Alex Townley contributed to this report

With hundreds of vacancies out there and a plethora of sites to trawl to find your perfect internship, working with a recruitment agency can be greatly beneficial in your graduate internship hunt.

However, it is important that you understand a recruitment agency’s role in the hiring process. The aim of this blog is to help you understand how recruiters work and hopefully we can offer you a few tips from our own experience!

First things first, why do recruitment agencies exist? Many companies do not have fully functioning departments to manage their HR requirements.  Recruitment agencies fulfil their (you guessed it!) recruitment needs (much like a marketing agency might fulfil a marketing campaign for a retail company, for example). They save time for their clients, dedicating specialist knowledge and resources to finding the right person for their vacancy. After all, for many companies, their people are their most valuable asset.

The job of a recruitment agency is to screen all potential applicants and find the best person for the position they are seeking to fill.  It is worth remembering that intern recruitment agencies work for employers, not just internship-hunters. The reality is that the market place is saturated with students and graduates looking for internships, so it is important to make the most out of your recruiter in your search for internships in London.

We’ve put together four tips to help you make the most of a recruitment agency in your internship-hunt:

  1. Prepare
    Do your research! If you can show a recruiter that you have researched their agency before you meet with them, the recruiter will know that you will do your research before going to interviews.  Complete tasks you are asked to do and keep your CV updated.
  2. Build trust
    Be punctual, turn up to interviews and make a good first impression (firm hand shake!). Ensure the agency trusts you; you represent the recruitment agency when you go for an interview they have put you forward for. If the role isn’t for you and you think an interview would waste your time, just say, and tell a recruiter if you are awaiting other internship offers. Honesty really is the best policy!
  3. Communicate
    Keep your correspondence formal and always call a recruiter back – they probably have some important information for you!  Do your best to avoid grammar and spelling mistakes; simple things like re-reading emails to avoid typos and getting the name of your recruiter right go a long way.  Keep in regular contact with your recruitment agency but don’t pester – a recruiter will contact you about roles if they have news.
  4. Be enthusiastic
    You want to find an internship, so make sure it shows! As an internship-hunter, interviews are your priority so rearrange to see friends if you have to. Work around the interviewers’ schedule; their diary is likely to be fuller than yours! We recommend that you should always opt for the earliest interview if you are given the choice – you will look eager. Lastly, if you show your enthusiasm about a role then the recruiter will be keener to help you and importantly, provide you with feedback.

Take note of these tips and we reckon you’ll be fine! A recruitment agency can hold the key to many new opportunities, so work with your agency properly and they could help you find your perfect internship.