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Recruiters – Deserving of their name or misunderstood?

Recruitment is a vast and diverse world full of a range of people competing in a very challenging workplace and more importantly, dealing with people’s careers and futures.

The industry I sit in has developed a notoriety for bad practice, principles and ethics and there is many a candidate/client I have had to confront over their perception of my industry as opposed to their perception of me! So, does the world I work in warrant a bad name or are we just misunderstood as an industry?

Clients’ interests, are recruiters’ interests

A classic phrase I hear from candidates and clients is “we are only out for ourselves” ….

I think the first thing to acknowledge is that yes, there is undoubtedly a personal interest held by your recruiter. We are paid to secure you work. However, who doesn’t have their own interests in a recruitment process? Does my candidate have self interest in wanting the role I am putting them for? Does my client not want the best candidate?

ALL our interests are aligned and are dependent on each other. If one party between client, candidate and recruiter isn’t happy, then nobody is satisfied as each other’s problems are not resolved. We have our own interests, but it is impossible to be just “out for ourselves” we have to satisfy others needs in order to satisfy our own. 

One bad recruiter does not define an entire industry

There are some good and some bad people in our industry but there are in every other industry, including your own. We’ve all worked with some brilliant people and some bad ones whatever walk of life or career path we are on.

A bad accountant doesn’t define all accountants, a bad HR Manager doesn’t define all HR professionals and so the same principle applies Bad recruiters do not define all recruiters.

The key to overcoming this is due diligence. Talk to other people, get recommendations, research online. There will be plenty of evidence that will help you discover some great recruiters and avoid any bad ones out there.  

Value for Money

Many a time I have been questioned over my fee. There is a real belief in some sections that we charge excessive sums and we merely post a job advert and take a quick look around LinkedIn. It is so frustrating as it is honestly so inaccurate.

A decent recruiter that is able to provide a good quality shortlist promptly will have a network of their own and a shared network beyond within a good quality business that will have been built up over the years through quality relationship building, hard work and dedication.

Understanding a market, networking within that market and building long lasting relationships is the only route to success and one that takes a lot of time, effort and investment. The effort and time put in cannot be overlooked and the fee at the end can be the result of groundwork over a substantial period of time and at a large cost.

The Ethics

The ethics of the recruitment industry is often brought into question and believe me, there are some horror stories out there, I heard in my first year in recruitment a candidate tell me to get past their reception and to him, a recruiter claimed that he was from the local hospital and had to speak to X regarding a “family emergency”.

Obviously the above is a horrendous example but again, it is just 1 example in thousands of calls that take place on a daily basis across the UK.

Accountants, Police Officers, Lawyers… Generally, highly respected professions (and quite rightly too) but a quick google search and looking in the right places can quickly show you some unsavoury stories regarding the sector. Would this completely change your viewpoint on a highly regarded sector?

Ethics are huge now across a range of industries, including recruitment, build trust with your recruiter, speak to them openly and honestly and build that trust and you’ll know very quickly you won’t encounter these problems.

Check for Credentials

Just as much as it is easy to find bad stories, you can just as easily find good ones too! Check LinkedIn profiles, search for testimonials, read review websites like Feefo. These are independent, open review sites that encourage open and honest feedback. Take good reviews and bad reviews and compare them, take a collective and objective view and draw your conclusions. Your outlook might just change.


It is difficult to hide from bad experiences. There is a common statistic that a bad client experience will be told on average 9 to 15 people. In other words, positive stories are generally much less likely to be shared.

So, it’s worth being objective and open minded when considering the recruitment industry. Why am I hearing bad stories and no good? Am I looking hard enough to find the truth or barely scratching the surface? There’s usually a much deeper story with any headline you read on anything, no different in the judgement of this sector. 

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