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Is the recruitment market broken ?

Are some recruitment agencies nothing more than expensive CV forwarding companies ?

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Having used various recruitment agencies recently and having had mixed results with the candidtates supplied, we are becoming more & more concerned by the services provided. Apparently very few checks are made on the candidates suitability, with some agencies not checking exam results or even the eligibility to work in the UK. One agency recently, the only verification work they undertook was to check the candidates passport.

Despite this we are expected to pay extortionate fees within very tight payment terms, which, if not adhered to, results in all offers of a suitable replacement or clawback of fees being withdrawn, even if the candidate turns out to be totally unsuitable (having mislead us at interview), or if they leave of their own accord in the first few weeks.

Surely the whole point of using agencies is for them to weed out the poor candidates & do all of the donkey work for us, otherwise what are we actually paying for; more & more we feel that many are nothing more than expensive CV forwarding agencies who take no responsibility if anything goes wrong, however as the current market is, we have little choice but to use them.

Anyone else having problems ?



Replies (13)

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By lionofludesch
12th Dec 2019 10:28

A friend of the family took a temporary two week assignment in October through an agency.

Still not been paid for it. Nor received form P45.

But HMRC have been told that she has indeed been paid. The pay's included in the brought forward figures of her coding.

I keep telling her to get a solicitor on to it. But she says "Oh, I'll give them a call."

They're getting like estate agents.

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By Justin Bryant
12th Dec 2019 10:39

No sh*t. This is no more news than that the Pope is Catholic etc.

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By tom123
12th Dec 2019 10:47

Have you tried posting adverts directly (for example on, that is mostly what the agencies do anyway.

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By James Green
12th Dec 2019 12:52

Refuse to use agencies.

Been on both sides (employee and employer) and they have always been useless.

Have filled the last 6 jobs at my firm through Indeed.

Before that used Recruitment Genius for about 5 years.

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Replying to James Green:
By Maslins
12th Dec 2019 14:50

James Green wrote:

Refuse to use agencies.

Have filled the last 6 jobs at my firm through Indeed.

These two lines apply to us as well.

Yes we do have to sift through quite a few CVs of people who couldn't be bothered to read the job advert and aren't remotely suitable, but this doesn't take too long.

I'm sure recruitment agents have their place, perhaps being more relevant when looking at senior/management roles. We've always just recruited raw trainees and trained them internally.

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By SteveHa
12th Dec 2019 13:00

As someone searching for a new position, I agree that the recruitment consultants are pretty much just CV forwarders.

I've spoken to 3 since I started looking (and I'm already limited because I'm looking to relocate to S.Wales which seems to have a limited covering of consultants). Up to now that seems to be literally all they've done - send my CV on.

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By penelope pitstop
12th Dec 2019 14:19

Leaches wearing large diamond rings and driving flash cars.

'nuff said!

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By Martin Schneider
12th Dec 2019 14:58

I met a company called OD Talent Solutions (everyone's gotta be a "solution" these days) who were quite open with me about how [***] the industry is. They explained they are trying to change things and work on a retainer basis which means they don't get a signup fee, instead they charge a monthly fee based on the sort of staff you want.

I guess that means there's no incentive for them to send you the first person through the door. Could be worth investigating.

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By paul.benny
12th Dec 2019 15:11

I've had lots of poor experiences with recruitment agencies. Quite a few of those have been down to p*ss poor preparation by the hiring business/manager. Even as a contractor, I've been asked to go to interviews on the basis of two lines of specification.

When hiring, putting effort into the job description and candidate spec. What's this person actually going to be doing? Even if it's pretty much the same as outgoing person, actually write it down in some sort of logical order. And make sure it's realistic and doesn't say liaising with clients when it means making coffee when the come into the office.

Recruiters often elide job description and candidate specification. Candidate spec outlines what skills and experience a candidate should have. Separate what's essential from what's desirable.

Don't forget too, to include something about your business/practice. Often forgotten, recruitment is a two way street. Candidates need information to know whether they might want to come and work for you.

When you present all that to an agency, they're better positioned to give you candidates that are what you want. And you can ask them to explain why every CV they send meets your requirements.

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By Sandycap
13th Dec 2019 11:29

Maybe there should be a job page on this website!

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By john hextall
13th Dec 2019 11:55


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By djn24
13th Dec 2019 14:23

I have found the agencies pretty good when we've used them.

The best candidates do tend to go to the agencies as they have all the contacts.

They are very expensive but I have always argued the fee down to a reasonable level. With so may agencies out there I could just go with them if the fee is too high.

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By RockyDog
17th Jan 2020 16:25

Latest one relates to a CV sent over from an agency for a semi-senior role. The guys current position is a "Director/partner", which when queried with the agency we were told was just a title, he was in effect a semi-senior. However a quick check at Companies House showed he was a Director and Shareholder, surprising saying he is only part qualified ACCA & hence unlikely to have a practising certificate.

When the error was pointed out the agency we were told that "we don’t agree with editing candidates CV as it’s his document and needs to be as true as possible"

What chance have we got as employers when agencies take such a couldn't care less approach ?

Maybe it's time to name & shame the agencies that do no work, take your money & run

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