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Agencies & Interviews: What you don’t know

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In my opinion recruitment agencies have long been a benchmark in the employment process. They are the go to for busy managers, overworked HR teams and frustrated applicants looking for their dream job or next career opportunity.

As such, recruitment agencies act as a ‘middle man’ a unifying force between employee and employer designed to smooth the somewhat turbulent onboarding process and assist with those hard to fill key positions.

However, recruitment agencies have their own unique set of systems and process which differ somewhat from the traditional employment process, processes which, if not thoroughly explained, can be somewhat confusing and at times unintentially misleading. I say unintentially because recruitment agencies have received a bit of a bad rap when it comes to candidate management and as a recruiter and manager myself, I am passionate about ending this assumption.

So you’ve been approached by and agency or have been accepted as a potential candidate for interview, now what? Your agency should provide you with a concise outline of the interview time, date, facility and mode of interview. It should also help you with your interview preparation. This may consist of sample questions, a trial run over the phone or simply checking in with you to see if you have any additional questions.

Keep in mind here that the agency often is liaising with up to three people on the client end, HR, Admin and the NUM or DON in order to secure and confirm the interview.

Unlike a direct application, the agency generally liaises directly with NUM or DON to confirm candidate selection and interview details. However, whilst this direct approach is one of the main benefits of engaging an agency, it also has it’s draw backs.

This system of interview engagement often results in interviews being rescheduled or moved to other times/days due to unexpected on floor emergencies on the NUM/DON end. Be prepared for this! It doesn’t mean you are not wanted, or they have changed their mind, it means that the NUM/DON is trying to juggle a million different responsibilities all at once and often the interview is at the bottom of the pile under direct patient care.

Secondly, if you are overseas at the time of the interview, time differences and phone line connections also play a part here. It is important that you allow yourself an hour either side of the interview, stay close to your phone and have access to your emails. Often the agency won’t know to the last minute that the interview has been rescheduled so will reach out to you via phone and email to let you know.

If you apply for a position and accept an interview, it is vital that you remain contactable at all times. You may have other offers or opportunities, that’s fine! At the end of the day you need to do what is best for you, however we tell all our candidates, always have a back up plan! You can very quickly get a reputation among agencies and hospitals if you apply and commit to interview only to ghost the interview when a better offer comes along. If for whatever reason your plan A doesn’t come through you will always have plan B up your sleeve!

Finally, this process can actually take a long time! The longest lead time I have personally experienced from interview to start date was 8 months! However, if the hospital is offering you job security, an attractive salary package and long term employment options, then it is definitely worth the wait!

So whilst there are drawbacks interviewing via agency the main benefit which overrides all the hassle is the fact your resume is in front of the key decision maker. This key decision maker will be able to say yes or no straight away, rather than your application being lost in a pile of other applicants who have applied directly through the same channel and are all sitting on the desk of a very stressed and hurried HR manager.

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