How to get the best out of a recruitment agency

By Leon Morrison


Over the last 18 years, I’ve been working closely with candidates worldwide to help them find what they are looking for…a new job that meets, or ideally exceeds, their expectations! 

Along the way, I’ve informed and educated countless candidates from graduates up to highly experienced engineers on how to get the most out of working with an agency and if working with multiple agencies, how to best manage the process. Below is a quick guide to what a recruiter can do for you and how to manage your job search process.

Why use a recruiter?

First of all: IT'S FREE!!

Not many things in life these days are! Professional services such as solicitors often cost a lot of money. Considering all the work that recruiters can do for you, why not take advantage of this service without paying a penny.

Although this is a bonus, I don’t personally consider it to be the primary reason to use a recruiter, why…A good consultant will know their specialist market inside out, have access to the most relevant jobs, be able to provide CV and interview prep advice and negotiate a salary for you! As well as (in the case of multiple roles and offers) manage the full process.

Here is a list of what a recruitment consultant can do for you:

  • Qualify hard skills and Identify soft skills to match them against roles in the locations you prefer.
  • Discuss and offer advice on your career, present the options out there, where to go next and advise on the path you should or should not take.
  • Discuss your salary expectations and inform you about market rates locally and/or in different countries. Go through tax levels and elements of a specific companies benefits etc. It’s extremely beneficial to have professional guidance on salary, what to expect, what to aim for and most importantly to realise what you want from your next move!
  • Offer CV advice. Does your CV represent your experience in the best way? Could the formatting be improved, does it read well overall, are the main key points where they need to be?
  • Write a good profile to send to the client. This is in effect a summary of you and your experience, your situation, salary requirements and also why you are good for the role! If done right, it can have a hugely positive impact on your applications.
  • Follow up with the client/s and recommend an interview where appropriate.
  • Arrange telephone and on-site interviews. This often includes facilitating visas to travel, helping with flights and accommodation and overseeing the reimbursement of travel expenses. Yes, a client could do this directly but in the example of flying you to a different country for multiple interviews and arrange splitting costs across clients, it would be very difficult to coordinate this yourself.
  • Gather interview feedback.
  • Negotiate salary / manage salary expectations. The consultant can work well as an intermediary, realising your expectations but also managing them from both sides. It is one of the most important stages of the process and done well, the power of a good recruiter means that you can end up with the best possible offer.
  • Ensuring you are happy with the offer and contract details, advising on how to give in your notice and the best way to deal with closing up any outstanding applications etc.
  • Another benefit of using a consultant is that they can help time your interviews so that you get offers on the table at the same time. Doing this yourself, especially via multiple agencies and direct applications, can be messy and hard to control. I have seen many graduate candidates who have multiple agencies working on roles for them with several direct applications also and accept the first offer that comes along. Rather than doing it the smart way and lining up offers at the same time.


Should you use multiple agencies and if so, how do you manage it? 

This is a common issue for people, and it can get very confusing and messy if not managed correctly.
My main bit of advice is this: If you decide to work with more than one agency, insist that the consultant informs you of the companies they are sending you to, list them down so you are clear on who sent your CV to what company and when.

As a matter of best practice, it’s appreciated from all recruitment consultants, not to share the companies that a consultant has told you about with another agency.  If a consultant asks you if your CV was sent to company X then, of course, say yes, but it’s not advisable to tell them or list the companies where your CV has been sent.
In my market (Analog and RF IC Design) I often have clients and candidates working with me exclusively. For me and my candidates, this works very well as I have most of the roles and the whole process is smooth and efficient. (In other less niche sectors you may need to use more than one recruiter).

Tip: If an agency tries to get you to sign a document saying that you are exclusive with them, don’t sign it. It is, in my opinion unnecessary to sign such a document and can hinder your job search.

How can you make the process work for you?

It’s as simple as this: Be honest, open and communicative. The more upfront you are about your situation, preferences on location, type of role type of company and your salary expectations, the easier it is for all parties.

If there are any external factors to your relocation (for example a candidate’s partner may not be keen to move but with that information not being disclosed in the beginning, then after months of work, an offer is put forward and rejected on this point alone). Knowing that relocation is a factor for the partner can really help to set expectations with the client (ensure you mention this upfront).

If you have other offers in the background, don’t be shy to make them known! You would be surprised about the benefits of talking about your other interview or offers as this information is imperative to ensuring from our side that we can move things along faster with the client’s process and ensure you get an offer on the table in time.

The most successful placements have been made for candidates that are transparent about their situation. The more information the better, the more I have to work with the more I can do for you.

So, what next? Well, get in touch, even if it’s for an informal chat to see what the market options are and to see what roles may be suitable for you. Or if you'd like to discuss this further, email me at

See our website for all of the jobs here at IC Resources, you can set up alerts or just call in to speak to the relevant consultant.

If you need some advice on doing your CV then see my previous blog on how to write the perfect CV

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