Many proscribe to the idea of applying to your targeted company directly, as opposed to using a consultancy, and in some cases this may indeed yield results, particularly if the applicant themselves has a contact within the company. This will of course depend upon how well networked you are personally, and if you are well known in the local HR community then you may not need the services of a consultancy at all. But what if you aren’t? Picture a typical busy HR department in a large organisation. An unsolicited CV lands in the inbox of the recruitment lead. How many others do you think they may have seen that day? Maybe, if you catch them right they will take a closer look and maybe they might refer your CV on to the HR director. Maybe the HR director will take a look and get in contact and maybe you’ll get an interview. That’s a lot of maybes.
Now consider another picture. Your recruitment consultant picks up the phone and dials the mobile number of the HR Director. This is someone with whom they have an existing (and one hopes successful) relationship. They pitch you in as a candidate, recommending your skills and experience and expressing their positive opinion as to your cultural fit for their business. You receive an introduction to the key decision maker through someone that they trust, which has a much higher likelihood of success than a CV landing on a desk cold.
This is in essence what you are using a recruitment consultant for, their relationships and knowledge of the local market place that can be used to aid you in your job search. Market knowledge is essential for a good consultant to be effective, and specific local knowledge in particular. Product knowledge is what really differentiates a good consultant from the bad. Let us be honest, no one is suggesting that there are not bad consultants out there, as well as good. The key thing is to separate the wheat from the chaff and only work with those who you can trust and who have a successful track record.