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10 Things We Hate About Recruitment Agencies

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10 things we hate about Recruitment Agencies


Today we’re talking recruitment agencies – and yes, before you say, “but aren’t you a recruitment agency too?”, the answer is YES. But that doesn’t mean we have to like them.

(After all, do you think prison wardens like prison? Exactly.)

Is there any industry that is more pushy, more annoying, and more frustratingly flaky, than the recruitment industry? One minute they’re all over your inbox and clogging up your direct line – the next, you can’t get hold of them for love or money.

The thing is, we all know a great recruiter, and we all know a bad one. Well, we’re not here to judge on ability. Merely to outline a few basic pointers about what we all love to hate about our industry (plus one bonus thing that we actually DO love about recruitment agencies, though you’ll have to wait until the very end for that one).

10 things we hate about recruitment agencies.

  1.  They’re all about quantity rather than quality.

When was the last time you went through a stack of applicants supplied by a recruitment agency and found all of them to be high quality candidates? Never? We thought so.

Far too often, recruitment agencies will send over a ton of CV’s in the hopes that a few will stick – knowing that at least some of them are totally unsuited to the role. Could they be testing you as a client? Maybe, but that certainly isn’t the way WE would go about it as a recruiting partner!

  1.  They don’t take the time to get to know the company.

Why is it that recruitment agencies never seem to really take the time to get to know the company they are hiring for? Nowadays, company culture is as important as the individual role when it comes to recruitment, and so being able to communicate the company’s values, work ethic and style of working is so important in finding the right candidate. By not focussing on that as part of the process, all recruitment agencies are doing is showing a lack of interest in the bigger picture – not something we condone as a company ourselves!

  1.  They don’t research the job they’re recruiting for.

Pretty similar to the last point though a little more specific – is there anything worse than a candidate who turns up for an interview with little to no understanding or knowledge of the job they are interviewing for? You can blame them all you want, but surely, it’s down to the recruitment agency to prepare each candidate for the experience they are about to face…?

  1.  You can never get hold of them when you need to…

The thing about recruitment is, if you don’t snap up the good candidates when they’re available, they’ll quickly find somewhere else to work. What that means is that the recruitment industry is not only cutthroat but also super-fast-paced – and you need to act quickly if you want to get the best of the best on your team. Of course, as soon as you make a decision and choose to make a final call… your recruitment contact stops answering the phone. Typical!

  1.  … and then when you’re busy, they won’t leave you alone!

Whether you’re coming at this from a company or candidate point of view, there is nothing worse than a voicemail and inbox packed full of “Just checking in!” messages from recruitment agencies. The simple fact is, if you don’t have a great candidate for me, or the perfect job opportunity for me, I don’t want to hear from you!

Of course, there is a need for consistent and regular interaction if you hope to match the right company with the right candidate, but this needs to be managed by the agency without completely killing your work relationship.

  1.  The commission.

Need we say more? Unless the agency is working super hard all the time to get the perfect people into the perfect roles, there really is no need for such high commissions.

  1.  They act like they know it all.

This is actually a really interesting one. A lot of recruitment agencies get hate for acting like they know it all, but really, the amount of stress they take away from internal recruitment is huge – particularly if the HR or onboarding team is small or super busy. Does that mean agencies should rub their knowledge in your face? Well, if it means they help you get the right people into the right positions, then yes!

  1.  Pigeon-holing!

This is one for the candidates out there – have you ever applied for one position through a recruitment agency, and spent the next 6 months receiving opportunity after opportunity relating to that exact same job role? It’s almost like recruitment agencies don’t understand the desire for job progression… that is, until they approach you and try to upsell you something new as soon as they run out of other candidates!

For us, there’s nothing worse than treating a candidate like a bad actor who spends their whole life playing the same role. We are all about seeing POTENTIAL rather than focussing on what’s easy.

  1.  They pop up everywhere.

It always amazes us how recruitment agencies manage to swing invitations to events across every industry – whether the hosting company are looking to recruit or not. Who decided that recruitment agencies were the life of the party, and which parties have they been going to (because we’d like an invitation too!)

  1.  Feedback? What feedback?

Our final pet peeve from within the recruitment agency industry is the complete lack of feedback beyond that common phrase “You weren’t quite right on this occasion”. Call us crazy, but we think candidates deserve a little more after all their efforts, than a standard brush off and a “good luck next time!”

And as for that one thing we love…

The Christmas hampers. Recruitment agencies really do get some of the best Christmas hampers in the corporate business.

Perks? What Perks?
Apr 21, 2022

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