View Full Version : The Trouble with Tribles (recruitment agencies)

14th Apr '10, 11:32
Is it me, or is there something very wrong with Recruitment Agencies?

I'm old, now, but I remember a time when if you contacted an agency about a job you found in some paper publication, you'd get a reply. If not positive at least a letter (paper) telling you that your application was not successful. If an agency called you (on a land line phone - no mobiles back then) they'd get some details from you and if they felt you met the criteria, they'd submit you and actually would call, or write (landline, or paper) telling you the out come. Positive or negative.

Today we have computerization, e-mail, the Internet, fax (still), and MOBILE PHONES!

But when you respond to an ad posted on the Internet your lucky if you'd get an automated response! The majority of recruitment agencies (from my estimates, based on my experience in the last several years) don't bother to respond, reply or anything, when sending off your cv in response to a job advert you feel you would like to be considered for.

Even when they do eventually contact you, if ever, you usually don't hear back! For an example, I've had my cv sent to four companies through this one agency. Two, contract jobs, resulted in interviews. One other for a contract job, and another for a permanent job. This was over 5 weeks ago and so far I've heard nothing on any of these jobs from the agents. Not even from the contract jobs I interviewed for over 4 weeks ago!!!

I wrote and called only to be told that they have not heard anything, yet. That was over two weeks ago and I've given up ever since.

Excuses given when I asked why they don't respond? To many responses to their posting. OK, then what about those times when my cv has been submitted to an employer? Why have I not received even the typical 'not successful on this occasion...'?' Nothing!

I received several e-mails from this one agent alerting me about jobs over the last several months. In two occasions I replied expressing my interest and why I felt I fit the job requirements. I heard nothing from this person. I received another alert from this person about a week ago and rather than just dump the e-mail I replied asking to have my name removed from their database and expressing the reason why. Just yesterday I received another alert, but this time I replied with an angry message telling the agent to remove my name from their database. Boy, did I get a reply this time, and the agent was asking why? I can only guess that she never ever bothered to read any of my previous reply e-mails.

In my humble opinion today's recruitment agencies are utterly CRAP! Unfortunately they're the only major avenue one has in getting jobs, since most employers rarely, if ever, advertise jobs through their HR departments. And, when you're looking for a contract job, well, you know.

It seems to me that things have not really improved with these recruitment agencies with the introduction of our fancy high tech gagets and devices. If fact I'm apt to believe they've gotten worse! For that matter it seems to me, as well, that these agencies hire poeple with no experience in the industries they are to recruit for (I get e-mails for RF, or Hardware engineers. I even get e-mails for Delphi programmers - I'm a mechanical design engineer!!! Can't they read? Oh, Delphi is the name of one of the companies I worked for. So much for using high tech to make ones job easier, heh?)

Actually, computers, and their fancy software, has made many people just plain lazy.

I think I can write a book on this subject, with lots, and lots of examples.

What do you think? Got any interesting experiences?


14th Apr '10, 15:08
Similar experience here, but I have to say that there are good agencies and bad agencies - I found that it helps if you can get some sort of (professional) relationship going with an agent.

Through hundreds of applications, over the last few years, I have come to expect that I probably won't get a response, but given the quantity of potential applicants to any particular job advertised on Jobsite or Monster (UK job boards), I wouldn't relish the task of sending out 300 rejection e-mails.

One specific example did get my goat however - was approached by an agency for a job in Central London, which I jumped at the chance for - I went to their office and met the recruitment agent, and they provided very good communication -checking up 24 hours in advance of the interview to make sure I was all set. I got through that interview and was offered a 2nd round which involved carrying out a design project for the company. Which I dutifully did and spent an awful lot of time and sleepless nights on. The interview was postponed 3 times for various reasons over Christmas, until the big day came - again, the pre interview phone call came with a little pep talk. I did the interview, it seemed to go well, and then...... .... ..... Silence...

E-mails went unanswered, phone calls not returned. To this day, I still have not been formally rejected for the job. But being April, I'll take it as a 'No'.

How many people get through to a final round interview? 5? 6? Surely itís not going to take forever to say "sorry - not this time". Just found it a bit rude to be honest.

Incidentally - I was under the impression that if you get interviewed, the company has to find a reason to not hire you - even if it's just "he wasn't as good as her", and that this information should be passed on to the candidate?

.... More than I was planning to write, but better out than in!!

15th Apr '10, 13:54
We have the same problem here in the states. I can't tell if it's the influx of young, inexperienced recruiters or if the customer service paradigm that has existed for years has all but vanished. The same story applies for the corprate Human Resources departments. I can appreciate that their desks become inundated with the vast amounts of reumes/cv's sent in for each job opening, but it isn't really that much work to send out bulk emails to the non-qualifiers. I don't understand why it has suddenly become acceptable to choose not to respond at all. It's as if we aren't worthy of a response. Heck, at this point, I would just like to know if my resume actually made it into their inbox. Is that really too much to ask????

15th Apr '10, 16:27
If I may chime in. I found that although technology can be our friend, its can be a hindrance. Years back just getting a resume to a company was either by mail or by fax, followed up by a mailing. This coupled with at times a better economy, paired down the qty of resumes that went across HR's desk.

Now you have a poor economy where resumes are flying in at the speed of light, (speed of sound was soo last menenium) that the HR department is simply overwhelmed. And adding another resource to handle that simply isnt on the books in most cases.

When looking for work, and who isnt these days, I have a standard routine. Call first, speak to someone in HR, get names and make an impression. Send the resume & cover letter (email), request confirmation. Follow up with snail mail copies, on quality stock. Follow up with a phone call a week later, again make an impression. Dont give up. Dont email in place of a voice call, anyone can make themselves sound great in an email. Confidence can only be transmitted through your voice. This WILL set you apart from the other candidates.

What if the employer says no calls, email preferred!!!! OMG RUN! Seriously... run, run to the company, request to speak with HR briefly, just an introduction and to hand your resume and cover letter to them personally. This gives me a better perspective on the front line faces of the company I want to work for.

I will follow up with dead heads 3-6 and 9 months on companies that interest me. If for nothing just to keep the contact list fresh.

15th Apr '10, 22:30
Great thread! It's good to have a rant, and recruitment agents certainly have many infuriating qualities (not as bad as estate agents, but that's a different story :D ).

In my experience there are plenty of FANTASTIC recruitment agents. I've been lucky over the years because I have dealt with some who've been extremely helpful and knowlegeable, and have managed to get me some great opportunities.

On the other hand, there are the vast majority who are useless/annoying. Here are some of my pet irritations over the years:

1) The ones who endlessly try to offer you a job in Scotland as an RF Engineer, with a fantastic salary of less money than you're actually earning at the moment.

2) The ones who ring you on your desk-phone when you're at work (they blag their way through the receptionist to get hold of you). If you ARE actually seeking work, how on earth do they expect you to talk when your boss is sitting one desk away?

4) The ones who have your CV from 5 years ago, and you can't get rid of them. They keep emailing and texting despite your efforts to get them to stop.

3) I once had a fantastic interview with a company who seemed incredulous at my skills. When I later spoke to the agent it dawned on me that that they had made a mistake and put me in for a junior position with a salary of £10K less than my minimum requirement.

4) The ones who offer you fantastic possibilities and vanish - never to be heard from again

5) The ones who you never hear from after an interview. I once made it through to a 2nd interview with a company a few years ago, where I gave a presentation I spent hours preparing. Never heard from the agent again! So annoying.

6) The ones who won't tell you enough detail about a job and you end having 3 different agents putting your CV forward for the same job.

The list could go on...

16th Apr '10, 13:44
Can I just mention that there are a few recruiters who are members of this site (click on the legend at the bottom of the index page to see who they are).

They are welcome here, but to prevent them being a nuisance to other members I have restricted their permissions: They can only post within the "Jobs" forum or "The Leisure Lounge" (off-topic forum). They are also unable to send PMs to members via this board. You can PM them, but they can't PM back, so be sure to include your email address/contact details should you require a response!

16th Apr '10, 14:16
Can I also add that all the recruiters reading this are obviously not the bad ones that we've been whingeing about, and are in fact jolly nice and highly professional people. Pleaseandthankyou! :roll:

16th Apr '10, 15:39
I will also add that I have worked with 2 very good recruiters in the past and plan to continue my relationship with them as long as possible. These gentlemen put customer service at a premium, put in the effort to understand your capabilities, and have a firm grasp of what type of company/environment your are seeking. It may just be that these guys are a bit older and have a wealth of experience, or perhaps it is because they are cut from a different cloth. I don't know the answer, but I do know that good ones aren't easy to find so keep those relationships healthy.

16th Apr '10, 16:00
What about a tried and tested recruiters thread!?

1st May '10, 22:07
Just thought I should add....
After many years of frustration and pointless interviews with agents I gave up on them and did what mvalenti does - call the companies on spec. Got several interviews this way (one or two with big internationals!). I would think with the advent of LinkedIn etc that this process becomes easier - maybe?

Look at it this way - it saves you the hassle and the company the expense of dealing with agents. Win-win I think. Mind you I do understand that ID is a different market to Mech Eng.

PS Got two of my jobs through magazine ads - ie not an agent, more luck really ...
PPS Now, as an employer I do not use an agent. :-)

4th May '10, 16:01
I am on LinkedIn, and the job section was useful for pointing me in the direction of a few agencies and job adverts, but all were ultimately fruitless.

I keep my profile up-to-date only as I think it's something I think one should do in this day an age, but as yet, I'm struggling to find a use for it. That said - i assume it's one of those things that the more you use it and put the networking effort in, the more you get out!

Oh and one more thing - about automated e-mails from job boards rather than agencies:

I am a Product Design Engineer; I have a degree in Industrial Design and a Masters in Design Engineering, and work as a Product Designer. I am not therefore interested in the barrage of adverts and opportunities for Graphic Designers, Electrical Engineers, System Design, or Railway Engineering!!

8th May '10, 23:59
You didn't mention Interior design, POS or automotive ;-)

13th May '10, 11:50
Just this minute had a e-mail from an agency who shall remain (**) nameless for the following position:

** Salon based in ***********, **************** is looking to recruit a new Part time Beautician to help cope with their rapidly growing business and Clientele list.

13th May '10, 14:11
Part time Beautician
That's a good one. Is that what they're calling industrial designers these days? :D