Finding a new job can be a daunting experience, and for some of us, it’s hard to know where to start. Some people apply to companies directly, some people apply to adverts on job boards, and then there are people who use the expert knowledge and efficiency of a recruitment agency to help them find a job.
However, having worked in recruitment for over 15 years, I have heard all kinds of horror stories from both clients and candidates about their experiences of working with recruitment agencies. Here are just a few of the top complaints from candidates:
- Bad communication.
- Advertising roles that no longer exist.
- Registration forms that are longer than the River Nile.
- No feedback after interviews.
- References used by agencies for sales purposes.
- Constantly contacted about irrelevant jobs.
I can’t exactly blame the candidates, who may have had bad experiences in the past, for approaching recruiters with a miniature crucifix and a bulb of garlic.
But the recruitment industry is just like any other industry out there; you get “your good & your bad (and the ugly)”, and the trick to making sure you choose a good agency is to do a little homework:
- Check the agency’s website for the types of industries and companies they deal with.
- Check what awards they have received and testimonials they have.
- Check out their current vacancies and see if their adverts are up to date and engaging.
Once you have followed these steps and chosen your preferred agency, you should move forward knowing that working with any agency is a two-way relationship. You’ll benefit hugely from being open and honest with the agent from the get-go, building up a trust and a rapport that will cause the agent to work extra hard, just for you.
Sometimes candidates do things that make it really difficult for recruiters to work with them, here are some of our top candidate no-no’s:
- ‘Bending the truth’… (i.e. false start dates, reasons for leaving etc.)
- Being late or not showing up for interviews/trials
- Pulling out of an interview/trial at the 11th hour
- Unrealistic expectations; for example, a commis chef wanting to be the next Gordon Ramsey and expecting the salary to go with it!
- Applying for jobs for which they have zero experience… Why?!
- Ignoring the dress code and turning up to interviews/trials unpresentable
When it comes to clients, I know that when some clients hear the word “Recruitment Agency” they want to run for cover; everyone has their favourite gripe and here are some of the top ones:
- High fees.
- Cold calling and persistent nagging.
- Submitting inappropriate candidates.
- Unfair rebate terms.
- Lack of understanding of the client’s business.
- Candidates not showing up for interviews/trials.
Granted, the recruitment industry is full of agencies that are cutting corners and using bad practices, not giving their clients and candidates the service that they deserve. Which means choosing the right one is incredibly important.
However, in order to get a good service from even the best agency, the client also has a key role to play. Here are some of the difficulties agencies face when dealing with ‘tricky’ clients:
- Can never get hold of the relevant hiring manager to discuss the role in full so that we are able to properly understand what they what they are looking for.
- Unrealistic expectations, i.e. wanting to hire staff on uncompetitive salaries and expecting the world in return.
- The speed at which feedback on CVs and interviews is provided - particularly in industries where good candidates are scarce. You’ll simply miss out if you take too long!
- Late payments (as with any business, small agencies rely on invoices being paid on time for services that have been provided.)
So as you can see, there are not only good and bad agencies, but also good and bad clients and candidates. Every side has their part to play in order to make the recruitment process as smooth, painless and rewarding as possible.
At the end of the day, the agency is trying to help solve a problem for both the client and the candidate - work with us and we’ll work with you!