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How To Spot Recruitment Red Flags

about 1 month ago by Rose Hunt

How To Spot Recruitment Red Flags

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​It’s fair to say that the recruitment industry gets a pretty bad press at times. Whether it’s unsolicited cold calls, ghosting, or poor attention to detail, there’s no denying that a few bad apples have spoilt a generally hardworking and decent bunch. But while there are some recruiters out there that give the entire industry a bad name, not all are created equal. In fact, working with a good one could well be one of the best career decisions you’ll ever make. Nevertheless, if you’ve been burned by a bad recruitment agency in the past, it’s understandable that you may find it hard to trust again. With this in mind, in this blog post, we’re taking a look at why the recruitment industry still has somewhat of a reputation problem, and some red flags that clients and candidates should be on the lookout for!

Why Does Recruitment Get Such A Bad Rap?

At present, there are close to 40,000 recruitment agencies in the UK, with 6000 registered in 2021 alone. In fact, a staggering one in 67 companies founded is a recruitment agency in one form or another! Bearing statistics like this in mind, it’s easy to understand why not every recruiter you encounter is the kind of consummate professional you’d trust with your future career prospects. Recruitment isn’t a regulated industry, so it's down to the individual company to ensure that people are placed over profit, and honesty and good communication are prioritised. The unfortunate fact is that some are simply in it to make a quick buck, and the ones that let clients and candidates down can leave a lasting impression that can be enough to put some people off for life. But how do you know whether you can trust an agency, or if you should be wary? Let’s delve into some recruitment red flags!

1. They’re pushy

This is perhaps the quality that puts off more clients and candidates than any other. If a recruiter ever pressures you to put yourself forward for a role that isn’t a good fit for you or to accept a candidate that doesn’t seem right for your business, that’s a clear sign it’s time to run for the hills. A poor recruiter will be more concerned with their needs rather than yours, and might push you into making a decision even when you’ve expressed reservations. A pushy recruiter won’t give you the space you need to think, but will hurry you to make important decisions on their timeframe.

2. They don’t listen

In your initial conversations with your recruiter, you should be the one doing most of the talking, and they should be listening and making notes! If a recruiter doesn’t take the time to understand your goals, motivations and ambitions, chances are, they’re prioritising their fee over your wellbeing. It’ll be pretty easy to tell if a recruiter hasn’t paid attention to what you’re looking for when they send over a list of potential jobs or candidates – do any of them match up to your requirements, or have they disregarded your previous conversations?

3. You’re always working with someone new

Sure, it could sometimes be the case that your regular recruiter has the day off so they’ve passed you to another member of their team, or that someone else had a more suitable role. However, if you’re dealing with a different person every time you get in contact with your agency, it’s definitely a red flag. This could point to either a high attrition rate within the company, sheer disorganisation, or the fact that your regular recruiter is simply too overworked to come to the phone. Either way, if you’re always speaking to someone new, you won’t get the continuity of communication that makes a great recruitment experience. Not only that, key appointments such as interviews could well end up being forgotten and feedback not passed on.

4. They make guarantees

We all know the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. No one can promise you’ll click with a hiring manager, love a new job, or get a promotion within a year. Of course a recruiter will give you the most optimistic portrayal of a candidate or company based on the facts they have to hand, but making guarantees they’ve no control over is a huge red flag.

5. They don’t communicate

A good recruiter will help prepare you for an upcoming interview, keep clients informed with new developments, and follow up to ensure the whole process is running smoothly. They should also listen to and act on any concerns, and answer questions openly and honestly. Perhaps most importantly, poor communication within the hiring process means you can’t build the type of strong relationship you need to be able to trust your recruiter with either your career prospects, or your company’s future.

Ultimately, choosing the right recruiter may be the most important decision you can make for your career or your business. It’s therefore vital to pay attention to certain red flags: pressuring you to make quick decisions, not listening to your concerns, exaggerating the truth and making guarantees that seem too good to be true are all warning signs of a recruiter who may not have your best interests in mind. By being wary, you can ensure you’re working with a professional who’s honest, trustworthy and can help you achieve your goals.

Looking for a recruitment partner that ticks all the boxes? You’re in the right place! We’re a nationwide organisation delivering a boutique-level service across almost every industry and sector, including accountancy, human resources, marketing and digital, IT, and many more. You can search all our positions here, or register with us.