Sometimes using recruiters works better than applying directly to banks. And if you put in extra effort when choosing your consultants, your career could benefit. Here are some reasons why.
1) Screen and select
There's a limited number of banks in Australia and it's difficult to look into the quality of their internal hiring teams. But recruitment firms are comparatively plentiful, so you should at least be able to find a few respected recruiters in your field. Don't spam out your CV. Do plenty of due diligence (e.g. check their experience online, get references from friends) and when you've screened out the cowboys, approach two or three top consultants.
2) More jobs, less time
It's a simple equation: those three recruiters give you access to a range of banks and they know the hiring managers there too, not just the HR people. When you go direct, it's one HR department at a time.
3) Industry insight
The recruitment industry is full of former financial services professionals who've made a career change. If you can find someone who's worked in your job function before, he or she will be able to understand your exact career needs and won't be confused if you use technical terms. Although HR people do (of course) work at banks, they are less likely to be former bankers.
4) Career coaching
Try to milk as much information as possible from your recruiter. He or she wants to make the placement and pick up a fee, so take advantage of that and ask for interview tips that will help you secure the role. By contrast, if you're applying directly, you can hardly ask for handy hints - HR must remain neutral.
Once you have a job offer, it's often more difficult negotiating terms directly because banks tend to give blunter, yes/no replies. A good recruiter should act as a middleman between the client firm and you in an effort to seal the deal.
6) Long-term love
Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with a recruiter can pay off years down the line when you want to change jobs. You'll be tipped off about any upcoming opportunities and you won't have to go through the arduous process of finding a new recruiter.