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Why use a recruiter? Isn’t it better to apply for jobs directly?

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This is a common question we often get asked. As specialist professional services recruiters, in recent months we have seen an increase in the number of firms that work with us choosing to advertise their vacancies directly on job boards, the website and social media when not too long ago, the majority of companies would leave this entire process to recruitment agencies. 

As a result of this, many candidates now face the dilemma of whether they are better off applying for these jobs directly or through a recruiter. Which route will give you the best chances of securing the job you want? 

Timing is key

Firstly, some candidates may feel (as I did myself when applying for my first role out of university) that applying directly to the company will ‘look better to the employer’. Perhaps by doing a little research you could find out who the line manager is and send your CV directly to them and in doing so, get yourself a head start over the competition? 

From experience, this is not a good idea. Think about it, the internal recruitment team is paid to review applications and filter the best candidates to the line manager. They are paid to do this to save line managers time. If the line manager is super busy and your email pops up in their inbox, are they going to read it/give it as much thought as the other applications that will not only be sent to them but also explained and talked through face to face? 

If you use a recruiter, we can ‘pitch’ you to the internal recruitment team and line managers when they know it is coming and have put aside time to focus on this. 

What are they really looking for?

Secondly, when you use a recruiter (a good one that is!) we already have an established relationship with the client. We know who the decision makers are and moreover we know what they are really looking for. 

Of course, job adverts will describe the ‘type of candidate’ or ‘type of skills’ they are looking for. However, through years of working with a client and placing people into their teams, we have acquired insider information that is not accessible to the wider market. It is information built up over time and experience, details that sometimes even the client doesn’t consciously think of.

As recruiters it is our full time job to know our clients. We are constantly in touch with them about what is happening in their business, changes to the team, new characters or where the team needs more support. Ultimately, we are full of information that we can pass on to you and that you won’t find if you apply directly. 

Interview prep and support

Not all recruitment companies are the same, so I will use Ambition as an example. As part of the recruitment process, we provide interview preparation to all of our candidates which can be in person, on the phone or over Skype. 

In this interview prep we go over all the inside information we know about the company, the role and the type of person they want. We will guide you on what to focus on by using what the client has told us they are really looking for to ultimately give you the best chance at interview.

We can have those awkward conversations for you

One massive benefit of using a recruiter is that we can negotiate your salary for you. Salary can sometimes feel like a sticky topic as many candidates think that if they ask for more, the client may go with a less expensive applicant. We are here to have those sometimes awkward discussions and can caveat your salary expectations from the outset, leaving both a happy client and candidate. 

We are also here to act as a sounding board throughout the process. If you go for an interview and you’re unsure or you have any more questions afterwards, you can speak to us. Perhaps they offer you the wrong salary or your notice period changes? We will handle all these awkward questions for you. Our support continues right through to after you have started your new role to ensure it’s as smooth and hopefully as enjoyable as possible. 

Ultimately, as recruiters it is our job to know the market. As a candidate, it doesn’t cost you anything to use a recruiter but if you find a good one, the advantage is that you will have someone rooting for you, giving you tips and helping you to succeed. We are here to make candidates and clients’ lives easier, so even if you’re not looking to move jobs yet but would like market information, we’re here to help! 

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