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  • Writer's pictureBondgate Scotland

Choose Your Recruitment Partner with Care!

I’d like to offer this brief insight into how I categorise representatives of recruitment agencies, from the perspective of a buyer of recruitment services and as a candidate seeking or being approached by recruitment agencies about potential new opportunities.

My perspective is based on my dealings with recruitment agencies throughout my 18 years’ experience as a senior HR Director in $Bn multi-national businesses.

These are my views and based on my personal experience. It is a blunt and honest assessment so, here goes!


The Sales Stalker:

This is the representative of the recruitment agency who calls / emails / drops you a message on LinkedIn for no other reason than to find out what you and your business are up to. They are not interested in you or your business, but they are interested in gaining information and generating leads.

The Coffee Catch-Up:

This is the representative of the recruitment agency who contacts you and suggest that it would be great to “catch-up and have a coffee”.

My experience of this coffee-catch up meeting is that they are contrived and no more than a checkbox exercise for the recruitment rep. They ultimately don’t have any real value from the perspective of the prospective candidate or purchaser of recruitment support. Often, you have the “catch up” with the promise that they will keep in touch and will update you when a suitable opportunity comes up – Then, you never see or hear from them again.

The Integrity Vacuum:

This is the worst of all – This person is simply interested in earning the fee. Examples of how the “Integrity Vacuum” operates are noted below:

Buyer Perspective:

They have scanned all media for job postings and, having come across one of yours, they call you and explain that they have a list of qualified candidates ready and waiting to fill the role.

They do not!

What they want to do is get the gig and then trawl their database and put forward candidates on the fly, speculatively and without any proper process to back it up.

Prospective Candidate Perspective:

They contact you to ask if you would be interested in a “fantastic new role” that is not yet on the market. They can tell you the job title, location, and salary range but nothing more because…… (and then they proceed to give a list of reasons – The role is confidential, the hiring manager is still working through a few things, “just give me a few days to track down the hiring manager and I’ll get back to you” etc. etc.)

You have an initial discussion, perhaps ask if they have the role exclusively?

You either never hear from them again or they tell you that there has been a change in plan, the business has decided to put the role on hold, etc. etc.

Why is that you think to yourself?

Because they did not have a role in the first place!

You are one of the many people in their database who has been trawled whilst they are desperately trying to secure the gig from the business with whom they have no relationship and no contract.

They don’t get the gig and so there is no role.

The Recruitment Partner:

The recruitment partner is exactly that. Whether you are partnering with them to find talent or a prospective candidate trying to find a new role, there are a few things in common:

  • The recruitment partner treats you like a human being (candidate), not a commodity.

  • The recruitment partner is more concerned about their credibility, reputation, ethics, and moral compass than they are about “making the sale”.

  • They genuinely want to serve the best interests of their client

  • They want to get to know you as a person and invest time and effort in building a relationship with you, even if that does not result in sourcing talent or placing you as a candidate.

  • They have a solid, tried, and tested process and track record of success and they stand behind it.

  • They care about their brand credibility and the credibility of the industry they represent.

The conclusion is, whether you are looking to engage a recruitment partner to source talent for a role you are trying to fill, or perhaps you are a prospective candidate who may be looking for a new role now or in the future, make sure you do the following:

  • Do your due diligence – Check with friends, colleagues, people in your network, previous clients of the recruitment partner to find out if you can trust them.

  • Check to find out how they operate

  • Trust your gut.

Now, I do not intend to name-and-shame the poor recruiters out there. However, if you want to contact me to ask for recommendations of the good recruiters I have worked with, the Recruitment Partners, feel free to reach out.

I will give you my opinion and recommendation based on my experience.

I hope this helps and good luck!


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