HOW TO USE RECRUITMENT AGENCIES
Having worked recruiting legal professionals inside a law firm and also within
a recruitment agency I believe I am well placed to offer a perspective on how
you can work effectively with agencies as a client or candidate. Frankly I am
appalled at the lack of professionalism that I have seen and heard of in some
agencies. Typically though I think that many firms quickly establish a group of
agencies that they prefer to deal with. However it is harder for candidates to
develop the same appreciation as they dip into the market quite infrequently.
Many candidates I see comment on the poor practice standards of agencies
they have contacted but by the time they have realised it has often been too
late. Recent examples of their lack of professionalism and integrity include:
One candidate was dismayed to find that his CV had been sent to a firm
by the agency that had placed him two months previously when quite
clearly he was no longer looking for a position. He would have been
unaware of this had a friend in the firm not expressed their surprise that he
was looking to move again so quickly.
I have seen this happen on a number of occasions and this is a tactic that an
agency can use to mislead a client into thinking that they have a large number
of potentially suitable candidates available and so discourage them from
contacting further agencies for additional candidates.
Another candidate confirmed that he wished me to act on his behalf.
Having identified a suitable opportunity he agreed I could send his details
to a Recruitment Solutions client. The client decided to arrange an
interview but when the papers were sent to their HR department they had
already received them from another agency. The candidate had not given
this agency permission to send his details to any firms but when he
checked back with the agency he found that they had mailed his
unsolicited CV to every large and medium sized firm in the East and West
Midlands. The CV had been sent without discrimination and many of the
firms did not practice in his niche area.
This blanket mailing approach is widely practised but not for the benefit of
candidates. Unsolicited CVs generally devalue a candidate and irritate
recruiters. The CV is also not tailored for different firms and positions and if a
firm does not have a role at that specific time but three months later one
becomes available they will question the quality of a candidate who is still
I could recount endless examples of poor practice by recruitment agencies,
suffice it is to say that Recruitment Solutions is determined to be different. We
believe we achieve this by:
Interviewing all candidates
Only forwarding candidate details for specific notified vacancies (we do not
mail candidates details unsolicited under any circumstance).
Providing accurate and detailed Curriculum Vitae and other relevant
information for the client. (We do not omit elements of the CV if they could
be seen as less than ideal).
Gaining candidate’s express permission to forward their details and
ensuring a genuine interest in the role available.
However if you are working with other agencies I offer the following good
Do not send your CV to an agency unless you have met with them and
agreed that they will act on your behalf – a consultant cannot possibly
understand you and sell you effectively to clients unless they have met
Insist that they agree with you beforehand where your CV is sent – avoid
Be clear about what you are looking for (location, size of firm, salary etc)
and communicate with the consultant if your thoughts change.
Do not attend an interview if you are not interested in the position on offer
(do not allow yourself to be bullied or cajoled – you are the person in
control not the agency).
Work with only one agency – a client will quickly become aware if a
candidate is with a number of agencies (particularly if the agencies are
mailing the candidate’s details indiscriminately) and it speaks volumes.
If you decide that you are not happy with the agency you are working with
contact your consultant and confirm that you no longer wish them to act
on your behalf.
Work to develop a good relationship with your consultant, be open and
honest - the relationship needs to be based on trust and understanding on
Read the terms and conditions of all agencies very carefully – there will be
Develop your own protocol.
Select and work with preferred agencies (who accept your terms).
Agree with your preferred agencies that:
1. They will be notified of any position where their assistance is needed. This
means that other agencies not on the preferred list are not notified.
2. Any speculative CVs are discarded or retained as the agency’s “property”
for a limited period only (eight weeks?).
3. The same information is sent to the preferred agencies at the same time.
4. Candidates put forward will:
Meet the specification
Have indicated their interest in the position
Have given permission for their details to be submitted
5. In the event that more than one agency submits the same candidate the
fee will apply to the agency that first submitted the candidate for the
notified vacancy. This will mean that speculative CVs and CVs submitted
for previous vacancies will not be considered.
6. They will specifically inform you if they submit a candidate who does not
match the criteria.
7. They will not follow up the application unnecessarily.
8. All communication will be routed through a designated individual.
Direct Line 0121 633 6908