Four things your employment agency should be doing for you

Employment agencies are flooding the online space. It’s becoming difficult to wade through the market and find that gem agency that really gets who you are. You’ve likely experienced the frustration of not landing that job and wishing that you could’ve just gotten in front of the client to market your skills yourself, instead of going through an agency. But don’t let those experiences dissuade you from working with the good guys—they do exist. Here are four things your employment agency should be doing for you.

Before you’re hired…

  1. Realistic conversations about salary: we often hear candidates asking for a salary range with a $20k spread. This means one of two things to recruiters: 1. you haven’t given much thought to what you should earn, or 2. You’re shooting for the stars and hoping you hit one. Recruiters should have realistic and honest (two-way) conversations with you about your motivation and intentions in order to arrive at a market-relevant and skill-appropriate salary.
  2. A partnership built on quality: let’s keep it real, your agency should not flood you with job opportunities for the sake of showing you they’re doing their job. Good recruiters know which positions best match your experience, and come to you with quality over quantity. If you do like to receive any and all opportunities, don’t rely on one agency to find you work—cast your net wide and work with multiple recruiters.
  3. Preparing for the client interview: congrats! You’ve been invited to interview with the client. Your agency should have substantial knowledge about the hiring client, their brand and services, the interviewer and their team, and the company culture. Sure you’ll be expected to do your own research ahead of time, but your agency needs to set the direction, guide you on what to expect during the interview, and set realistic expectations. Agencies that tell you what you want to hear (“if you don’t get the job, it wasn’t meant to be”) are doing a disservice to everyone involved. Some examples of ways in which your agency should prepare you include:
    • Selecting the best samples for your portfolio—that also means suggesting ways to clean up your portfolio (sorry, clients might not be interested in the print sales deck you produced in 1996).
    • Intel about the hiring team—if the agency has a solid history with the hiring client, chances are, they know what it takes to fit in with this team.
    • Interview questions—we’re not fortune tellers, but we should have enough knowledge about the hiring manager to predict the style and tone of the interview.

Once you’re hired…

  1. Dedication: I hear all the time from candidates “my agency just pays me—nothing more, nothing less”. Ouch. In today’s connected world, your agency should be doing more than just signing your pay check, especially if you’re working remotely from a client site. Find one that offers the perks of post-placement support like IT services, benefits, and learning and development opportunities. Agencies focused on retention will provide these services, and facilitate a sense of connectedness with your global colleagues.
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