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In a recent survey by CV-Library, Recruiters were voted the 8th least trusted professionals appearing alongside the likes of Politicians, Journalists and Paparazzi! But what is it that recruiters are doing that people find so unpalatable? And with one in every 67 limited companies registered in the UK being a recruitment company, why is it still such an attractive industry to start a business in? Well in this video I’ll share with you 5 tricks unscrupulous recruiters employ that are leaving people less than enamoured with them, and explain to you how they enable them to make easy money, making it such a popular industry to join.
Whether it's sending unsolicited CV’s, pushy sales calls, candidate ghosting or promising the earth and delivering a lemon, nearly everyone can recall a bad recruiter experience, but considering how pivotal their role is in what can be expensive or even life changing decisions, how have we ended up in a situation where practices are often woeful, and Recruiters are so commonly despised? Well having been in the industry for over a decade working for, and encountering many different recruitment agencies (a few good one’s but a lot of bad ones!), I’m going to let you into a few tricks of the trade that unscrupulous recruiters use to gain your trust… and take your money. And I’ll also show you how you may inadvertently be rewarding the very behaviour that you despise. Then if you stick around to the end of the video, I’ll talk you through techniques you can use to decipher between the recruiters that are after a quick buck, and those that are serious about helping you with your job vacancies.
Think about it; if you contact a couple of recruiters and one says you have unrealistic expectations for your job opening, and one says they can definitely get you whatever you want (even when they can’t)… which will you try out first? Now what this little trick does for the recruiter is that they get the first crack of the whip and in cost-focused, profit-led recruitment, this is everything, because they’re focused on the low hanging fruit. It doesn’t matter if they only fill one in three roles and they’re working at sub 15% fees… if they can get a head start on their competition, focus on active candidates, and get the job turned round in 2 days, their figures stack up and they can still turn a decent profit. Now this means you may pick up the odd quick win yourself, but more often than not you’ll have to go back into the market and foot the associated costs of this. And that’s because if your job opportunity goes back into the market again, sometimes multiple times, with different recruitment agencies, not only will it take you a lot longer to fill your roles hitting you with the ‘opportunity cost’ of having your positions vacant, but also candidates will get contacted over and over again and start wondering why you can’t fill your role. This has a huge impact on your ability to attract talent to your business. There’s only one person who benefits from this style of recruitment, and it’s those picking up comparatively large fees for very little work…. not you!
“But I only pay 12% fees and I get a great service!” Of course YOU do, because you’re the one who is paying the fees. But that’s not where the trade-offs are made, and it’s what is being hidden from you on the candidate side of things that you should be concerned about! Let’s put it this way; cost-focused, profit-led recruitment has it’s eyes entirely on the prize, and once candidates are no longer contributing to the chance of making a fee, they’ll be cast aside. Whether it’s lack of feedback or just outright ghosting, once applicants have no chance of making these types of recruiters any money, they’re quite literally dropped. This means that candidates are suffering so you don’t have to, but this can be hugely detrimental to your long-term ability to attract talent. Cost-focused recruiters are happy, they earn a fee with minimal work, you’re happy because you get a decent service, but unsuccessful candidates are left thoroughly let-down by the experience they’ve had with you and in the hyperconnected job space, this could be destroying your employer brand. For your business, out of sight unfortunately doesn’t mean out of mind, and if you check the IBM report in the link in the comments of this Youtube video, the impacts of a poor candidate journey are far-reaching! Cheap recruiters aren’t just detrimental to your future access to talent, but can also be costing you sales!
Now technically this might be true, but the term ‘network’ is vastly overstated in cost-focused, profit-led recruitment. Ultimately, anyone who wants to can access a huge network of candidates. 12 million CVs on Reed, 21 million profiles on Totaljobs, 760 million users on LinkedIn, the list goes on; but a network is only as valuable as the people who are prepared to listen to you. And trust me, candidates are bombarded on a daily basis with job opportunities, particularly the ones who are in high demand, so the vast majority of approaches they get go straight in the bin. Just think how you deal with unsolicited messages? Now maybe they’re referring to their internal databases? But the same applies; these candidates appear on thousands of databases due to the fact that anyone can use multiple sources to farm CV’s… how else do you think candidates get approached over and over again for the same position? But to get candidates to listen to an opportunity you need credibility and it doesn’t take long for the cost-focused approach to lose that! Consider my last point and you’ll appreciate why candidates may stop picking up the phone after what they’ve previously experienced.
Now like I mentioned in my first point, there’s a huge race in cost-focused, profit-led recruitment to get candidates over to clients as quickly as possible to try and claim ‘ownership’, and what this means is that often agencies won’t wait till they’ve spoken to a candidate before they fire a CV over for a job. The problem for businesses is that candidates don’t respond particularly well to being caught in a tug-of-war bunfight. Now that’s assuming they even know they’ve been offered-up for an opportunity in the first place. Often old versions of CV’s can be sent to avoid the danger of another recruiter getting in first, but this means you may get an outdated version. Businesses may actually be discarding candidates who could be good for the position due to a lack of relevant information. But that’s not the biggest problem; sharing CV’s without a candidate’s knowledge is an offence, and if clients read them, share them or just hold onto them, they’re complicit in the processing of this data and no amount of pleading ignorance is going to work as a defence. Cost-focused recruiters are a GDPR ticking timebomb and the ICO are desperate for someone to make a scapegoat; so accepting unsolicited CV’s from cost-focused recruiters leaves you wide open. If you want more details just check out the link in the notes of this YouTube video and you’ll see I highlighted this problem 2 years ago!
Like I mentioned, cost-focused, profit-led recruitment is about the short-term wins and most of these tricks of the trade are geared towards maximising these gains. That means saying whatever it takes to get candidates in front of clients, then continuing along that vein to do whatever they can to make a placement stick. Whether it’s inflating the salary package, sexing up the opportunity, brushing over challenges or overstating opportunities; transparency is an alien concept to cost-focused, profit-led recruiters which is probably one of the main reasons that they’ve featured on the list of least trusted professionals. The motto of a cost-focused recruiter is very much; ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’, but that can end up wasting a lot of time for candidates and clients alike, and even worse, can result in placements that don’t last. When you’re dealing with people, emotions, ambitions, cultures and all of the other intricacies of professional relationships, there are no quick fixes and no short cuts! Anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted, and judging by the poll at the start of this video, they aren’t. So if you don’t trust recruiters, don’t try and minimise your risk by aiming for low-cost recruitment as this is just playing into their hands and making the problem worse. Find a different way of working that focuses on long-term relationships, not short-term sales.
So that’s my list of tricks you need to be wary of. It’s by no means an exhaustive list because I’d be here all day if you wanted that. But how do you spot which recruiters to avoid? Well like many things in life; if it sounds too good to be true… it generally is. These businesses aren’t being bankrolled by a wealthy philanthropist who gets his kicks from filling jobs; like everything, you get what you pay for, so if someone’s offering low fees, they’re likely using tricks of the trade to make it viable or cutting costs somewhere else. What YOU need to be conscious of, is that when corners are being cut, they can have huge cost implications further down the line.
The key to spotting the difference between a good recruiter, and a cost-focused profit-led recruiter who’s just trying it on by inflating their price, is DETAIL! Detail is the enemy of the cost-focused recruiter because it’s time consuming, and time is money! If your recruiter is interested in little more than the job title, salary package, and getting a job description off you… there’s a big clue that they’re not really interested in the detail, they just want to get your opportunity out to the masses as quickly as possible. It should take a good hour to get sufficient detail into your opportunity/team/challenges and what good looks like in your organisation. Because in the absence of detail and a quality approach, you’re relying on your job title and salary package to attract talent, which is not just ineffective in the short term, but attracts people to your business for all the wrong reasons. So again, you might save a few quid on an agency fee, but the cost implications can be huge later down the line. So the trick I suggest you use to spot a good recruiter is, monitor how much detail they want from you, because if it’s minimal, they’re likely in it for a quick fee.
That’s it for now, but if you’d like more information about how to avoid the pitfalls of cost-focused profit-led recruitment or would like some more insight into how a quality-driven approach can give you a competitive edge in talent attraction, don’t hesitate in getting in touch.
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Looking for your next career move?
Searching for market leading talent?