How to avoid the frustrations of the recruitment industry: A candidate guide

In the beginning, my response to “Nice to meet you, what do you do?” was greeted either negatively, with air being sucked through teeth or sympathetically with a “oh you’re one of those” head bob but mostly it was negative. “A recruiter? One step above a grave robber, two steps above an estate agent” was the response once! Now my response and defence flow together seamlessly, “I’m a recruiter. Love my job, hate my industry”. This guide should give you an insight into why.
It can be frustrating, daunting and even infuriating dealing with a bad recruiter. Dealing with a recruiter should be informative, supportive and positive. Here’s an insider’s guide to avoiding the frustrations of working with a recruiter and getting the best from the relationship.

“I registered with them and spent ages telling them what I was looking for but they never called me back!”

Why does this happen? You have come across a recruiter who works solely for the client. They have a brief to match and if you don’t fit that brief, that’s the end of the road. I believe this is short sighted on their part. A good recruiter will inform you that you’re not a good match and either thank you for your time or ideally speak to you about other roles or keep in touch in case future suitable roles become available. Recruitment should be about building strong, long term relationships on all sides; recruiter, client and candidate.
The solution: Recruitment is not a one way street. Why wait for them to call? Keep in touch with them; send an email every Monday or give them a call on a Friday. A good recruiter is a busy recruiter. If you keep in touch and build an open, honest relationship you can avoid most if not all of the frustration of the recruiter candidate relationship. Having said this, recruiters don’t look favourably on a daily call. Weekly contact is best to keep up to date and memorable for the right reason!

“I went for an interview and I never received any feedback”. /”I was sent for an interview that I was completely unsuitable for”.

Why does this happen? In short you have a bad recruiter who is not managing the recruitment process closely enough for you. This is a problem for all parties involved. You become frustrated, the client looks bad and the recruiter gives both their client and their candidate a bad service.
The solution: The only way to avoid situations like these is to properly vet your recruiter and ask as many questions as you can about the interview process and the client you are being sent forward to. A good recruiter should have a strong relationship with the clients they represent and at the very least they should have visited the company, ideally have met with the line manager, seen where the team works and have a very clear idea of what will be expected of the new recruit. They should also have a clear picture of what the interview process will look like. Of course things change and feedback is never guaranteed to arrive when expected but your recruiter should have time scheduled to speak with the client to gain feedback on your interview and to offer your feedback to the client.

“They always lie about having suitable vacancies to get people through their door to register”.

Why this happens: Some agencies give their consultants targets for the number of people they have to register in a week. This is to try and ensure that if a vacancy does arise that they can react quickly for their client as they have already registered potential candidates.
The solution: Ask your recruiter for information about the role they are considering you for. If you speak with a recruiter and feel like you can work together well, there is an argument for allowing them to work proactively on your behalf rather than waiting for a job to become available and registering then. However, if you do not want to do this you should question your recruiter thoroughly about the role they are recruiting for, the recruitment process, why they think you would be suitable and why this opportunity is a good fit for you. If they can answer these questions, chances are they are serious about putting you forward for the role.

“I’m not going through an agency! They’ll take part of my salary!”

This is the biggest untruth connected to the industry, aside from the fact we’re all money grabbing ‘so and so’s!’ A recruiter working on a permanent vacancy is, 9 times out of 10 working on a commission calculated as a percentage of your starting salary. This amount comes out of the clients’ recruitment budget not out of your ‘salary pot’. A good recruiter will know and understand the marketplace and should be able to advise clients of the optimum salary bracket to find the balance between an attractive offering and the clients’ payroll budget.

“They make thousands of pounds for doing nothing but pushing CVs around!”

If that were true everyone would be doing it and I would be driving an Aston Martin! Sadly, it is not and I’m stuck with a trusty Ford! The recruiters’ commission is only paid once you begin your role and there’s a whole heap of work that happens before that point, much of which goes unrewarded! Unless a recruiter is successful in fulfilling the clients requirements, they don’t get paid so all their costs for advertising the role, meeting with candidates, their time interviewing, testing and helping you to prepare for your interview all go unrewarded if you are not successful. This is yet another reason why it pays to build trust with your recruiter. A good recruiter should always have yours and the clients’ best interest at heart. Our role is best rewarded when we work for mutual goals and have long term benefits at the heart of what we do. Putting ‘bums on seats’ and worse forcing the wrong person onto the wrong seat may secure immediate financial gain but does little to ensure your clients and candidates come back to you for support.
Like any industry there are good and bad recruiters. Hopefully this guide will help you sort the good from the bad and support you in finding a collaborative recruiter who has both yours and your future employers best interests at heart