Six things to know about the recruitment industry

  1. The recruitment industry is dog-eat-dog, with one of the highest levels of staff turnover seen in any trade. A recruiter is only as good as his or her last month’s earnings, leading to a scary rate of hire and fire. So, expect your recruiter to be under pressure to perform.

  2. Agencies specialise, and there are far more of them than you probably realised. Not every agency deals with every kind of vacancy. So, don’t worry, you won’t end up cleaning toilets unless you are signed with an industrial agency, but you might be constantly disappointed with what you’re offered unless you find the agencies best tailored to your skills.

  3. A recruiter gets paid between 8 and 25% of the first 3 months’ worth of your salary. Even for contract workers, a placement for anything over 3 months is considered permanent for recruiters’ fees. The recruiter gets their fee when you start, but they have to repay it if you leave within three months. This means that, for some recruiters, the sole focus becomes getting you into a job, and then getting you to stay there for three months. This is another reason you may not feel that the recruiter is matching you well to jobs – they may be trying to ‘sell’ you a job to get their fee.

  4. Employers place their vacancies with a number of agencies. Just as with estate agents, some sellers feel that the best way to get exposure in the marketplace is to go to many agents. You can imagine, then, what happens when candidates do the same thing…

  5. You will generally only hear about bad agencies, because people tend to make sure other people know about the problems they’ve had. They rarely think to do the same for the good service they’ve received. If you never hear about an agency, it’s usually because it’s a good one.

  6. The recruitment industry is relatively small, and the high rate of movement between agencies means recruiters tend to know each other. Although they won’t share details of employer contracts, they will share details of problem clients. So, always treat your agent with respect.