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Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications

#1 Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
25/03/2008 10:14


I am looking to apply to the Big 5 and a few niche consulting firms for junior/ mid level Business Consultant roles.

Having applied directly to one of the Big 5 group, I received an instant rejection and am now wondering if my other direct applications will meet the same fate with all the other big firms.

I have noticed some of the roles offered direct are also on offer via recruitment agencies - and I was thinking if it could be potentially more useful to apply via recruiters as they could bring their existing relationships with firms to bear - in other words, probably a better chance to get an interview.

On the flip side, maybe the firms prefer to take in applicants directly in order to avoid high agency fees.

I need to maximise my chances of getting interviewed - can anyone please advise on which route to apply through and the associated pros and cons?

Thanks a lot!

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#2 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
25/03/2008 11:03

not for the first time to dodge (#1)

there are many threads on the subject of using or not using recruiters. Always bear in mind that they should be representing the client. If you are a genuinely good fit for the client and the recruiter has a strong relationship/the ability to influence, the recruiter can be a great help in guiding you through the process and getting you access to opportunities you might not find yourself. If a role is advertised directly by the client and with a recruiter, it is very unlikely that the recruiter has a formal mandate. This does not necessarily mean you should not consider the recruiter route, however. A good/reputable recruiter with a good hit rate will have an advantage over you. If the client needs to fill slots for an interview day and knows that the recruiter will supply relevant CV's, it may be that your application is read before the direct applicants when the client is short on time. Imagine you are the recruitment co-ordinator, you have an hour to tee up 3 more candidates for next week's interview day. You have 1000 candidates but you know that 60% of Joe Bloggs Recruitment's candidates get through to final stage interview. You sort your emails find 5 from Joe, choose the best three and away you go. job done.

My advice.

1. send CV with a short email bullet pointing key relevant info (tangible/numbers/project sizes/sectors etc not I am a people person...). send as a PDF if you do not know the recruiter. No recruiter will forward on a PDF without speaking to you as they cannot edit out your contact details and put their logo on it.

2. if no response send 1 more short email. If still no response, let it go.

3. assuming you and the recruiter are now talking, ask a lot of questions regarding the recruiter's success in dealing with the client, roles filled, level of interaction etc. if in doubt try to trip up the recruiter somehow by throwing in a bogus name and asking if the recruiter knows the person. alternatively, get the recruiter talking about the industry/company etc. Ask about the interview process if selected. This is not because you need to know all this stuff at this stage but you need to know that recruiter knows it all and will be able to support you down the line. If you are convinced that the recruiter actually has some real traction, you will be better off going through the recruiter. The confident recruiter will say "I do not know" rather than try to blag.

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#3 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
25/03/2008 13:57

Just wondering... to not for the first time (#2)

... who's the 5th one?

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#4 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
25/03/2008 15:45

anon to Just wondering... (#3)

arthur anderson was originally part of the 'Big 5' but that's defunt now

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#5 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
25/03/2008 16:22

Village Idiot to Just wondering... (#3)

For those of us who are old enough to remember, it used to the Big 6 (and the Big 8 before that):

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#6 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
15/06/2009 20:05

Anon to Village Idiot (#5)

I'm going to start looking for a consulting job, ideally with a a big firm like Accenture or IBM. Should it post my CV with these firms and apply for jobs on their web sites or would it be better to find recruiters they work with and apply through them?

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#7 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
15/06/2009 20:40

Pinsent to Anon (#6)

For these "Big4" firms, I think you'll be better off going through recruitment agencies. The reason is that

1) with all of the Bi4 making layoffs and cutbacks, they cannot be seen to be recruiting new staff into the same offices, let alone the same groups (for PR if not legal reasons)

2) the generic recruitment email addresses for the Big4 firms are sinkholes, drowned in spam, irrelevant candidates, etc. Putting an application in that doesn't correspond to a specific vacancy is pointless (but for reason 1 there aren't many jobs advertised)

3) recruitment agencies can advertise anonymously, avoiding bad PR, so a lot of vacancies are going through them

4) all the Big4 have cut headcount in their internal recruitment teams, so it makes sense for them to contract with recruitment agencies on a contingent basis (increased capacity, but nil cost if a month into the commission the firm pulls out because it's decided the pipeline won't in fact support the hire).

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#8 RE: Recruitment Agencies vs. Direct Applications
15/06/2009 22:16

Anon to Pinsent (#7)

Pinsent, thanks for the advice.

-What is the best way to find agencies that recruit for specific big consultancies (Accenture, IBM, Deloitte, etc.)

-Do you think that the strategy should be the same with smaller consulting firms as well?

-Should i avoid sending my CV direct to companies. to make sure recruiters can make money when they forward my applications?

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