There are over 5,000 Japan-based recruitment consultants on LinkedIn, but how many of them can actually help you? This article is about choosing the right recruitment partner for your job search.
To start, you can ask people in your network for recommendations. Which companies have helped them in the past? Who provided the best service?
If there’s no one you can ask, consider agents who have previously contacted you on LinkedIn. These recruiters say they can help you find new opportunities, but that’s not always true. For example, I don’t work with any airlines and it would be difficult for me to help someone seeking a job in that industry. Before agreeing to meet, you can ask agents about the companies they work with, and jobs they are currently working on. Agents usually prefer to talk about these things in a call or meeting, but don’t be afraid to ask a few questions before you schedule time to speak with someone.
When you talk to agents, make sure they try to understand:
your strengths and areas for improvement
your long-term career goals
your priorities for a new role
how your job fits into your life
It’s important that agents understand what you can do, but it’s more important that they understand what you want to do next. If you tell a consultant that you want a job in FP&A and he keeps sending you accounting positions then he’s wasting your time.
When recruiters tell you about jobs, make sure that they are providing real insight, and not just telling you what is already on the JD. Do they know the hiring manager? What are the different stages in the hiring process? What’s the team like? Agents that don’t have this information cannot help you prepare for an interview with a company.
Of course, knowing the background detail is not enough; a good agent will tell you the whole story, including potential downsides. No company is perfect, and just because you can do a job does not mean it’s the right job for you. For example, one of my clients has several big personalities in its executive team, and a fast, decisive management culture. This might be attractive for someone stuck in a slow, traditional company, but it’s not the right environment for everyone. If an agent has a strong client network he can tell you the pros and cons of companies honestly, and let you decide which ones are the best fit for you.
Finally, make sure that you are working with a consultant who understands and respects your intentions. If you are only meeting an agent to get an update on the job market, he should not pressure you to apply for open positions now. Recruiters need you more than you need them, so don’t work with people who don’t listen to you.