Back to Blog


The Public Say Recruitment Agencies Are Misunderstood And Tarnished By A Noisy Minority

Over the last 3 months, we have been working hard to get to the bottom of whether the recruitment industry is unfairly misunderstood and tarnished by a noisy minority, or whether it genuinely lacks an ethical business model which is condemned by the UK on a widespread scale.

Recruitment is an easy target for the media and general public to scrutinise because of the sales environment that can often yield impressive wealth for those who are motivated to grab it. You don’t need a university education or squeaky clean past to be a success in recruitment, instead, we often find that the most successful consultants are those who are working to build a life that offers something that their former years couldn’t.

Recruitment companies can operate in sensitive sectors such as Healthcare, Social Care and Criminal Justice, so there’s a fine line between profit maximisation and offering the best possible service to care sectors that are close to the hearts of the general public. Naturally, this allows overworked employees and understaffed employers to voice their frustrations regarding inconsistent supply and demand on the recruitment front.

The general consensus seems to be that recruitment firms are playing a numbers game and use jobseekers as stepping stones towards bigger margins. Unsolicited calls/emails, poor communication, manipulation and even bullying from recruitment consultants has been reported in the past, but can this really be accepted as a true reflection on a thriving industry providing tens of thousands of jobs across the UK?

The simple answer… no.

3 months ago, we created an anonymous survey to record the general public’s recruitment experiences and opinions in attempt to either quash or support the stigma surrounding recruitment. After reaching out to over 3000 professionals across the nation, the results are in and we can sleep easy knowing that the recruitment industry is a service that the majority of people love to use.

Before we delve into the results, it’s worth noting that the recipients of the survey were spread across multiple sectors, with an almost even-split of happily employed, job-seeking and unemployed individuals and business owners.

Were/are you satisfied with your recruitment service?

44% of respondents answered ‘Yes’, reflecting their satisfaction with the service. 37% reported that they had ‘Mixed experiences’, with only 16% of respondents choosing ‘No’, indicating that they were not satisfied with their recruitment.

If applicable, what didn’t you like about the service?

17% answered ‘Unwanted contact (Emails, Calls etc.)’.

13% experienced ‘Aggressive behaviour from the recruiter’.

23% said ‘They didn’t find me a role/candidate’.

20% answered ‘They were difficult to contact’.

However, 38% of people recorded a faultless service, saying they wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Do you think you can earn more or less by using a recruitment agency?

54% chose ‘More’, with the remaining 46% voting ‘Less’.

So, the million dollar question;

Is recruitment misunderstood, or is it a service you will continue to avoid?

59% were in favour of recruitment, saying that it’s misunderstood. While only 15% said it’s a service that they will continue to avoid. The remaining percentage provided detailed responses, most of which supported a more positive outlook on recruitment:

“I think it’s understood. Saves me leg work and should be rewarded monetarily for that. I have no difficulties with agencies. Employers use them routinely.”

 “It’s a service I would use again, and I don’t think it is misunderstood. It is a service which is increasingly needed in today’s world.”

So, it is in fact a noisy minority that has created a false sense of irresponsibility around recruitment. The general consensus is largely positive and very much reflects the fantastic work that recruiters do to bridge the gap between jobseekers and their dream roles.

Recruitment expert Richard Cooke shares his view on the debate; “The reality is that recruitment is the only sales job where the product can refuse to be sold, making it the hardest sales job in the world. This will naturally cause friction at times, and unfortunately it’s those who don’t have a seamless recruitment experience who will shout the loudest, overshadowing the incredible work that consultants carry out on a daily basis.”

We’d love to hear your views on recruitment, so please hop over to our Facebook page and get the conversation started in the comments section. If you’re looking for a permanent or locum role, or new staff, in the fields of nursing, social care, criminal justice, life sciences, dentistry, animal health or engineering & logistics, please get in touch with our expert recruitment consultants today.

Carry on reading