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How to work with recruiters

Incomplete CVs and a lack of communication are the two issues that most frustrate recruiters

The recruitment industry has no shortage of critics, but the reality is that a large number of companies outsource all or most of the hiring process to recruiters and many jobseekers will have to deal with them.

The fundamental truth you as a jobseeker need to understand is that you are a product and the recruitment agent is a salesperson attempting to market you to an employer. Recruiters are generally paid a small base salary and make most of their money from commissions they receive when they successfully match up an appropriate candidate with a job vacancy.

So, with all that in mind, what's the best way to start and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with a recruitment agent?

1. There are a bewildering array of recruitment agencies in Australia, but it should only take a couple of minutes of internet research to determine which ones fill vacancies in the industry you are hoping to get a job in. Approach any agency that might realistically be able to match you up with an appropriate vacancy but none that can't.

2. Given that recruiters see you as a product, you need to do everything possible to present yourself as a saleable one. Make it clear what in-demand skills or qualifications you possess and highlight the personal qualities that give you an edge over all the other people with similar credentials. Incomplete CVs and a lack of communication are the two issues that most frustrate recruiters. Therefore, be specific about what type of positions you are (and aren't) interested in and supply a resumé that lists any skills, qualifications and work experience that will potentially be of interest to the employers you want to work for.

3. Keep in mind that recruiters expect the same kinds of things that the employers who've hired them do: good personal presentation, punctuality and a professional attitude. Always remember that you're just one of many jobseekers a recruiter is dealing with and they may take a while to return your calls and emails.

A recruiter can't just wave a magic wand and place you in a great job, but if you build a good relationship with them and listen to their advice, you'll significantly increase your chances of finding the kind of employment you seek.