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Do Recruiters give themselves negative PR?

interviewI am new to working within the recruitment sector but getting here hasn’t been the best experience, and I have to admit that it left me feeling somewhat negative towards recruitment consultancies. However since working at BlueSky I have met a lot of highly professional individuals within the sector, who are already changing my view that maybe recruiters aren’t all bad.

In my job search experience I have come across some great consultants – they have listened and understood exactly what I want, then fixed me up with a good interview. However, the majority I have encountered, in both small and large agencies have been terrible. Without naming names, I have found some consultants to be rude and pushy.  They haven’t read my CV properly and they don’t listen which results in them contacting me about jobs that are of absolutely no interest to me and completely unsuitable. Here are just a few examples:

  • ‘The salary is £10k less than your current wage – I think you should go for it anyway.’
  • ‘The job is in Norwich – I think you’d be great for it – would you relocate from Aylesbury?’
  • ‘The job is for a finance officer, I know you have a degree in marketing and pr, but I’d like to put you forward for it.’

Since leaving university, I’ve never been without a job and I’ve never been desperate enough to take any old position. So  the number of inappropriate opportunities I’ve received along the way has got me quite used to saying ‘no’, which I have found out is not a word accepted by all recruiters. One wanted to put me forward for an interview, ‘an opportunity I’d regret if missed’. The role wasn’t for me so I said no… several times. After speaking to a pushy consultant I was passed onto an even more relentless manager who informed me that if I didn’t go they wouldn’t help me in my search any more. I’ve never spoken to them since!

And it’s not just me – a colleague of mine relayed the sorry tale of a consultant asking her to change her CV so that her skills would fit a position they were trying to fill! The consultant guaranteed the interview, but the fact that my colleague didn’t have the required skills and wouldn’t be able to do the job didn’t even cross their mind!

This is why I get wound up with some recruiters; do they really realise what they are doing or how they are coming across to candidates and clients? In my experience, I can only think of 1 or 2 consultants out of about 10 who were professional and really had my interests at heart.

If I’ve had a bad experience with a recruiter then I will tell others not to use them. I’m sure that goes for a lot of people, including clients. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool, and now with social media you can reach millions!

I know you shouldn’t tar all recruiters with the same brush, and I know there are some good recruiters out there; this is just the view I have gained from my experience over the years.  And having got stuck into reading various recruitment blogs since I have started at BlueSky, it seems I am not on my own.  Andy Headworth in his recent blog post advises recruiters to:  ‘Look back at yourself through the eyes of your candidates’

Wise words indeed!

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3 thoughts on “Do Recruiters give themselves negative PR?”

  1. In my experience, recruiters are a very mixed bunch. I’ve worked with rec cons that spent a million plus a year on advertising and marketing, one man bands who quibbled over every penny but still saw the value in quality advertising and plenty of others in between. I think what has happened is that the web has dumbed down the industry to an extent. Anyone can set themselves up as a recruiter and you can buy packages of job boards for next to nothing so it doesn’t cost a lot to get your name out there. The trouble is, what some recruiters fail to realise is that it’s all well and good getting your name out there, but if your message is misdirected or flawed by typos, bad grammar and a general lack of attraction then it does more damage than good. One only has to look at the standard of much of the job content on the web to see that there is no shortage of culprits.

  2. Hi Tracey,

    Interesting blog post. As someone who works for one of the ‘good guys’ (Stopgap), I can see first hand that there ARE decent recruiters out there. However, many large, corporate agencies (again, naming no names) hire graduates on a poor salary and wave commission in their eyes, which inevitably leads to poor surface and focus on monetary incentive rather than a candidate’s career.

    Word of mouth IS a powerful tool. However, with recruitment, many individuals are not in a luxurious position of choosing between, say, different branded orange juice products. They are after a job and unfortunately, this means that many people will put up with shoddy service if they believe a job is at the end of it.

    However, at Stopgap, we recruit passionate people, pay a flat wage structure (no commission) and truly put our candidates first. We try and make a lot of noise about this – positive PR – but as you say, we are in an industry where the cowboys outnumber the diligent, genuine professionals. As an industry, we do suffer from PR – but like any industry, we also have excellent businesses that do things WELL.

    1. Thank you both for your comments.

      I know there are some good decent recruiters out there, I did meet a few of them during my job search; but it’s a shame they are overshadowed by the bad ones.

      You are right about job descriptions – I have come across many in the past that haven’t painted the whole picture. Candidates may over look a perfect position because it wasn’t communicated well enough.

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