Questions to ask recruitment agencies when applying for a new job

Author – Jonathan Elliott
Talent Acquisition Manager, Medical and Scientific Affairs, MSL, Medical Information, and ABPI Compliance at AXESS Ltd

Imagine this scenario. You receive a call from a recruitment agency. They’ve seen your profile on Linked In and they have a role that might be of interest. It’s the type of role you have been looking for and at a very attractive company. You give the agency permission to submit your CV to the company and you wait to hear back. Unfortunately you are told some weeks later that you have been unsuccessful as other applicants had more experience.

The question is: How do you know if the agency you are applying through has permission from the hiring company to recruit for the role?

Having previously worked as an in-house recruiter at pharma companies, I have seen agencies trying to bypass the official recruitment process to get candidates in via the “back door”. On most occasions the CV goes no further as the agency does not have signed terms of agreement allowing CVs to be submitted. This is unfair on you as the candidate as you are submitted your resume in good faith.

Now, there is no harm if an agency is upfront and explains that they are sending your CV on a speculative basis, but there have been several recent examples from candidates AXESS have spoken to highlighting the practice outlined above.

CV submission checklist

Take these tips into account when submitting your CV for a role.

·        The most obvious question: Has the company given the agency permission to recruit for this role?

·        Ask to see the full job description. This should have been supplied by the company to the agency.

·        Ask about recruitment process, interview stages, timelines, etc.

·        Request the salary and package details.

·        Ensure you record every company your CV is sent to and by whom. My tip is use a spreadsheet to log this and include dates. This way you will avoid having your CV sent to the same company on multiple occasions from multiple sources which always looks unprofessional and unplanned.

At AXESS we believe in full transparency between us as the agency, you the candidate, and the client – meaning you always know the full picture for any application you make with us.