Q : If I send my CV to a sales recruitment agency, will they then send it on to companies without my knowledge?
A : They certainly shouldn't do. Sales recruitment agencies have a duty of care once they have your details. By law they need specific permission from you in order to send any of your personal details anywhere. Once you have entrusted them with your CV they have a duty of care to keep these details completely confidential. On your first approach, you may find the odd consultant try to be clever by asking your permission to send your CV in at short notice without a call to you, in order not to ‘miss the boat’. this is an attempt to achieve license to send your CV out anywhere, any time. Make sure you are clear, in writing, that you don't want your CV sent anywhere without written permission first.
Q: What's the point of a company using sales recruitment agencies?
A: There are a basket of benefits to companies recruiting. Firstly, if a company where to advertise a sales job in the national press, they may find they receive 100s of applications, and indeed from all over the world. Dealing with this response requires resources, time and money that many simply don't have. The idea of sales recruitment agencies is to filter candidates down to a manageable short list, saving time and money. In addition, sales recruiting agencies are constantly advertising meaning they may already have a bunch of good candidates in their database to choose from meaning more choice in less time. Finally, sales recruitment agencies offer expertise in sales recruitment to people who may have little or no experience in this area, this in itself can be invaluable once a trusting relationship is built between agency and client.
Q : How does the recruitment agency make money out of me?
A : It's quite simply, if they don't find you a job, they make nothing out of you. If they place you they get a percentage of your starting salary, say 20%. If you leave in the early weeks or months, they may have to return some of the fee. It's in their interest to place good people to be asked to recruit again and again when vacancies occur.
Q : How many sales recruitment agencies should I contact?
A : You may think there's no harm in contacting all of the available agencies. However, if you do this, be weary, don't tell your recruitment consultants. If they know you are with every agency, they will also know their chances of making a fee out of you are significantly reduced, and as a result will put less effort into helping you. Personally, I would recommend finding 2 to 3 good agencies to help you.
Q : What if the agency sends my CV to my present employer?
A: Oh boy are they in trouble. Data protection laws dictate that sales recruitment agencies shouldn't do anything with personal details without the specific permission of the individuals concerned, if they do, they are breaking the law. If they break the law and ruin your career, I would imagine a court would take a very dim view. However, as insurance I would recommend a specific written request to an agency not to send your CV out anywhere without written permission from yourself. This will ensure against the odd fast talking consultant who gets you to say yes to sending your CV out quickly if he sees a ‘really good’ that he doesn't want you to miss!
Q : Should I use an agency to find me a job?
A : In most cases, yes. Most pharmaceutical companies use recruitment agencies as a standard process. A good recruitment consultant will help you through the process, help you improve your CV and advise you in interview technique etc. In addition they will have good channels into companies in order to get you in front of the right people.
If you're looking for pharmaceutical jobs, recruitment agencies really are an integral part of the process you can't ignore. Find the right agency and they will not only be able to find you a job now, but you may find they are able to find you further jobs as you move through your career.
This article is written by John Bult who runs a job site for sales recruitment agencies to advertise in the UK