8 Dirty Little Tricks Used By Recruitment Agencies

Love them or hate them, recruitment agencies play an integral role in finding you a contract (job). You’ve probably witnessed the abuse recruiters receive on networks such as Linkedin? Some folk say, do we really need them and why are they still around?

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Poking fun at recruitment agencies…because quite frankly, they deserve it

Well, there’s reasons they receive that level of contempt. When you’re dealing with or trying to find your next role (and recruiter), just take into consideration the 7 points below.

1. When it comes to securing a new project or extending your current one, be vigilant on rates. Don’t listen to the sob stories, or the “we need to get back to the client to see if there’s any movement”. There is ALWAYS room for movement. Most recruitment agencies are creaming at least 25% off your bottom line. So, don’t feel sorry for them.

2. Be aware of what you’re signing up for. The job post may highlight a middle management position. However, the recruiter may very well be selling you as a Senior manager. Hence, you get a lesser rate, a more stressful role and a potentially p!ssed off client. All the while the recruiter gets a juicy margin and put their feet up! Hence, do some proper due diligence for the role you’re applying for.

3. Don’t fall for false promises. For example, if they entice you with an extension, just be extra aware. That’s not to say there isn’t one. You would expect one after a 3-6 month contract. However, truth be known, recruitment agencies like to dangle the carrot at the end of a project. To keep bums on seats. As a pre-requisite, send out your CV at least 2 months before your contract expires and don’t hold out for anything. Ensure you have the choice.

4. Don’t let recruiters glamorize anything, especially when it comes to overseas projects. When a new project is advertised, do your own research on logistics etc. The client site may be advertised as only one hour from the airport, but further research could state otherwise. That ‘VIP’ accommodation could be a cover for a glorified compound. Just saying…

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Another hacked off candidate venting off to our recruiter friends

5. Take news of any new projects as hearsay. Although it’s exciting to hear of new opportunities home and abroad, recruiters may be taking advantage. In certain instances, they will act like they have exclusivity of a new project. However, they may only be ‘fishing’ i.e. pretend they have the project and looking for background information, contacts and CVs. Just be aware.

6. Never give recruitment agencies your referee’s contact details BEFORE you secure a contract. In this instance, they only want leads. Qualified ones such as your previous boss or good colleagues. Respectable agencies should only ask for referee details AFTER your interview/ contract acceptance.

7. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, certainly not with a recruitment agent. So, if you get that phone call for a lunch or dinner invite, with the promise of a new project…just be aware. Surprise, surprise, they want leads again. The majority of the time, there is no role/ project. So, when you’ve wolfed down that pint of bitter and macaroni cheese, you will be expected to supply your clients contact details.

And if you’re contracting through them already. Well, you’ve effectively paid for the meal out your rate.

8. Just be extra careful with regards to ‘solutions’ they may present to you. i.e. you require to have a tax compliant set up (company and banking) before the agent/ client can accept you on site. Usually it’s in the recruiters favour to ‘sell’ alternative solutions to you. I would be cautious with regards to any offshore/ umbrella company they propose, as it can come back to bite you. It could potentially cost you more with regards to administration fees and taxes.

Hence, I always stick with my original Ltd company/ banking structure set up.


Apart from that, it’s all good. I’ve been there already, hence I’ve learned (been burnt) from experience.

Do your due diligence. There are some decent recruiters out there that will look after you.

Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil. So, start building up your network of the good guys and boycott the bad guys.

Now I would like to hear from you.

What were your biggest takeaways? Have you had any bad experiences with recruitment agencies?

Let us know in the comments…

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