I've been asked to apply for a job - the recruitment consultant says I'd be a good fit (blah, blah), however I suspect that's the line they give all their candidates ... rougly how many do they put forward (i.e. can I read anything positive into this??)
It depends what the role is for. Most conpanies generally want to recieve a few excellent candidates. Part of the main reason companies use recruitment agencies is so they don't have to filter through 100's of applications and can leave that to the recruitment agency to do and present the best few.
I would definitely say it's positive. If you asked them how many others they had put forward they would probably tell you.
I'm a recruiter and we submit 6/7 people on a shortlist but that's at the senior end of the market. The more junior roles they will typically submit more as it can be more of a numbers game but it will depend on sector and type of role.
I've been an agency recruiter and am now in-house.
At the agency, we'd put forward two or three. Then again we tended to know candidates for a long time and have strong relationships with our clients, so we're trusted. Sometimes we just put the 'perfect candidate' forward.
In-house I work with agencies on niche, difficult to fill roles. I encourage fewer candidates as I expect them to do the first round of screenings - they're warning a fee after all. Some agencies out forward a couple. If they send more than 5, I send them back and ask them to trim to three.
Just ask how many they are putting forward. And if you get to interview stage, ask the company how many people they are seeing. Most 'good' agencies will put forward only candidates they think are good. Unfortunately their version of 'good' can differ to the company's in my experience.
FWIW I am still happy to be represented by an agency having worked in one!