Last week I was asked to provide a soundbite for a press release about a recent survey by  looking at views on recruitment agencies. The survey showed some very negative views despite some very positive experiences! It has come at an opportune time, as I also recently commented on a website devoted to the same topic ( ). So why are recruitment companies suddenly getting a bit of a bashing?

 As with any service provider, some recruitment agencies will be better than others – some will charge a fortune for faxing over the CV of their next-door-neighbour’s cousin’s dog; others will take time & effort to provide a ‘best fit’ selection of CVs of candidates they have seen, interviewed, tested etc.

There are always 2 sides though. I have several recruitment contacts, and the main problem for many is unrealistic expectations from clients, as well as clients who are happy to cause as much difficulty as possible for their consultant. To get the most out of your recruitment company (RC), don’t make life any more difficult for them that it needs to be. This means:

– Being absolutely clear on what you want, explaining it properly and not changing your mind as often as your socks

– Not procrastinating on decisions regarding shortlists, interviews etc. – the RC will invariably be on the receiving end of candidates’ frustration at waiting for an outcome, and will hassle you in turn. None of which is conducive to a good working relationship (especially if you blame the RC when the candidate you finally choose has been snapped up elsewhere).

– Remembering that RCs have other clients, other vacancies and other priorities to work on, so they need a reasonable deadline for getting CVs across to you or for arranging interviews etc.

– Being aware that there is more involved than just sending a fax/email with a CV attached – like scouring databases, advertising for suitable candidates, screening them etc. All of which takes time & effort if you want a decent service (so see point above about reasonable deadlines). Also, this means understanding that this is what you pay for – so to haggle over the price like it was a car boot sale is often counter-productive, and may mean it’s not worth the RC’s time to do the job for the amount you’re prepared to pay!

Simple professional courtesy really, but so often forgotten! The best advice is to pick your faves (the ones that give you the best candidates, not the ones that give you the best freebies), and work at building a strategic, mutually beneficial business partnership with them. The bottom line is, recruitment consultants are people too, so be nice and they will be nice back!

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