• Using a recruitment agency

      If you’re looking for your first step on to your food manufacturing career ladder, then very often using an agency can be a massive help.  Finding a job is, after all, something you probably haven’t done before, whilst it’s something that agencies do every day, so it does make sense to use an expert. 

      However, agencies come in all different shapes and sizes.  Some are excellent and some are not… So, here to help you, are some basic guidelines on getting the best out of using a recruitment agency to help you find a job.

      What do they do exactly?

      Companies use recruitment agencies to find candidates with specific skills, experience and qualifications related to their job vacancy. The consultants at an agency would become the point of contact between you and the company and, if successful in finding a suitable person for the company’s vacancy, then they would be paid a fee by the company – so from your point of view, the whole service is completely free!

      Different kinds of agencies

      There are essentially two kinds of agency. Firstly the generic sort, who tend to operate in a small area, have a High Street location and deal with numerous different roles from accountancy to drivers to temps to almost anything really!  Then there are specialist agencies who operate over a much larger geographical area, can be located anywhere and concentrate on a particular industry or discipline, e.g. food manufacturing or engineering.  Whilst not discounting the generic agency, the specialist agency is really going to be the one who you will gain most benefit from. 

      Specialist agencies will have good industry knowledge and also be well connected so they can talk to a very wide range of relevant employers on your behalf.  They will be able to guide you through the whole process whilst providing useful information and tips to help boost your chances of success.  The best agencies will be friendly, honest and ethically sound where they put you first, not themselves.

      What do I need to do?

      Applying to an agency is easy – simply send them your CV with a short cover letter.  They will then come back to you and ask you for more details as necessary, including finding out exactly what you’re looking for.  Once you are registered with an agency and they have your CV and details on their database, they will talk to you about jobs that fit your criteria.  Please note that you should always make sure that whatever jobs an agency talks to you about, that they are right for you.  Ask questions, satisfy yourself that the opportunity is suitable – there are many agencies who just send your CV anywhere and will give you the hard sell just to get you to go to an interview so that they can appease their clients.  This strategy is just a plain waste of time for everyone - a good agency will only advise, not pressurise!  REMEMBER!  GDPR legislation requires you to give written permission to an agency in order for them to send you to each and every job.  If you haven't given this then the agency is breaking the law!

      An agency should contact you as soon as they have any news or updates on your job search.  Likewise you can keep in touch with them which will help maintain a good working relationship with your consultant - and do let them know if you’ve found a job elsewhere! As and when you get a job offer, the agency will be able to guide you through the whole process ensuring that you get the best deal and hopefully making the whole thing as stress free as possible for you!

      Can I join more than one agency?

      There is no limit to the number of agencies you can sign up with, but avoid joining as many as possible just for the sake of it – this can actually be detrimental to your job search. Using a select number of agencies will prevent you getting endless calls and emails, all probably about the same jobs!  There's also the possibility of a number of recruiters working to fill the same positions, so you could end up being put forward to the same job a number of different times – ask them for the company name that you’re being out forward to and don’t be fobbed off when they say that they can’t tell you because it’s confidential.  However, very occasionally, some clients do want a particular vacancy kept confidential - but, if you're told that all their vacancies are confidential, then you should 'smell a rat'.  Our recommendation is to stop using that agency, tell them that you are withdrawing your registration with them and that you no longer wish them to represent you.

      Recruitment agencies can be an excellent resource to support your job search, but don’t forget that you can also apply for roles directly!