How To Choose The Best Recruitment Agency

How To Choose The Best Recruitment Agency. A recruitment agency can help you find your dream job, for more money, faster – but not all recruiters are equal. There are lots to choose from and it can be hard to sort the good from the bad. Here’s how to make sure you find a good one…

Before you even start looking for a recruitment agency, take a bit of time to work out what you want – what kind of work you want to do, the size of company you enjoy working for, where you’d like to be based, what sector you’d like to work in, and whether you want temporary or permanent work – oh, and how much you’d like to realistically earn. Stay flexible, but this will help you find the right recruiter – and help them find the right role for you.

Photo 1

Phase I

Desk Research

Come up with a shortlist of agencies before you waste time sending emails to all and fielding irrelevant replies. Half-an-hour now could save a lot of heartache later on…


Ask For Recommendations

There’s no better assurance than a recommendation from someone who has used a recruitment agency – both as a job seeker and as an employer. Ask former colleagues or trusted contacts for their opinions and recommendations.

Photo 2

A Credit To The Company

Take a five-minute tour of the agency’s website – they have a website, right? First, look for accreditations and membership of industry bodies. They should be a member of a recruitment body working to the highest standards in British recruitment.

For construction, CHAS (The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) is a good thing, as is a credit for the Constructionline database. Also check for certification by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

If you’re targeting one location, then look at the office address and signs of local expertise such as Constructing Excellence South West.


Background Check

A specialist recruitment agency will likely be better informed, with better connections than a generalist, but make sure they really have experience of both your industry and recruitment in general. Blogs, news articles and team profiles are good for this.

Client testimonials are not only a clear indication of the recruiter’s contacts, but also that employers value the agency’s work enough to say so to the world.


Pretty Vacancies

Look through online vacancies on their site to make sure the roles they recruit for broadly match your ambitions, even though the latest positions vacant may not be listed.


Check The Company’s Pulse

If the website was last updated sometime last year, that’s a sure sign they’re not very busy (unless it’s the first week of January). You should see new vacancies in the last seven days and preferably a recent blog about the company itself or the wider industry.


Going Offsite

Search social media to see if the agency’s profiles are up to date or neglected. Any business with something worth shouting about will shout about it. Google them, looking for links from employers, positive user reviews and industry awards.

Photo 3

Phase II

Make Contact

Your research has ensured the agencies worth talking to, but there are more questions to ask. Take notes to refer back to – if you speak to half a dozen agencies, it might be difficult to remember who said what later.


The Professionals

How does the company come across – professional or sloppy? Chances are, that’s how clients feel about them too; and you’ll be seen in the same light. How does the receptionist answer your call? Are you connected efficiently? If they promise a reply by email, does it come when they promised? How is it formatted?


 Passion Not Profit

If the first question from the agency is how much you want to earn, they’re just working out how much commission they’re looking at. Move along. Similarly, ask how they make a profit. It’s usually from the hiring company, so say goodbye if they charge a fee of candidates.

It’s a great sign if the recruiter is interested in your work history and where you want to take your career. Specialist recruiters should be passionate about the sector and the people that make it happen.


What Services Do They Offer?

Some agencies will use your CV to plug a gap for a client, while others will take the time and effort to match you to the right role. The former will close your file when you sign on the dotted line, while the latter will continue to offer support right up to your first day – and even beyond.


Recent Form

Find out what roles they’ve filled recently – and where. Ask what their candidates gone on to do regarding promotions or length of service. No recruiter will break confidence, but their answer should demonstrate ongoing contact and support.


Don’t Spam

It’s tempting to register with a bunch of places and see who comes up trumps, but it’s more effective to be selective and build a real relationship with the right agency. They’ll be more motivated to work on your behalf if you work as a team.


Phase III

Stay In Touch

Talk to the team that’s working for you after you sign them. Even if your dream job isn’t out there right now, they’ll be the first to hear about it – often before it’s even advertised. And you want to be at the top of their mental rolodex when it does…

Photo 4

Talk To Us

We’re proud of the work we do at Kingston Barnes, for clients and candidates alike. If you’re looking to step up your career in construction, consulting and engineering, then we’re confident that we pass every test as a market-leading recruitment agency.

Take your time, do your research and if you think we can help, then we’d love to hear from you. Talk to us today on 0117 325 2233 or send us an email at


recruitment consultant job in bristol

How To Stop Putting The Brakes On Your Career

How To Stop Putting The Brakes On Your Career. We look at why some candidates don’t make the most of their careers – and how they can boost their earning potential and job satisfaction.

Taking the next step on your career ladder can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor. From the despair of finding the right role and self-doubt on application to the agonising wait to hear if you’ve been deemed acceptable, it’s easy to imagine that you’ll only get your hopes up, only to have them dashed.

Far from setting yourself to fail, if you go about your job hunt the right way, you’re actually setting yourself up to succeed. Talk to a professional recruiter, who can help you identify your strengths and where you can successfully apply them, from industry sector down to specific roles – and even individual companies who are looking for… well, you.


 Would You Rather Be Comfortable, Or Fulfilled?

If you’ve been in your current role for some time, then you know how it works. You know what the company wants from its employees; you know what to expect of your boss; and you know how and when you get paid. Even if you’re not happy with any or all of these things – and a hundred more – you know what to expect. And that familiarity can be comforting.

Which is exactly why it’s called the comfort zone. Nobody does their best work from inside their comfort zone, as evidenced by research in 1908 by two psychologists that has become known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Their data shows that performance increases – up to a point – with interest. If your work is not sufficiently challenging, or stimulating, then you are quite simply not working to your potential.


Fear Of Rejection

Nobody likes being told they’re not good enough, so why put yourself in a position to be hurt if you don’t succeed? Because the alternative is to never find out what you’re truly capable of – and isn’t that the larger failure?

The key to overcoming this fear of rejection is to measure yourself against the industry standard so you can accurately assess your status and potential. Again, a good recruiter can help you to realistically measure your chance of success and crucially, how you can improve it.

If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no’. If you do ask, sometimes, it might just be ‘yes’…


Lack Of Qualifications

This is possibly the easiest objection to overcome. If you’ve identified your ideal job, but lack the paperwork, invest your time and money to achieve it. And it will be an investment – in your future – and as such, you can work out the time or money put in and the projected return on investment.

Whether that’s through on–the-job learning, night school or distance learning, you can do it if you really want to. It may take longer than you’d like, but that will only heighten the sense of achievement when you make it.



Lack Of Experience

This one’s not so easy. It’s the old Catch 22 that you need experience to get the job, but you need the job to get experience. It’s time to think laterally and identify the skills that are key to the role, then work out how you could acquire them in other areas.

You might be able to find a job that requires relevant skills, or you could look at hobbies and volunteer work that demonstrate an interest and a willingness to learn in those areas.



Big Fish, Little Pond?

The transition from apex predator to dither fish is a daunting proposition, but once you’ve reached the top of the food chain in your current environment, where else is there to go? Enter the big pond as a little fish and you’ll have room to grow.


What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

The human brain is very good at tricking its owner into sleepless nights over unfounded fears. This is called catastrophic thinking. Don’t listen to those nagging doubts in the darkest hours of the night; or rather listen, understand and file them. Then apply your rational brain in the cold light of day to identify unfounded fears or potential problems. Fear can’t hurt you and problems only need the right solution.



Today IS The Day

If you’ve ever postponed progressing your career because the time isn’t right, today’s headline news is – it’s never going to be the right time. If you’re waiting to get your ducks in a row or the right celestial alignment, then you’re going to get very good at one skill… waiting.

Not being ready is just an excuse. If you have an ambition to make more of your career, then today is the day to sit down, identify any challenges – and, most importantly, how you can overcome them one by one.


Don’t let today get away; this is your time to act. Take the initiative for the rest of your professional life by talking to us today about how we can help you to make the most of your career potential. Call us on 0117 325 2233 or email us at

recruitment consultant job in bristol

Can Job-hopping Leapfrog Your Career?

Can Job-hopping Leapfrog Your Career? 

It’s hard to strike the right balance between loyalty and ambition, but job-hopping can boost your career – if you do it right! Here’s how…

There’s no such thing as a job for life in the 21st Century. Nobody expects a pocket watch or a monogrammed fountain pen in return for a life of service these days. On the face of it, that might not sound like progress, but it’s your career that will progress as a result of taking full advantage of every opportunity that presents itself in the modern marketplace.


Why do so many of us stay on the treadmill, when there are plenty of pavements out there to pound? Laziness, familiarity and a sense of safety are the most common reasons for ‘making do’.

So what are the most common reasons why people choose change? The most frequent reasons we hear are pay, working conditions, or career progression. Change means personal growth, whether you change industries, location or responsibilities – and what professional doesn’t want to grow?

According to a PayScale report in 2012, most millennial employees stayed in a position for just two years. But even in today’s fluid market, a history of job-hopping can make you look like a risk to a potential employer. So how do you make the most of your opportunities without coming across as fast-and-loose?


Make sure that you move for the right reasons. Who could argue if a new position exposes you to new challenges, ensures your development as a professional, or advances your career?

One of the biggest benefits to working for a range of different companies, from start-ups to mega-corps, is that you’ll get to experience different ways of working. Not everybody does things the same way and the lessons you learn with one company could be valuable to the next. Employers love ambitious individuals who want to make the most of themselves.



Sorry, but it doesn’t happen outside of MTV. Your career shouldn’t be all about ‘more money now’. If that’s your only motivation for changing roles, then think again.

You should look at what you want to get out of your work life and how you see your career developing. A side-step today can lead to a step forward tomorrow. Think about prospects for progression, company growth, shares and performance related pay that adds financial value to your professional worth.


When you consider that your career could span 40+ years, it makes no sense to rush into a short-term fix. It’s only after doing a job for some time that you can truly understand the value of your skills and how an employer can align with your values and interests.

If you’re staying in the same field, then find out who does what how – and where you can make a contribution. Or if you want to change tack entirely and move into another sector, read industry publications, attend conferences and speak with a recruiter. Get feedback on your performance from employers, colleagues and peers for inspiration, so you can understand where they see the value in your contribution. They don’t have to know why you’re asking!


Yesterday’s movement might hold an appeal, but you need to target tomorrow’s cutting edge to ensure career progression. For maximum impact on your career, identify a growth sector that builds on your experience and abilities, and appeals to you – then go all-in!


However tempting it might be, never part company with your present employer on bad terms. Not only do you need their reference now, but you never know what tomorrow holds. However unlikely it seems, there may come a time when you want to return to the fold.

The ideal would be not to leave for a competitor, but if you do, fulfil your standing obligations and behave in a professional manner throughout your contract. While some employers may see your departure as a betrayal, the professional ones will respect your drive for personal and professional growth. Take the time to emphasise your appreciation for the opportunities your existing employer has given you and what you’ve learnt in your time with them. That way, you’ll be free to return if the new role doesn’t work out, or your present employer presents a better option in the future – it could happen!



If you want to explore your potential for career progression, call Kingston Barnes today on 0117 325 2233 or email us on