There are many great ways to find a new job. And among them is sending a speculative application or applying to a position published by a recruitment agency, especially when it is specialised in your field of work, just as the recruitment agency TeamRH is specialised in the legal and tax sectors. However, you must still match the expectations we have of you. Here are 9 mistakes which you must never make again if you want to maximise your chances of getting through to a final interview with the company that is hiring.
Today, we have decided to write about a topic which reminds us of many things, and above all brings back a lot of memories of experiences we have had as a recruitment agency. Indeed, every day we meet dozens of candidates at our offices. We consider our work to be very important since our clients (law firms, notary offices, legal services, patent law firms, receivers, etc.) put their utmost trust in us to present them with the ideal candidate.
This candidate must match the company’s expectations in terms of technical skills, but also increasingly in terms of personality and human qualities, otherwise known as Soft Skills.
So, here is a short, non-exhaustive overview of mistakes to avoid making when getting into contact with a recruitment agency, or when you are called in for interview with a consultant.
1. Check that the position really matches your profile
The first step, and a significant one at that – we highly recommend that you only apply to the positions we publish that match your profile. We have all been a candidate once in our lives and we have all thought that we could do the job even without the necessary master’s degree, years of experience or language requirements. So, why should you avoid applying for that position which requires at least 3 years’ experience as an associate in corporate law when it is clearly written on your CV that you have only just qualified as a lawyer? The answer is quite simple. The firm which is looking for a profile with at least 3 years’ experience wants a profile with at least 3 years’ experience. At our recruitment agency, TeamRH, we know that certain clients will be more flexible, so candidates with 2 and a half years’ experience could try their luck. But generally, we only prioritise profiles that match the client’s target profile to 98% in terms of experience. If you have a B2 level in English and the company is looking for someone who is very comfortable with English, do not apply unless you have estimated your own level very objectively (but do not overestimate yourself either, or let us test your level ourselves).
Advice for candidates: Only apply for positions with a description that matches your profile as much as possible, especially in terms of level of experience, language requirements, or all other criteria or skills followed by ‘compulsory’ or ‘required’. Because the risk in not doing this is giving the impression that you are a candidate who is applying to any job you can find, or that you have not been able to correctly define your own profile. You would therefore decrease the likelihood of being contacted, even just for a discussion about your CV, your expectations and our current opportunities. The other option would be to send us a speculative application, directly enquiring about the positions we might have available and which might match your profile.
2. Do not apply for the same position 10 times
Have you already applied for a position, but don’t seem to have received a reply? Or are you unsure about having applied, so you decide to send your CV again, just in case? There are two possibilities here. Either the recruitment agency has received your CV and will look over it in good time. Depending on the time of year or our clients’ sometimes urgent needs (and sometimes not so urgent), it is not always easy for us to reply in 24 hours. However, we do our best to respond within 72 hours. The second possibility is that you are so determined in your job search that you have applied to the same job over and over again without even realising (believe us, it’s possible). There might be other ways to apply without appearing insistent and disorganised.
Advice for candidates: If you think that we have ‘forgotten’ about your application, and that point number 1, seen above, does not apply to you, the best thing to do is to send an email to the recruitment agency to check that they have received your application for the role. Also, do not forget to organise your job search by creating an Excel document with dates, the positions you have applied to, recruitment agencies, etc., in order to render your search a little easier and succeed in it without reapplying by accident.
3. Do not apply to positions which are too different from one-another
That’s right; some candidates think they are capable of becoming an associate in banking law in a law firm, of being a legal consultant in a notary office or even of joining the legal department as a real estate lawyer. They’re ‘super-lawyers’. But they’re a bit too ahead of their time. The French job market is only just gradually incorporating the fact that Soft Skills are actually something to take into account in the recruitment process (finally!). Therefore, you will have to wait a while before being able to apply for a complete change of career within the legal sector.
Advice for candidates: Establish what your true profession is and apply for positions which really correspond to what you do and in areas you are an expert in. Otherwise, recruiters are likely to think you are unstable (and non-adaptable) and will certainly doubt your real motives.
4. Be reactive
As a recruitment agency, we at TeamRH are used to answering emails, either by replying via email or by calling candidates directly. If we are unable to contact you, we of course expect that you will call back within 24 hours, and that you remember the position that you applied for.
Advice for candidates: If you applied with the intention of getting the job, not to waste time, you should expect us to get back to you quite quickly, especially if you have respected points 1, 2 and 3 as seen above. You should therefore be able to make yourself available for a call within the 48 hours following your application. Otherwise, you will risk giving the impression that you are a nonchalant and unreactive person, which could mean that your CV ends up at the bottom of the pile of those who have applied.
5. Availabilities for an initial interview
We would like to invite you to interview. You have therefore got through a good number of steps, at least 4. It would be a shame to give up now. It would also be a shame if you did not organise yourself quickly enough to set the date for this interview, with the eventual aim to get the job. When applying, you should take the fact that we could potentially quickly call you back to organise an interview date into account.
Advice for candidates: Take a note in advance of your availabilities for a potential interview. Otherwise, you will risk giving the impression that you have not anticipated the possibility of obtaining an interview for the position you applied to, and therefore that you were not expecting a response. Or, on the contrary, that you are too busy to come to interview, and therefore that you do not really want the job…
6. Honour your commitments with the consultant (or postpone them in good time)
It is possible at times that you will find yourself unable to attend the interview at the time and date agreed between the recruitment consultant and yourself. Last minute appointments or meetings are the usual excuses. As a recruitment agency, we are able to remain flexible for our candidates, and even adapt our usual working hours if the candidate’s timetable requires it. But sometimes, certain candidates do not turn up to the interview and do not even let us know why. Depending on the consultant, this could result in an automatic refusal. Failing to let us know that you will not be coming to interview is a sign of a lack of respect in our eyes. If you do this, do not expect to get a second interview; you will not be given a second chance.
Advice for candidates: If you get held up, let your recruitment consultant know as soon as you know that you will not be able to be there (via email, text, call, carrier pigeon…) They can be a solid form of support in your job search and they should be able to trust you. If you stand them up, without letting them know in advance, it will be unlikely that they will want to meet you again.
7. Do not dress casually
Unfortunately, even if your trainers are the coolest ones in Paris, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll like them too. For an interview in a recruitment agency, you have to wear a more conventional outfit. A candidate’s presentation is important, without inciting any discrimination, of course. This is also true for many other aspects which should preferably be kept outside of the interview.
Advice for candidates: The interview with the recruitment agency is just as important as the final interview with the hiring company. We will not be dressed in shorts and trainers, so we expect the same dress code from the candidates that we meet.
8. Clearly explain your motives
An interview, even with a recruitment agency, is a very important step for candidates. Indeed, the recruitment consultant is the first person that you will have to impress, not only by respecting the points mentioned above, but also in the interview. So you should consider the recruitment agency as your trump card, because even if they work on behalf of the company that is commissioning them, the consultant is still the person who makes the final decision on whether or not to put you through. Adopting a clear, precise, synthetic and above all coherent way of communicating is therefore very important. The recruitment consultant should be able to envisage presenting you to their client as the ideal candidate. A firm handshake while looking into the consultant’s eyes, a clear manner of speech, maintaining your focus during the interview, showing an interest in the position – all of these attitudes are essential to be successful.
Advice for candidates: Do not forget about this step and practise if necessary. Because the final decision not to present you to the client lies in the hands of the consultant, if you have not managed to convince them. Giving them a good impression of yourself is therefore a fundamental requirement.
9. Send an email in the 48 hours following the interview
After the interview with you (the candidate), the recruitment consultant, if they choose to present you to their client, will quickly send them an email the very same day, or in the 24 hours following the interview. On their side, the client will respond quite quickly in general. Sending a thank you message 48 hours after the interview asking the consultant if they have had a response from the client about your application will both allow you to reiterate your interest in the position and keep yourself informed while reminding them of you.
Advice for candidates: A short and personal email to the consultant who invited you for interview will be appreciated. In general, when the hiring company is interested by a candidate’s profile, they will get back in touch with the consultant in the following 72 hours (except during the holiday period or in special circumstances).
TeamRH, a recruitment firm in Paris, is a leading player in the legal and financial sector. We work with a national and international clientele, helping them to strive for a top performance. Our consultants benefit from an extensive knowledge of the market and of legal professions in order to better understand their task. We also offer Career & Life Coaching sessions (stress, demotivation, professional strategies to handle burn out).
5 rue de Hanovre
Tel : 01 42 33 26 12
E-mail : jobs[@]teamrh.com