Sarah Hurley Excel Recruitment Retail Head Office Recruitment

How to work with your Recruiter to find your dream job


As a jobseeker, there can be certain factors to consider when using a recruitment company to help with your job search. Senior Consultant Sarah Hurley, explains how to get the best results whilst working with your recruitment consultant and what to expect throughout the process.

There can be misconceptions about working with your recruitment consultant and how agencies work. As Recruiters, our responsibility is two-fold. We align our candidate’s experience with our client’s requirements. As a Recruiter, our purpose is to join the dots between the candidate and the company, carefully matching the applicant’s skillset with what the client is looking for. Throughout my buying career, I had mixed experiences with recruiters (both here and in London) and now I’m on the other side, I can hopefully clarify the process and offer some tips to help you make the most of working with your Recruiter and hopefully find your dream job:

Research the Agency and Recruiter

Are they advertising roles in your industry? Are they a specialist agency? Who are their clients? When approaching an agency, you want a Recruiter who already has an understanding of what you do and what your next steps might be. This way you won’t have to waste time explaining the basics. Working with your recruitment consultant who has an in-depth knowledge of the industry and close relationships within it, should know which employers will suit you best, both career and company culture-wise.

Have an up-to-date and concise CV

I screen CVs quickly so it’s best to keep it focused and to the point (2 pages is ideal). You can always elaborate on your experience at interview stage. I often scroll through 3+ pages of a CV and still don’t know what candidates do! Be sure to include the correct dates, and if there are gaps, it’s no problem but do add a line explaining why. Taking time out for travel, kids, looking after a family member etc. is completely fine and can even be of an advantage to you and your potential employer – just don’t try and hide it!

Be realistic

Recruiters help match you with roles that you are qualified for and suited to within their clients’ business. As Recruiters, we advocate for improved salaries, packages and titles etc. on your behalf but you will need to have realistic expectations. Recruiters are tasked with finding the person that most closely fulfils their client’s wishlist and are rarely given the freedom to deviate from this. If you are looking to move into a completely new industry or don’t have the experience for the job you are applying to, there is probably little a Recruiter can do for you. If you’re looking for a €10k+ salary bump but the budget is only €5k more than you are currently on, or if you want the client to match your 30+ days of annual leave when their company policy is 25, you will need to manage your expectations and decide what you can and cannot be flexible on

Trust your Recruiter

Following on from this, as a Recruiter, we will work to get you the best package possible but if we think you are jeopardising your application by being unrealistic, we will tell you. It is a balancing act between getting the candidate what they are worth and also supporting the client’s brief and budget. As Recruiters, we always look for mutually beneficial outcomes for both parties. Clients will try to meet requests where they can, so trust your Recruiter’s expertise when they say a client has hit a ceiling with regard to the package.

Be honest and ask questions

Your relationship with your Recruiter should be a collaborative one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as, where your experience or salary sit in the market and what aspects of your CV or the interview you need help with. Be honest with your Consultant about any requirements you have, even if you think it’s minor. If you need flexibility around working hours for the first month of your new job (you could be finishing a course, your child minder could be away etc.) for example, tell your Recruiter at the application stage, so we can manage this on your behalf. That is just one of the advantages of using a Recruiter. They are able to relay your requirements to the client whilst at the same time, maintaining your value as a candidate. Confidentiality between the Recruiter and the candidate is paramount so don’t be concerned about being open regarding potential issues you may have.

Barry Whelan, CEO Excel Recruitment


New Year, New Career? If you’ve decided 2018 is the year you find your dream job, CEO of Excel Recruitment Barry Whelan shares his top tips on starting your search…

2017 was a great year for jobseekers and with unemployment currently standing at 6.1%, 2018 is shaping up to be even better with a strong job market, salaries on the increase and companies looking to employ. We are already out the door here in Excel Recruitment and if landing a great new job tops your wish list this year, there’s a good chance your wish will come true. Job hunting is always tough, but with a little effort you can really increase your chances of landing a great job,

Upgrade your LinkedIn Profile.

LinkedIn is simply your CV on social media. Potential employers are going to look you up on this platform. Build your profile professionally. Use Keywords that recruiters will search for and make sure your job title is not too bespoke or obscure and for the love of god, DON’T use a Selfie as your profile picture. Selfies are generally unflattering and unprofessional. All retailers know we buy with our eyes when it comes to product, well it’s the same with people. Get a professional headshot done.

Engage with a great recruiter.

Ask your friends and colleagues who they used, who they would recommend and get on that recruiter’s radar (Or save yourself some time and just click here to find the best recruiters in the biz.) Pop them a speculative CV and ask for a quick chat. Whilst they may not have your dream job now, they may in the future.

Upgrade your profile

Promote yourself as a knowledge leader in your industry. Join Trade associations, Volunteer to speak on Panels, Blog something of interest, and create a record of expertise for yourself.

Streamline your CV

Your CV a tool you use to get an interview. Make it a sledgehammer! Streamline your CV to really highlight your best achievements and the career success you have enjoyed, don’t overkill with lengthy cover notes or crazy detail. It is just the tool to raise interest in someone meeting you. The detail will come in the interview.

Erase your soft skills…and irrelevant experience

To streamline your CV just delete your soft skills and early career. If you are 10 years or more into your career, work in the corner shop or winning the all-Ireland ping pong championship when you were 12 is just taking up valuable space. Delete hobbies unless they are relevant to your job. Nobody cares!

Highlight your tech ability

We live in the world of technology, regardless of our job or industry. Make sure both on your CV and on LinkedIn you highlight every tech system, package and product you have ever had the pleasure of using. Microsoft this and that all the way to SAP, name check them all

Don’t follow the money

Nobody really likes greed, no matter how healthy the economy might be. Besides, a great job, short commute, route to progression and good Work/Life balance can go a long way to happiness in a job that money alone can’t offer. Don’t chase the Euro or at least, don’t come across as obsessed by money.

Know your Value

Research the market value of the position you are going for and pitch yourself accordingly, don’t frighten a new employer off by pitching yourself too high or indeed, undervalue yourself.

Good luck in your job hunt and be sure to check out our current live jobs to kick-start your search!

What to Wear to a Job Interview

For many people, it can seem old fashioned or overly corporate to talk about ‘appropriate’ interview attire. Many workplaces have adopted casual dress codes and the lines between semi-casual/business casual/work-wear are continually being blurred. However, no matter what the dress code of the company you’re interviewing with, how you look in the job interview can have a huge impact on your success. At minimum you should be smart-casual and there are certain unwritten rules about dressing for job interviews. Below are Excel Recruitment’s tips on how to dress for success.

Show that you want to be there

Our consultants love when they’re sending candidates out for interview and the candidate asks what they should wear. It shows they are serious about wanting the job and are willing to put thought and effort into making the best first impression possible! Turning up looking scruffy, dishevelled or overly casual sends a message to the interviewer that you don’t care enough about the job or were just too lazy to put the effort in.

Often looking good is just a by-product of putting the effort in, appearance-wise. Ensuring you’re well-presented means that you, and the interviewer, can focus on what you have to say rather than what you look like.

Play it safe

A huge part of your interview preparation should be researching the company, looking up their website and social media, talking to people you know there or asking your recruitment consultant for info. From this, you should be able to get a decent understanding of the company’s culture and what you should be wearing. An interview outfit for an accountant job will be very different to one for a fashion retail job. If you’re in doubt, it’s always better to play it safe and go more dressy than casual. No matter what the company, at minimum you should be dressed smart-casual.

On the theme of playing it safe, be careful of your accessories. No loud or jangly jewellery or flashy or comedic ties. You should always aim to look professional and put together.

Keep it clean

For jobs like butchers, deli staff, chefs or any job where hygiene and cleanliness are paramount make sure you bring this same attention to hygiene to your interview day. Make sure hair is neatly styled and out of your face, nails are clean and trimmed and your general appearance is neat and well-groomed. On the reverse, avoid too much perfume or aftershave. As with the previous point, the aim is to ensure the interviewer is focusing on what you say, not what you look/ smell like.

Pay attention to the details

Doing the small things right will go a long way towards looking your best, and your potential employer will be impressed that you notice that you’re detail orientated. Things like shining your shoes, ensuring your clothes are clean, ironed and fit you well don’t have to take a lot of time but can make a huge difference to your overall presentation.

Finally, when it comes to job interviews, your experience and personality are the most important and are what will get you the job. However, it is important to start off on the right foot and do everything you can to leave a lasting, positive impression.

What To Do On Your First Day In A New Job

Your first day in a new job will amalgamate excitement, nerves, stress and could perhaps be one of the most memorable days in your career. The job search can be particularly taxing having spent hours constantly retouching your CV and making sure it gets to the right people. Employers have hired you for a reason and have expectations that they expect your talent and skills to adhere to. Most of us feel high levels of excitement but also trepidation when we begin a new job. There are ways to elevate some of this stress however by adapting the same meticulous approach in your first day as you did in your job search. The first day sets the tone for the rest of your career with those you’ll be interacting with. While first days are usually consumed in formalities with very little specific responsibilities it is vital to adapt a proactive response to your new role rather than a passive one.

Chances are you will be inundated with the same question by new employees. ‘What is your background?’, ‘What did you do before this?’ ‘What exactly will you be doing here’. Often it can be a little overwhelming when people ask outright very specific questions. Considering these will be the people you converse and deal with every day it may often be a genuine interest as they have only been fed a vague understanding and simply want to strike up a conversation. Having a prepared piece will make this process a little less daunting.

The recommended buffer time to show up early is about 15 minutes. If you have not done the route before familiarise yourself with it on different occasions to gauge how long it takes including peak times. Showing up early is almost a given that employers expect nowadays. While no doubt determined to make a great impression remember to relax in order to optimise your productivity. Make sure you are well rested the night before and can maintain concentration. If you are adapting from an entirely different routine make sure you have condition yourself in the days preceding your first day. Set your alarm to your wake up time to condition yourself and see how you adjust. Eat a breakfast and set your outfit the night before. While these may seem very minimal they will all ease the stress involved and will help you towards a smooth first day.

Be as professional as you were in the interview process and however in doubt you may be take the conservative approach. Your first day is not a time to establish yourself as the joker of the office or to describe your weekend social life. You will establish the culture of the company or office environment quite quickly and it’s important not to disrupt this. The urge to impress can veer you off track, but it’s important to remember that you’ve already been hired so you don’t have to wow your colleagues straight away. Your first day is not the time to have a strong and strident opinion, but more about listening, observing and learning. In time you will impress naturally, and more so when you understand the ropes.

Deciding On A Job Offer

Negotiation is a critical skill to possess during your job offer. It cannot be overlooked as it is the one time you will have the chance to lay out agreed terms and conditions that both you and your employer agree on. Getting it right is crucial. It is imperative that both parties are happy from the beginning, establishing good rapport and working towards the mutual benefit of the company.

Find out extensively the particulars of employment and the job offer:

Be sure to get these in writing. It’s standard practice and not an unreasonable request to ask for these to be clarified. Some of these particulars will include:

  • The salary
  • Exact location of the job – If travel occurs, can you accrue travel reimbursement and of how much?
  • Is there local reimbursement if relocating specifically for the job
  • What exactly are the ‘other benefits’ that were stipulated in the job advertisement and mentioned in the interview
  • What is the starting date
  • What is the pay pattern (weekly, fortnightly, monthly..?)
  • Is there a signing on bonus..?

To some it may appear quite brazen of someone to ask these request after only securing the job. Once they are addressed diplomatically, they will alleviate any miscommunication that may fall into place further down the line. It is in the employers benefit that you are made aware of them.

Negotiate a time frame for giving a definitive answer

When you are laid out with an offer take time to process it. Although it is sometimes hard, particularly when you are moving up the career ladder in terms of progress and salary, you need to understand the intrinsic value of the offer. Give yourself enough time to seriously think about it rationally. Any employer who has made the conscious effort to put you through often extensive interviews will be ok with someone taking a few days to ponder over a decision. Again having decorum and diplomacy will serve you well when questioning it.

I appreciate your offer and I’m very excited about starting. However I’m currently still waiting to hear back from other organizations. Can we discuss the offer again in a week?’

‘Thank you so much for the offer. I would like to take a day or two decide and discuss the particulars with my husband / wife / partner.’

Don’t be afraid to talk with the Hiring Manager to gauge the company’s expectations for hearing back and try to reach a middle ground. Don’t start the negotiation process over the phone, or worse, over email. It’s harder to say “no” to someone in person than it is over the phone. If the position is to be filled immediately, you may want to give them an answer sooner rather than later. A reasonable amount of time can vary from anywhere between a day to a week.

Think cohesively. Does this package encapsulate what you expected and also what you need to succeed and transition easily in the company? These factors include:

  • Individual Needs
    • Does the job satisfy your intellectual needs, creativity, and natural curiosity?
    • Do you think you could fit in with the company culture?
    • Would you be motivated about and excited for work?
  • Family Needs
    • Is the job likely to be compatible with your family duties and interests?
    • Is the job geographically close enough to give you enough time to spend at home?
    • Can you imagine your family interacting with other families in the company?
  • Career Goals
    • Can you imagine furthering your career with the organization?
    • Is there room for growth? Do they offer competitive training, job experience, and pay to make this a “step up” from where you were before?
    • Is there job security?