Recruitment agencies and part-time jobs

INterviewIs looking for a part-time job through a recruitment agency any different from looking for a full time one?

It's the same in lots of ways. So this guide starts with some general points, and then offers specific advice for trying to get a part-time job.

Skip straight to the advice about part-time and flexible jobs

WHAT IS A RECRUITMENT AGENCY?

A recruitment agency works on behalf of employers, helping them to find suitable candidates for job vacancies. A good agency will also work hard on behalf of its candidates, helping them with their CV when they put put them forward for a job, and preparing them for interviews.

When you apply for a job through a recruitment agency, their consultants will handle the initial CV selection process, short-list the best candidates and even do the first round interviews. You won’t meet the employer until later in the process.  

CHANGES IN THE RECRUITMENT AGENCY MARKET

There are far fewer 'high street' agencies than there used to be, as many of them have moved online, advertising their vacancies on their websites.

Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between the website of an online recruitment agency and an online jobsite (like Timewise Jobs, where employers post job ads and your application goes directly to the employer, rather than to a consultant at an agency). The difference will become clear when you actually apply for a job.

But, just to make things even more confusing, most recruitment agencies also advertise their vacancies on online job sites, so you’ll often see recruitment agencies named on job ads in lieu of the employer’s name.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING SELECTIVE 

With most online recruitment agencies, you don’t have to wait until you see a relevant job to apply for. You can send in your CV any time, and the recruitment agency will get back to you whenever a relevant job crops up.

It’s a good idea to do this, as long as you’re very selective about your recruitment agencies. Choose ones that specialise in part time and flexible jobs (see part time tips below), or in your sector (eg charities), or in your type of work (eg finance).

DON’T WAIT FOR CONSULTANTS TO CALL YOU

Once you’ve signed up with an agency and submitted your CV, keep an eye on their jobs. Give them a call as soon as you see something relevant, and draw their attention to your CV. Getting to talk to a consultant is an important step towards job success.

PART-TIME TIPS FOR USING RECRUITMENT AGENCIES

  • Search for recruitment agencies that specialise in part-time and flexible working. There are a few of these around – for example Workpond or Ten to Two
  • If the agency is NOT a part-time specialist, they’re unlikely to have a huge number of part-time jobs. ‘Full time jobs open to flexibility’ will be more common, so it may be worth targeting these and then negotiating your terms if you’re successful.
  • When submitting your CV or talking to a consultant, it’s best not to mention initially that you’re looking for part-time work (unless you’re applying for a specific part time job). Mentioning part-time too early may just close doors. Wait until you’re speaking to a consultant, and even then…
  • Don’t rule out applying for full-time jobs through a recruitment agency. The employer might be open to flexibility, but might not have explained this to the agency. And if they decide you're the right person for the role, they may be prepared to be accommodate your request. 
  • If you decide to apply for a full-time role, do your homework. Look at the job spec and think about how the job could be achieved part-time. Research whether the employer has a positive approach to flexible working. Get them interested, and then choose the right time to ask about flexibility.
  • But remember, applying for full-time jobs with the intention to ask for flexibility won't always pay off. So be selective – only apply for full-time jobs when you’re an excellent fit for the role, and be realistic about how much flexibility it’s fair to ask for.
  • Finally, don’t just rely on recruitment agencies to look for flexible and part-time jobs. Cast your net wide by using all the other job-search methods too.

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