In the current market, both hiring managers and recruiters alike are seeing an exceptionally high volume of applications for roles. There are several facets of your search here that we need to cover. Each of these is a valid method for sourcing a new role, but as they are very different channels, a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not the best way to search for your new role.

Registering with recruiters

Pick a handful of recruitment agencies to help in your job search. I would suggest a maximum of five, however, three is ample in most cases. Most agencies cover similar or overlapping markets, so by registering with every agency you are simply covering the same market again and again. The likelihood of several agencies sending your CV for the same role or ‘floating’ your CV to a possible employer without your knowledge dramatically increases if you are with a multitude of agencies. This can also act as a disincentive for ‘good’ agencies to brief you on roles, if they feel a recruiter may have already sent your CV to the company. In this case, less is more.
It is wise to be selective about which jobs you apply for online. Many jobseekers do not realise that recruiters track how many applications you have made, when you made them and for what roles.

Using online job boards

It is wise to be selective about which jobs you apply for online. Many jobseekers do not realise that recruiters track how many applications you have made, when you made them and for what roles. It is common for us to receive hundreds of applications from a single candidate across a variety of locations and roles. That makes it hard for a recruiter to believe that the candidate is serious for that role in this instance, given the scatter-gun approach they are taking with their search. Considered, sensible and measured application trends are more valuable.

Keeping in touch

The more senior you are, the slower, in general, your job market will be. All recruitment firms will place a higher volume of junior candidates than senior ones in a given timeframe. Couple this with recruiters trying to keep candidates up-to-date on any progress generally, and one quickly sees the size of the task. If you call your recruiter daily, it is highly unlikely anything has changed. If something relevant happened they probably would have called you – it’s in their interests. Organising and sticking to a reasonable updating cycle with your recruiter means you don’t spend all day trawling SEEK and leaving them lots of messages; frustrating for all parties. Managing your updates sensibly and speaking with them as agreed means they are more open to your call and also more able to have time to call clients and find you a role!

Pick your battles

Every recruiter is currently dealing with hundreds of candidates in their portfolio. Trying to brief and update them on roles is a daunting and time consuming task. My advice is that if your recruiter phones you regarding a role and says that you are not quite right, think twice before arguing the point. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it is time consuming.
Secondly, while there is always room for error or misinterpretation, in the majority of cases the recruiter’s decision will stand and all this conversation will do is make a two minute conversation a ten minute conversation.
Help your recruiter: it is in their interests to get you in front of a client if you are right for the role. If they say this isn’t the case, accept it and move on. This means the recruiter will be more inclined to touch base with you, as they know it will be a quick, two minute hello, rather than another 15 minute debate.

Finally, patience

This is not 2007. For the last ten years Australia has enjoyed economic prosperity and growth rarely encountered in a Western economy. This has now slowed, which means that roles are harder to come by and companies’ expectations of potential employees have also dramatically increased. However, the oversupply of candidates across all levels and geographies (and not just in Australia) has had the greatest effect. Simply put, while you may have found a new role within a month in the previous market, you will now probably find that it takes between three and six months, possibly twelve.
The best way forward? Plan your move in advance and think about what your next move might be. Come and see Michael Page early in the piece to discuss this of course, but certainly do not wait until you are within a month of resigning to action your plan. Searches these days invariably take months, not weeks, and you need to plan accordingly. Recruiters do not determine the market, we only service it.


With hiring managers and recruiters seeing an exceptionally high volume of applications, there are several facets of the job search that you need to understand and approach differently. These include:

  • Registering with recruiters - be selective about how many you register with
  • Don't overuse online job boards - remember that recruiters track how many roles you apply for 
  • Regular, not constant contact - if something has happened with your application, the recruiter will contact you
  • Trust their experience - if a recruiter advises you are not quite right for a role, try not to argue
  • Be patient - give the recruiter time to find the right role for you and trust they are doing all they can
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