IMPORTANT ADVICE IS IN ITALICS
There are several stages (as mentioned before):
1) The Initial Call
2) Pre-interview Phase
3) Post-interview Phase
4) Finalization Phase
Lets start at the beginning (always the best place to start!)
The Initial Call
This is the most critical phase of your interaction with any consultant or recruiter. The first question they ask you is the MOST important one (as I have learnt from experience). After introducing themselves they will ask you if it is a good time to talk or not. I would suggest you be truthful and if you are in the middle of something do not get into the call with a distracted mind. If you want things to work out it is best you listen to whatever the consultant has to say carefully. Most consultants will call you back if you request them to call later. Remember they called you because they are interested in your skills!
Usually consultants call to figure out your skill set and to generally get your profile (which includes things like salary requirement, willingness to relocate etc.) for:
– an opening that they have for which they wish to send your CV
– future openings they might be expecting or just to store your details on their systems (I call it a Fishing Call)
They will ask you questions about salary expectations, current employment status, work experience, career path desired, willingness to relocate, whether you can drive or not and if you have just completed a degree about the degree itself. You should answer all these questions truthfully to allow the consultant to judge whether you are suitable for the offered job.
Remember not all jobs are suitable for you and you are not suitable for all jobs. So try and be as clear as possible with the consultant as to what you are looking for and try and not get desperate for a job. Desperation is the worst thing to guide you in your job hunt.
Also remember consultants usually know what they are talking about in UK. While they are not experts they are aware of the general profile required for a job. If you feel that you would suit a particular opening you can try and convince the consultant but as I said before DO NOT GET DESPERATE.
The consultants also ask two – three other questions especially if it is a Fishing Call.
The first and most damaging question they can ask is if you have any other interviews lined up (with other consultants or direct through company HR). The reason they give for asking this is so that they can avoid duplicate submissions of your CV (i.e. your CV going for same job through different consultants). There is a sinister side to this question as well. If you give them the info the next call the consultant is going to make is to the company where you have your interview lined up and offer some more CVs to them which would increase the competition for you! That is why many consultants, if they have a specific opening in mind for you, will ask you not to discuss the details with anyone else and keep the client name a secret.
The second question which can harm you is when they are talking about your current employment they ask you in a very casual tone the name of your manager and what part of the organisation they work for. They will usually say that they have done a lot of work with your current company and might give you two three names to gain your confidence. Do not answer this question under any circumstance! It can harm you in many ways:
– If you are on a contract and your contract is about to expire the consultant can send some other candidate’s CV to your manager and your contract may not be extended if the candidates are better suited or work for a lower rate.
– they will call your manager to find out if they are recruiting and may let slip the fact that you are talking to consultants.
Remember these are desperate times for the consultants as well! There are not many job openings out there so consultants have to work twice as hard for leads!