How the self-employed can get the most out of recruiters during lockdown

In such difficult economic times, it can be very challenging, and often very demoralising, trying to find new work. Some freelancers will have had their regular gigs curtailed due to budget freezes.

The past few weeks might have seen many frantically firing off pitches to online outlets in a bid to increase their incomes. While it might seem arguably old hat, recruiters are worth exploring to find freelance or permanent jobs.

Here are some great tips to help you with your hunt.

Finding work through a recruiter

Use boutique agencies

A good starting point is to check out boutique sites, as they specialise in or have a proven track record of placing candidates in your particular industry. For journalism and digital media positions, there is a cluster of good content-based companies such as Folio, RedCat and Major Players.

As far as content roles are concerned, these sites are tailored to you and there is a range of positions that will fit your specific skillset.

With boutique recruitment companies, you can match your experience with roles. Unlike large organisations such as Reed and Adecco where normally you have to wade through a lot of irrelevant adverts, the aforementioned recruiters can pinpoint your skills and experience and introduce you to their network.

On that point, it is imperative to make sure that your CV sells your skills well. Essentially, recruiters act as a window to the prospective job market. Recruiters will be in conversations with their clients when hirings are taking place and you have to put yourself at the top of their list. Ideally, it is best to speak to a specialist consultant on the phone. They will point you in the right direction or try and pull some strings for you if you make the right impression.

Become an IPSE member

Make recruiters work for you

Standing out from the crowd at any given time will bode well, and this is particularly relevant now. From a freelance perspective, being persistent is vital and you should not be afraid to be rejected. Of course, once the answer is no, then you have to back off. But with recruiters such as RedCat, they are on your side and communication is a two-way street.

Individual consultants should be judged on their own merits, but make sure you ask the right questions. After all, a particular recruiter could place you in a company where you spend the next few years of your life, so ensure you do your homework and research before picking up the phone.

Do not let consultants fob you off. If you have been in touch, follow up a conversation a few days later just to check they have not forgotten. People generally tend to forget things and while it is not personal, you should make a note to follow up. You have to keep yourself in the forefront of their minds, so that if a position becomes available then they get in contact with you.

Avoid the pitfalls

Naturally, the vast majority of recruiters are on commission and they are trying to fill positions quickly, so there is a personal incentive for them to do well. With that in mind, while recruiters cater for a wide variety of needs and are dealing with an abundance of clients, it is important to remember that they are gifted when it comes to selling their services. You should not be sold something if you are not happy with it.

Also, do not let recruitment agencies make you sign up for an account where you simply have to submit your CV, as these forms are not necessarily always monitored and messages can easily get lost in the system.

To be safe, always get the contact of a senior recruiter so you can direct concerns to him or her.

Meet the author

Charles Perrin
Charles Perrin is a freelance journalist based in London, who writes about finding work. Follow Charles on Twitter to read his latest work.