Here's how to get recruiters working for you...

As you look for the next step over the coming months you will come across different types of recruitment consultants, and you may even deal directly with HR. Whoever you deal with, here are a few basics you really should know…

Firstly, a good recruitment consultant can be a great asset as you work through the many stages of your career. Identifying a great consultant amid the mass of recruitment firms can be tricky, and requires both patience and persistence.  While Google or LinkedIn will present you with an almost endless list of firms and contacts, the best way to identify a good recruitment consultant is word-of-mouth referrals.   Talk to respected colleagues or acquaintances about their experience of the world of recruitment and ask for their recommendations.

#1 The Initial Consultation

You will ideally engage with two or three respected recruiter specialist and spend some time explaining your background and ambitions. Prior to your initial meeting you should consider what you do (and more importantly do not want) in a prospective role, and be able to communicate that clearly to the recruitment specialist.  If you’ve followed the steps in our career guide, you should be clear on your ideal role and where you are willing to work (in geographical terms).

Salary should also be discussed at the initial meeting, and it’s vital that you’re both honest and realistic about your expectations. Salary will change over time and trying to make great one-off strides in this area is unrealistic in most cases. Also, salary should be a secondary consideration as your focus ought to be on the overall remuneration package.

If a role is on the table, consider the monetary and non-monetary benefits and counter that with the cost of your commute in terms of both cost and length or distance. Also, as a recently qualified accountant you will likely be learning a lot in your next role – keep in mind that you have a long career ahead so learning and earning still need to be kept in balance.

It’s important to note at this point that recruitment specialists generally handle hundreds of CVs each week, so you shouldn’t expect to be their sole focus. Instead, establish clear expectations and acknowledge that the process is a shared responsibility.

#2 The Trusted Advisor vs The Commodity Recruiter

Not all recruitment specialists are made equal. There can be a huge disparity in how they interact with people and just a handful will take the advisory approach while the remainder will be largely focused on filling vacancies.

If your recruitment specialist is more advisory in nature, she or he will want to hear about your career preferences and expectations. Trust will usually build naturally and such recruitment specialists can be invaluable as they will give you advice and insights – not just jobs – and could become lifelong assets as you develop your career and build your own teams.

If your recruitment specialist is more transactional in nature, you will need to request more detail about the role as they will likely be selling their client, not trying to support your career.  It would be wise to consult your network for information on the company’s culture and the team in which the role sits. There are also some things to avoid – don’t be coerced into applying for a role you’re not interested in, and don’t feel obliged to accept an offer right there and then. Your end goal is to secure the best outcome for you – not for them.

Different recruitment specialists have different agendas, but knowing this can help you better manage the job application process and maintain a large degree of control.

#3 Dealing Direct  

On occasion, you may find yourself dealing directly with a HR person or recruiter in a company. Once you enter a direct recruitment process with an organisation, you must bear in mind that the organisation is duty-bound to look after its own best interests, so it’s important that you seek out the most objective insights and advice possible.

Invite a current or former employee for coffee and ask if they would recommend the organisation, what they enjoyed or disliked about their time there, the reality about career progression and so on. But beware of disgruntled employees! You can mitigate this risk by talking to multiple sources with links to the organisation, as the more people you speak with, the better (and more balanced) your understanding will be.

It might sound like a lot of work but when you consider that you will spend roughly 90,000 hours at work in your lifetime, it’s a worthwhile investment.  If you are lucky enough to know a recruitment specialist that you trust they might be willing to help you out, even if they are not involved.

#4 Other Important Stuff…

Before we wrap up there are a few other things you really should know:

  • A recruitment specialist should never send your CV to a company without permission, and you should never give permission without first understanding the context of the role and responsibilities.  Beware the”You applied for the job online so I sent it to the company” trick!  That should be a big red flag for you.
  • Never permit your CV to be submitted to the same company from multiple sources. The process can get very messy for the recruitment specialist and hiring manager if you don’t abide by this rule, and it won’t reflect well on you either.
  • You should keep a list of who sent what to whom and when. Take responsibility for following up with consultants for feedback and updates.

Keep in mind that a good recruitment specialist should be able to give you excellent interview preparation – insights into the team, where to focus your attention on the company annual report, prep for competency based interviews and a whole lot more.  If you choose your recruitment specialist wisely they can give you a competitive advantage in your career and be a tremendous asset in your job search.  Not-so-good recruiters can be too, provided you get access to the roles you want.

In summary, proceed with caution, choose your allies wisely and, critically, get the measure of the person that is representing you so that you know where you stand.


Not only are most of our Recently Qualified Accountant Team in Barden (Meet our teams – Dublin, Cork) qualified accountants just like you, we have all been trained in the Barden Career Model (TM).  This unusual blend of experience, knowledge and training allows us to provide a different type of recruitment service!

Contact OR and our Recently Qualified Accountant Recruitment experts will arrange a time that suits you to start planning your professional future.

(Got another question?  Need a steer to keep you on the right track?  Check out the Barden Newly Qualified  Career Guide right here>>>)

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there!

Sign Up to get new
Insights in your inbox

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
Share this articleShare on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Tweet about this on Twitter