Connect with the best recruitment agents in Dubai's top recruitment agencies
There are lots of great Dubai recruitment agents, typically the best recruitment agents in Dubai work for the well established recruitment agencies, and have built a solid reputation for themselves over a many years of recruiting in Dubai.
Unfortunately, there are also Dubai recruitment agents that are not so great. When applying for jobs in Dubai, partnering with one of the top Dubai recruitment agents and working with an established recruitment consultancy is really important.
I use the word ‘partnering’ as an effective relationship between a Dubai recruitment agent and a candidate should function like a partnership. When you understand what to expect from recruitment agents in Dubai, and in turn they are clear on exactly what you are looking for, positive things can happen.
In this article I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about recruitment agents and recruitment companies in Dubai, how you can get in contact with them, and how to make sure you end up working with the best recruitment agents that Dubai has to offer.
It's worth mentioning that if you are interested in recruitment agents in Abu Dhabi, the information contained in this article is still very relevant. Many of the top recruitment agencies in Dubai are also the same recruitment agencies that operate in Abu Dhabi.
What is a Dubai recruitment agent?
Before we delve into how you can find and contact Dubai recruitment agents, it's important to understand exactly what a Dubai recruitment agent actually does, and how they work. Generally, there are two types of recruiters in Dubai – in-house and agency, let's understand the differences between them and how they work.
1. In-house Dubai recruitment agents
In-house Dubai recruitment agents are employed by a particular company, for example P&G or Amazon. This recruiter will be hiring directly for the company they work for (hence in-house) and will typically work on many different types of roles from finance roles to supply chain and everything in between. An in-house Dubai recruitment agent will usually source roles by advertising positions and evaluating applications.
2. Dubai recruitment agency recruiters
The recruitment agents in Dubai who work for recruitment consultancies are typically referred to as agency recruiters. These Dubai recruitment agents work with many organisations and act as an outsourced recruitment function. An agency recruiter will usually specialise and only recruit in one particular area, for instance, finance or sales or legal recruitment in Dubai.
Sometimes Dubai agency recruiters will be paid an upfront fee to work on a role, in which case they will be the only recruitment firm recruiting that position. This is called 'retained' work. However, most often Dubai recruitment agents are only paid once the company has successfully hired a candidate.
Oftentimes, multiple recruitment agents and recruitment agencies will all be competing to find the best candidate. Typically a Dubai recruitment agency will be paid a fee equivalent to 15 - 25% of the hired candidate's year 1 annual salary.
The individual recruitment agent will then be awarded a percentage of this fee as commission, on top of their monthly salary. Most recruitment agents in Dubai are therefore very motivated to represent the best candidates for roles and to secure the highest salaries possible.
In short, Dubai recruitment agents need to be sales people, and this is something that you should bear in mind. Every Dubai recruitment agent will first have to sell their service to hiring companies and agree terms of business. The same recruitment agent will then need to ensure candidates are happy to work with them, and they will also be ‘selling’ career opportunities to candidates.
Good Dubai recruitment agents will then work to market their candidates to the hiring company and will be very incentivised to ensure their candidate is selected and that an offer is accepted – remember they won’t get paid for any of their work unless a candidate starts in a position and remains there for a a minimum period of time.
In this article, our focus is on how to work with agency recruiters in Dubai. They have access to roles across the market and a macro view of hiring trends, and this means they can be a very valuable resource in helping you land a role.
What should you look for in a Dubai recruitment agent
It's important to work with the best Dubai recruitment agents and recruitment consultancies that you possibly can, and there are four criteria that makes a Dubai recruiter a'good' recruiter. Let's talk about what you should look for.
1. Find a Dubai recruitment agent who specialises in your function or industry
Most recruitment agencies in Dubai will recruit within multiple areas, however, you should only work with the recruitment agencies that have at least one recruitment agent in Dubai that is focussed on your industry and understands your role.
One of the great benefits of working with a Dubai recruiter is the wealth of knowledge and understanding that they can provide you with. A Dubai recruiter that understands your industry can be a source of invaluable advice, they can answer your questions and they help you find jobs in Dubai that are truly right for you.
A Dubai recruiter who understands your industry can also be honest with you and give you an accurate assessment of your CV, your skills, experience and the likelihood that you will find the role you want, at the salary you desire.
Dubai recruiters typically specialise based on role function (Accounting, HR, Legal etc.), however, there are also recruiters in Dubai who specialise by industry i.e. FMCG, hospitality, healthcare or financial services.
Use my directory of 20 top recruitment agencies in Dubai to identify which ones directly specialise in your industry, you can download your copy below.
2. Find a Dubai recruitment agent that recruits roles at your seniority level
Typically, recruitment firms and recruitment agents in Dubai will have their own ‘sweet spot’ for the seniority of roles they work on and generally firms will fall into one of three categories:
1. Manpower/blue-collar recruitment in Dubai:
These are high-volume, quick turnaround roles that generally pay less than AED10,000 per month. These Dubai recruitment agents may have less time to meet with you and the best approach is usual within the first couple of days to any roles they have advertised. Examples include; Charterhouse and Manpower.
2. Professional recruitment in Dubai: These are more specialised roles and agencies that work on these positions will often focus on the types of positions that hiring companies struggle to fill. Dubai recruitment agents who work for these agencies will typically be looking for candidates with specialised qualifications and experience for the roles they are hiring for. Examples include; Robert Walters, Michael Page and Robert Half. You’ll find roles advertised on their websites and on LinkedIn.
• Executive recruitment agencies in Dubai: These firms work on high-profile, executive-level positions and the recruitment agents that work for them will often headhunt roles or source candidates through their network. Examples include; Egon Zehnder, Korn Ferry and Heidrick & Struggles. These roles may be advertised in specialist publications or headhunted.
3. A Dubai recruitment agent who is well established in the region
The best recruitment agents and recruitment agencies in Dubai are usually the ones that have been around for a while and have a track record of success.
These recruitment companies and recruitment agents are much more likely to have a large client base (companies that they have developed long-term and trusted relationships with) and they will likely have more open doors into organisations and will be working on more vacancies.
A Dubai recruitment agent that has not had the time to develop these partnerships will likely struggle to represent you for good opportunities. If you are speaking to a recruitment agent that's new to Dubai and who is promising to represent you to lots of great companies, be wary.
These recruitment agents may not actually have relationships with these organisations and may be sending your CV as a form of bait to get the attention of organisations. This can backfire on you as a candidate and in such instances, you may be better off applying directly to the hiring organisation.
4. Find a Dubai recruitment agent who is willing to meet with you
You may find that there are quite a few recruitment agents in Dubai that meet the above criteria, however only 2-3 may be open to meeting you.
My advice would be to work with the recruiters that have taken the time to meet you face-to-face, over a video call, or at the very least take the time to have an in-depth telephone conversation with you.
A Dubai recruitment agent can only represent you well if they truly understand your background, experience, skill-set and expectations. If you don’t feel that they have a good grasp of these things, it is unlikely that they will successfully place you into a role and you may just waste your time.
As mentioned above, this may not be standard practice for more junior or less specialised roles.
I recommend partnering with no more than two Dubai recruitment agents at a time. In Dubai you will find that the same role is often being worked on by multiple recruiters. You want to avoid your CV being sent for the same role by multiple agents, this is more likely to happen if lots of companies are representing you.
If a Dubai recruiter knows that you are working exclusively with them, and maybe one other, they are much more likely to build a relationship with you and put more effort into representing you well.
Four ways to successfully contact Dubai recruiters
The most effective way of connecting with and working with a Dubai recruitment agent is to reach out to them directly. This means you're ideally going to get hold of their email addresses or telephone numbers. Let's explore the most effective way of reaching out.
You can be absolutely certain that every Dubai recruiter uses LinkedIn, and will be active on the platform on an almost daily basis. Using LinkedIn to connect with Dubai recruiters is a great strategy and this is how you should do it;
• Send a connection request. Keep in mind that Dubai recruiters receive constant connection requests. If you want your connection request to stand out, you need to personalise it and give the recruiter a reason to accept it. Before you just hit connect, make sure you craft a personal message, use the recruiter’s name and make sure you spell it correctly. Making a good first impression is very important.
• Send a message. Once you’re connected send another, more specific, message that tells the recruiter a little about yourself, why you think it would be mutually beneficial to chat and finish off with a call to action, such as ‘let’s meet for a coffee’ or ‘when would be a good time for us to connect?’
• Use InMails. The above process can take some time as you have to wait until the Dubai recruiter accepts your connection request, however, you can bypass these steps by using LinkedIn InMails. InMails are a great tool because they allow you to directly message someone even if you’re not connected. You can find more information about using LinkedIn InMails here.
Once you have identified a handful of recruiters that you need to make contact with, InMails will bypass having to wait for them to accept your connection request. Another benefit is that InMails allow you to craft a longer message that contains more detail. I think that InMails also demonstrate a level of seriousness in your approach.