Insights into Recruitment Agencies

First things first, let’s get this recruitment concept right!

Recruiters in this instance (on today’s panel) are what you call Recruitment Service Firms. They are commercial in nature and hired to serve the needs of their paying clients by sourcing the best possible candidate. They are not career coaches or job search providers, but a fast paced business required to meet the employment needs of organisations at all levels at any time.

Unlike a jobactive job seeking agency, recruitment firms are not funded by the government, but by a variety of businesses looking to find the perfect match for their employee needs. If you approach a recruitment agency it is essential that you know why and what you are applying for. Ensuring you have tailored your resume and answered the specific key selection criteria closely is crucial. Recruiters are busy people and resumes with no relevant content, criteria or qualifications WILL BE immediately discarded.

One tip from James at Hays was not to over engineer your resume. Keeping it simple and factual without any images, photos or fancy fonts is important. Define any achievements or responsibilities you have had with clear evidence, and utilise and reflect key words throughout your resume. If the employer wants their steak medium rare with a tartar sauce, an overcooked lamb roast with gravy will not cut the mustard.

Recruitment companies specialise in different genres of work, so make it your business to know why you are approaching that company and what brand you are selling. There is really no point going to a recruitment company that specialises in project management if you are going for a customer service role, or a plumbing position if they excel in IT managers. Jean Paul from Direct Recruitment also added that it is important to be honest in your application. You may embellish a little here and there, but do not make up your skills set, reference or qualifications. A recruitment company will not be happy if they go to great lengths to line you up an interview and it is built on fabrications, particularly when their reputation is at stake.

If you do find what seems to be a good fit between yourself and a recruitment agency, ensure you register online and upload your resume for their files. This is a simple and effective way of ensuring you are on their radar. Signing up for alerts, knowing what’s “hot” and what’s “not” and exercising your LinkedIn daily is important. Hays and Harvest recruitment both stated that they actively pursue potential candidates from LinkedIn and Seek daily. They head hunt for the best clients and if you are not registered with the larger networking services it lessens your chances of being noticed. A large number of recruitment agencies have purchased direct access to the Seek portal, so they can view each and every resume that’s uploaded daily.  This passive way of seeking work online can be really successful and the best part about it is no-one need know you are even looking.


  • Do not apply for too many positions advertised within one agency if you are not genuinely suited to the position. We know there are expectations from Centrelink and Jobactives to fulfil a certain amount of positions per month, but your name may become synonymous with wasting the recruiter’s time. A bit like the boy who cried wolf, they may start to think you are not really serious about any of your job seeking efforts.
  • Recruiters are constantly busy, they may be expected to come up with an employee for a client with just 24 hours’ notice. Do not demand answers as to why you were unsuccessful, try a more amicable approach. “Could you suggest a time I may be able to speak to John, would it be ok if I emailed for further information” etc.
  • Utilise bullet points, key words, key skills and key competencies on the front page. You may only get 10 seconds to catch the recruiter’s eye, so make the main thing, the main thing. 
  • Compress all your job application documents into one if need be. There may be no way to upload a cover letter or selection criteria separately, so compile all your documents, starting with the cover letter first, resume, then Key Selection Criteria (KSC). If a graphic or visual portfolio is required, an entirely separate application will be requested.
  • Everyone loves Arial (I confess so do I ) and at 10 or 11 points it’s the favourite font. Do not use any fancy, funny or fluffy font or graphics. It will be binned!!! A recruitment agency will in fact reformat your original to this font for an employer. So ensure you don’t PDF your documents, as they will not be able to edit or reformat for their purposes.
  • Use the recruitment interview as practice for the major interview with the employer. Any questions you may struggle with or ponder such as salary, weaknesses, fears etc. ensure you tackle at your interview with the Recruitment Company. They want you to SHINE and they are paid to find a successful and wonderful candidate.

So now you have your head around the basics, a few tips about our three panelists today.


Hays have offices in around 32 countries, having originally set up in Geelong in 2007, they now cover the entire south western district including Ballarat and Bendigo.

  • Hays cover a variety of positions from IT, Project Management, Marketing, Communications, Accounting, Payroll, Book-keeping, Admin, Personal Assistants, Customer Service and the Government Sector. They also have a dedicated recruiter to place candidates in Engineering, Building, Labouring, and other blue collar related professions.
  • Clients include: NDIA, TAC, WORKSAFE, DEAKIN, and many local councils and state government.
  • Jobs range from temporary to permanent.

HARVEST RECRUITMENT is a Geelong based recruitment company founded by Maree Herath in 2009.

  • Harvest’s niche market largely consists of specialist, technical and executive specialists. Recruitment may be in areas of engineering, oil, gas and other major companies.
  • They may be looking for directors, CEO’s, CFO’s, accountants, lawyers and consultants.
  • 80% of positions sought by their employers are permanent. Unlike some other recruitment companies, Harvest also do career coaching seminars, write professional resumes and run work related workshops.

NOTE: Harvest did cite that there is currently a shortage of accountants and procurement specialists in our region and if you have those skills and/or are thinking of upgrading those skills, it is worth your while forwarding your resume for this very reason. Geelong is a highly competitive and saturated market in some sectors so ensure you look where the skills shortages are.

Harvest recruitment are the only Geelong based panelist for WORKSAFE, so ensure if that’s where your interest lies pursue them accordingly.


Jean Paul is the Business Development Manager of Direct Recruitment Geelong, and unlike its sister companies in Melbourne it specialises only in recruiting.

Direct Recruitment caters for those looking for work in;

  • Home and Community Care
  • Gardeners/Landscaping/ Labouring
  • City Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire, Surf Coast Shire
  • Warehousing, Food and Chemical industries
  • Has an exclusive contract with Simonds Stadium and Kardinia Park to cater for all needs related to game day. So if you love the “Cats” make sure your register for an opportunity.

For assistance with job applications, or to find out more about Recruitment Agencies in Geelong, contact The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre.