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The role of recruitment agencies in job hunting - beginners guide please!

(7 Posts)
Justonemorecardi Tue 01-Apr-14 12:37:22

Hi, I've not been working for 18 months (through choice) but am looking to get back to work now. I started half heartedly looking about 4 months ago, and my CV got submitted to the same company by two different agencies a month apart - which was embarrassing and the 2nd agency were pretty put out.

Now I'm trying to be more proactive and organised, but have a couple of questions:

1. If your CV has been submitted by an agency how long do they 'own' you for that company? For example if I proactively sent my CV to the company 4 months later would the original agency still be able to claim commission?

2. Do they 'own' you only for that position? Or does it cover other related jobs

3. Should you only sign up with one agency? And if you do should you tell them what you're proactively doing if you directly approach companies, keep quiet, or should you ask them to do it?

Any other advice you have would be great, I'd really like to find something, but it all feels a bit hopeless, primarily because of the gap I've had.

blueshoes Tue 01-Apr-14 12:45:15

What sort of job are you going for?

For professional/executive level jobs, the agents do not send out my CV without my permission and hence it avoids the same company being sent my CV by 2 different agents.

Justonemorecardi Tue 01-Apr-14 12:53:56

Hi blueshoes, it is professional/executive. It was my mistake, I'd applied for something different on reed and I think the first agency got my CV so called me and told me about job. I only spoke to them on the phone once. They submitted my CV but I never heard from them again and forgot, (it was only when I searched my emails I found record of it), it was about 5 weeks later the second agency suggested same company and I agreed.

It made me feel like I was two timing!

blueshoes Tue 01-Apr-14 14:20:55

If this situation, I can understand it if the 2nd agency got put out. They would not expect you to authorise sending your CV to that employer if you had already done so with another agency 5 weeks earlier. I think you need to chalk that one down as being your fault and make sure it does not happen again.

I am not aware that any agency owns you as such. I did not sign an agreement with any agency and so there are no terms which govern our relationship. Did you sign anything. If so, then you need to read the agreement to see what the terms are and whether it is an exclusive arrangement and which roles it covers.

All commissions are paid by the employer so I imagine it is the employer that signs the agreement with the agency rather than the prospective employee.

I am on the books of a number of agencies, only because they know which area I work in and seek me out (linked in) when they find jobs in that field. So I don't think there is any taboo about being with more than one agency.

But you should keep on top of the jobs you have applied for. Ask the agencies for status updates so things do not slide. If I was an agent and I knew the candidate was seriously looking, I would be more confident to put them forward.

blueshoes Tue 01-Apr-14 14:26:22

Also, if the first agency did not get back to you for 5 weeks, perhaps the next time, all things being equal, you should go with another agency who is more prepared to fight your case.

Get yourself set up on which is a website that spiders all the available jobs within your search critera. I find out about many new positions in my area from that website ahead of the agents contacting me. That way, you maintain the upper hand and contact the agents. If more than agent is advertising that role, you can choose to use the agent you prefer to work with.

Justonemorecardi Tue 01-Apr-14 14:48:43

Thanks for all your advice blueshoes, I'll look at indeed, as I'd only really been looking on reed and sometimes Linkedin. I realise it was totally my fault with the two agencies, I should've been on top of my search, instead of fitting in-between everything else I was juggling.

I thought if an agency sent your CV to a company, and then the company later recruited you along a different route, they could still claim commission - a bit like an estate agent.

maggiethemagpie Wed 02-Apr-14 18:42:43

I'm not 100% sure but I believe the agency do have a claim to you for a period of six months, for both the original role and any other with that company. However you can request that another agency represents you if you do not wish to be represented by a particular agency. This happened to me, agency 1 were rubbish and put me forward for a role after sending me the spec on email, never spoke to me about it or got back to me. Agency 2 were much nicer and actually took the time to build the relationship with me and brief me on the role, so I emailed Agency 2 to say I wanted them to represent me, if any bun fight ensued they would be able to use this to prevent agency 1 from having any claim.
As it was I got a job through another agency entirely so it didn't come to it.
My approach is to register with as many agencies as are advertising your type of role - sometimes they get exclusive rights to a role so they will be the only agency working on it and you'll be losing out if you only go with one or two agencies.
Be wary when they ask where else you've applied to, as they are often fishing for leads - they will send other candidates there and weaken your chances! I always say I've been asked to keep it confidential, that usually shuts them up. If they say they need to know to avoid putting you forward for the same role, say that if they tell you who they are putting you forward for you can let you know if you've already been submitted. Good luck!

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