Why Do People Hate Recruitment Agencies?

There’s no denying that recruitment agencies get some pretty bad press at times, and there’s also no denying that unfortunately, some of it is entirely deserved.

There are still some recruiters who play a dirty game and give us all a bad name, and some of us practice hard-sales recruitment practices that don’t help our public image either.  

Anyone working this market will know how crazy it is at the moment, so we really can’t afford to keep up this negative image. We need our candidates and clients to trust us and enjoy working with us if we want to futureproof our industry.

So here are a few reasons people think recruitment agencies suck and what we as an industry can do to shake this bad reputation off once and for all.

"Recruitment agencies just hurl CVs at you until one happens to be good”

A recruiter getting kicked in the bum. Why people think this:

A lot of people think recruiters just spam clients with irrelevant CVs because unfortunately, this is what a lot of recruiters do!

Most of the time, clients can easily find these candidates themselves, so it’s understandable they think recruiters don’t provide any value for money. This type of ‘service’ doesn’t have any value at all.

What you can do about it:

Never be tempted to hedge your bets and send your client loads of CVs in the hope that one will stick. This will just damage your reputation as a recruiter and your agency’s reputation too.

Only send across profiles that actually meet your client’s needs, even if that means you only send them one CV. This way, you’ll see your CV-send-to-placement ratio increase and show your client you’ve really listened to their needs.

Speccing CVs to prospects you're trying to win business from is still essential in today’s candidate-driven market, but you need to do your research first and only spec in relevant candidates that will actually pique your prospect’s interest.

“They don’t know anything about the jobs they’re recruiting for”

Why people think this:

All too often, when consultants take on a new role, they won’t gather enough information about the job so they can’t identify the candidate the client is looking for. It’s no wonder recruiters who do this don’t make placements as they’re guaranteed to send over profiles that don’t fit the business’s needs.

What you can do about it:

One of the most important skills to learn in recruitment is how to take a detailed job description from your client and ask all the right questions.

Early on in my recruitment career, I was taught to ask clients this question:

“Can you take me through a day in the candidate’s job role?”

This will tell you what a candidate needs to do on a daily basis so you can fully understand the requirements of the job, not just the generic info given to you on a job spec.

Don’t be afraid to manage your client’s expectations and tell them if you think their dream candidate will be tough to find – this will show them that you actually understand the job brief.

“They say they’ll call back, but they never do!”

things we never thought wed miss about recruitmentWhy people think this:

Recruitment is a fast-paced industry, so it’s inevitable that recruiters will concentrate on the candidates they think will convert into placements. But adopting this tunnel vision makes it easy to forget your obligation to the candidates who don’t get placed this time round.

Ignoring rejected candidates isn’t just bad practice, it’s also counter-productive to making placements. You’ve already built a relationship with this candidate and they could be perfect for the next job you have on. Do you think they’ll be interested in speaking to you next time round if you don’t return their calls?

What you can do about it:

You might think the answer to this is obvious: Always call a candidate back when you said you would - but there’s more to it than this.

Managing your candidate’s expectations from the start is key to overcoming this problem – if you’re not going to call them for a while, just tell them that. They’ll appreciate your honesty and it’s important that candidates learn to value your time too.

If you know you’re not going to be able to place a candidate, be honest with them and point them in a direction of somebody who can.

The candidate you didn’t call back today could be a future candidate, so face these uncomfortable conversations now – you could benefit from them down the line.

“Recruiters take a fat commission check for doing a bit of admin work”

Why people think this:

Agency recruitment is one of the toughest jobs out there, so the idea that we expect a huge pay-out for doing nothing is ridiculous.

The problem is that the job is so fast-paced that we don’t have the time to show our clients all the work that goes into filling our roles. If our clients only ever see the results and never the effort we put in to getting there, it’s no surprise they think we’re overcharging them for our services.  

What you can do about it:

If your client could fill the jobs that you’re recruiting for them, they wouldn’t be asking for your help in the first place. So remind them that you are an expert in your niche by finding them candidates that no one else can.

Show them the data on how many candidates you reached out to, interviewed and vetted before you sent over your shortlist. Your CRM should make it easy for you to pull all of this data into a report, so it’s an effective way to show your client how much work you put in, without taking up loads of your precious time.  

Recruitment is a busy job, so it's easy to cut corners and fall into bad habits that can land you with a bad reputation. But it's not too late to switch those bad habits for good ones. This eBook will teach you nine habits to become a more effective (and well liked!) recruiter. 

Recruitment Habits

Alan McFadden

Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.

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