I Wish I Knew Then, What I Know Now…

Posted by Paladin on February 09, 2009

I recently participated in a panel at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to offer insights and advice to upcoming graduates preparing to enter the job market.  As a former creative freelancer turned recruiter, I can relate to candidate’s uncertainties and expectations of working with staffing agencies. When meeting with talent, I always try to clarify how the relationship between talent and agency works. Here are six lessons I learned when I went behind the scenes of the staffing industry. My hope is to help you understand the process and build a productive partnership with a staffing agency.

1.Staffing agencies are driven by their client’s needs. Registering with an agency and meeting with a recruiter does not mean you can sit back and wait for your phone to ring. Recruiters want to know the best talent out there so they can make great matches for their clients. Making a perfect match for you might not happen the week after you meet with a recruiter – it could take weeks or even months.

2.Staffing agencies are working with thousands of candidates. Top creative staffing agencies have been around for close to 20 years. Their pool of talent is deep and wide and new candidates are registering with them every week. Competition is tough. Keep your profile current in their online database. Be sure you are easy to contact and that your resume and portfolio are ready to go.

3.Don’t respond to jobs you are not qualified for. You may have 75% of the experience the job requires, so you send your resume off and hope for a shot. Unfortunately, this often has a negative effect on the recruiter who is sorting through responses. Make sure you’re 100% qualified and respond to jobs you fully understand. Good recruiters have their client’s best interest at heart and will not submit candidates who are less than 100% qualified.

4.Candidates who follow directions are considered. Plain and simple.
Make sure to read and understand what is being requested of you in the job posting. Respond and deliver in as clear and concise a manner as possible. If you leave out information, you’ll get left out of the next steps.

5.Staffing agencies are a great resource for you, but they are only one of your resources. Be sure you are networking, keeping up with trends, participating in professional memberships, blogs, and online communities to ensure you hear about the right opportunity at the right time.

6.Gone are the days of working up the ladder. Be flexible and open to both pay and skill set. Someone who is available and ready work keeps the doors open. The assignment may not be your dream job, but the company and culture may be a fit with other opportunities down the road.

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