeming desperate, a blog will give you motivation to stay up to date with current issues relevant to your sector.

The overall goal for anybody looking for a job is to be marketable. Developing relevant skills and increasing your experience ensures just that, so a period of unemployment is the ideal time to come closer to this goal. Use your time wisely and it may well lead you to just the job you’ve been looking for.

Good Luck!

DOs and DON’Ts : The Interview

So you’re through to the interview stage in the competition for a job. Now you really have your chance to make a great impression on the hiring managers and to show them exactly why you’re the best person for the job. It goes without saying that this is an opportunity that should be taken seriously. Think in advance about the best way to approach the interview. By doing this, you will be able to present yourself in a way that shows the interviewer that you tick all the right boxes. No matter what interview you are going to, there are certain things that should always be considered…

DO your research. There’s nothing worse than being hit with a question you have no answer for or a topic you know absolutely nothing about. Make sure to read up on the company in advance of the interview and think about the kind of questions they are likely to ask you. This way you will show your interest and preparation.

DO make a good impression. From the very point of meeting your interviewer, show them that you are keen and interested in what they have to tell you about the job. Give them your full attention and show your interest by being attentive throughout and asking questions where appropriate.

DO dress appropriately. Think about the industry that you are interviewing in. Dressing appropriately for this industry shows that you fit in and are taking the position seriously. Do err on the side of caution however; it’s better to be too smart than not smart enough if you’re unsure.

DO pay attention to body language.As I have discussed previously, body language makes a big difference to the impression you make on others. A positive handshake and a good level of eye contact will communicate your confidence in yourself as well as your enthusiasm for the job at hand.

DON’T talk negatively about former bosses or colleagues. To put it simply, talking negatively about former colleagues will do you absolutely no favours. If you left a job due to bad relationships, keep it short, without going into the details. Negativity about others will only shine a bad light on you, making you seem unprofessional and casting doubt over whether you might talk about this interviewer in the same way should they hire you.

DON’T include irrelevant content. We all know that having worked in loads of different places and had all sorts of experience over the years is a very valuable thing for a job search. This does not mean however, that you need to tell every interviewer about every place you’ve ever worked. Think in advance about your experience and decide what is particularly relevant for this particular job. Only mentioning the experience that will help you with this particular job will make more of an impact, so don’t dilute what you’ve done with irrelevant details.

DON’T be afraid to mention potential weaknesses. Skipping over your weaknesses when asked about them is a bad move. If you present yourself as perfect, you run the risk of the interviewer not buying it. It’s much better to acknowledge your weaknesses and discuss what you are doing to improve on them. That way you show awareness of yourself, your skills and the ability to improve.

DON’T be late! Not only does arriving on time show your ability to be punctual, but it shows that you are an organised person, who is taking the job seriously. It’s simple; you absolutely cannot afford to make a bad impression in this way. Do everything possible to ensure that you’re on time, even if it means arriving early and waiting in a cafe around the corner!

If you consider all of the above in advance, you should be well prepared for a great interview.

Good Luck!

How to make the most of recruitment agencies

Hiring is difficult for everyone concerned. The average job seeker sends their CV out in all directions, only to sit waiting for feedback. On the other side of the spectrum, Employers spend hours analysing mountains of CVs, struggling to find a good match for their position. It has been estimated that between 7 and 20% of the salary for a position can be spent trying to fill it and that this process tends to take around 30-45 days. Solving these problems is just where recruiters come in. Able to find out exactly what both employers and job seekers are looking for, recruitment agencies are in the position to hugely speed up the hiring process. So how can you really make the most of a recruitment agency? And what should you take into consideration before choosing one?

With more than 4186 recruitment agencies in the UK and nearly 1600 in France, you should give time to deciding which one is best for you. Recruiters in general fill all kinds of jobs, from nursing to administration to manual labour. For this reason, many recruitment agencies specialise in a particular sector. Some recruiters even arrange training for candidates relevant to the specific sector, enabling them to build up skills and become more marketable. The ideal in choosing an agency is to go on recommendations. Find out if people you know in your field have any experience that they can share with you. Call up an agency you are considering and have a chat with a consultant. This way you can get a feel for the agency. Ask yourself; “Do they have my best interests at heart?”, “Would they get back to me with useful feedback?” and “Do they invite two way communication?”. Check the agency’s online credentials too. Pro-active, up-to-date agencies usually update their websites regularly and have an active social media presence.

Once you have chosen your agency, what should be done to make the most of it? Well, recruitment agencies handle the job search process on behalf of their client, lining up candidates who might suit a role.  Good recruiters pride themselves on really getting to know both candidate and client, making them well-equipped to make the best possible fit. For this reason, it is vital that candidates liaising with recruitment agencies do the following in order to benefit from the full potential of the relationship.

Honesty is essential. Tell your recruiting consultant as much about what you are looking for as possible; your ideal salary, sector, hours and so on. Holding information back or giving them what you feel is the right answer will only hinder their chances of finding you a great match. You build up a relationship with a recruiter, so start as you would in any other relationship; by being honest! This – like all relationships – takes two. Find out as much as possible about your recruitment agency and do a background check or get a recommendation before signing up – but more on that later!

Keep in touch. Just signing up to a recruitment agency doesn’t mean that you’ve automatically got a job. There will definitely be waiting involved, but this isn’t an opportunity for you to sit back and relax. Stay on the ball and take an active role. Check your agency’s website regularly, as offers will usually be updated there (which is definitely the case for TM International!). Call every week or so to let them know that you are still interested, but know where to draw the line between taking a keen interest and badgering your recruiter.

Be Realistic. Although any recruiter will understand your urgency, you are not their only candidate! They will have the same sort of questions coming from different candidates from all directions, so be realistic in what you expect from them. Remember that a recruitment agency is just a support to your job search. It may be a fantastic support, but be realistic and don’t forget to do your own research as well!

As long as you are realistic, choose an agency wisely and listen carefully to the advice that these experts in their field have to give, then seeking the help of a recruiter really can make a huge difference to your job search.

Good Luck!