Which agency to choose?
There is generally little benefit in going to more than one agency. In fact it can be detrimental as your CV may go to a particular employer from several sources which could give the impression that you are “desperate” for a role. Also it makes it a lot more difficult to manage the process and keep up to date with where your applications are, which agency is dealing with which company, different people calling you about different roles etc.
Far preferential is to find an agency dealing with all of the actuarial employers and can therefore manage the whole process in a more efficient way for you. This also means that when you are deciding between jobs, the agency can provide you with unbiased advice on the pros and cons of each employer.
The first thing to do is ask around for personal recommendations. Clearly you can’t openly ask your employer whom they would recommend but there may be other actuarial friends or discrete colleagues who could give some feedback on agencies they have used. Steer clear of any if your friend had little idea of what happened to their CV, which companies were contacted or received minimal feedback from the agency.
Some agencies employ actuaries as recruitment consultants. This adds extra value to the process in that the actuary has the technical background to fully understand your skills, and particularly what your transferable skills are if you are looking to go in a slightly different direction. An actuary can also give you a practice technical interview thereby helping further with your preparation and can suggest good sources for background material if required. They are likely to have a number of personal contacts in the industry and therefore will have a good insight into the different employers. In dealing with professional people you can be confident of a discreet and confidential service.
Another option is to call a few agencies up. You should quickly get a good feel for how much knowledge the consultant has, their level of experience and whether they have your best interests at heart.
A key consideration is to not be swayed in your choice of agency by who is advertising a particular role. Often an agency only advertises a small selection of their positions and through their regular employer contacts can quickly find out about a specific job that has caught your eye. So if you like a job advert from one agency but want to deal specifically with another one, it’s worth giving the preferred one a call.
Finally all that’s left to say is Good Luck with your job searching!