A technical manager I know posted a scathing review on LinkedIn about a competing agency. Apparently, he gets numerous bot emails about how they have the perfect job for him, identifying a specific position they have in mind. Apparently, they are usually way off base, perhaps not even in his field.
This post had legs! Over the course of days more than 1000 comments ensued. Many people had a similar experience with this firm. Others had anecdotes about lack of follow up, rude or uniformed recruiters – very specific comments, many naming names. The company responded to several of the comments with a general ‘thank you for letting us know, we have escalated to management. Please let us know if we can help your job search.
Hiring managers weighed in too, with complaints about poorly vetted candidates, unprofessional salespeople and more. In this lengthy string of comments were many additional complaints about other agencies, recruiters in general, the recruitment business.
Few industries I have observed have as bad a reputation as the recruitment world, perhaps car sales. I have observed the good, bad and ugly of our business since 1987. Back then we were already considered pariahs, if not vultures or worse. Certainly, such a long-standing and continued perception cannot be a total fabrication but there ARE good, reputable firms with the best of intentions and solid hiring and training practices. Much like Yelp, TripAdvisor. and rate-my professor, Glassdoor is not a useful source of information about who are and are not good firms. People are much more energetic with their complaints than their compliments and of course, there are folks with grudges who are just not honest.
There are some reasons that this reputation has evolved. This is a tough business. Our product is people so that means we have an unstable product with an unpredictable supply chain. Many companies have policies that thwart an agencies ability to do a thorough job. These include data-stamp rules that make us rush to submit before competition before properly vetting. Gatekeepers/talent acquisition people who block conversations with hiring managers so we can’t fully understand the requirement. Lack of feedback which is rude and upsetting to candidates. More. Candidates, too make it difficult, lying about job history, education, salary. Reticent to share pertinent information.
Agencies bear responsibility too. The lack of training issue is huge – WHY can’t companies invest more in teaching recruitment process AND the ‘technical’ information needed to properly speak to hiring managers and candidates. One reason is that there is a low success rate in recruitment. Industry-wide less than 15% of recruiters survive a year. Investing weeks in training might improve that number but some of the failure is simple and common lack of sales ability.
Here at Kane we invest heavily in training and all recruiters are connected to a partner with 25+ years of experience. Training is ongoing and the training wheels never really come off. We’re patient, maybe too much so, giving promising new recruiters as long as a year to learn. This is very costly in the short run but can pay-off in the long run.
If YOU have a bad experience with a recruitment agency, or even many, consider that you start each new relationship cleansed of that experience – Vette your recruiter well and try and build a relationship. There are plenty of expert, kind, understanding and successful recruiters if you look hard enough.