BLUF: It's early days in my job search but Im finding recrutiment agencies *less than* helpful.  Advice please?

Little more detail: 

I've been with my current company for nearly 18 years (almost all of my professional career) and am on the look out for something new.  I've revamped my CV (per Resume cast), and am forwarding it selectively when I see jobs advertised which fit my skills (per 75% cast!). 

However, the recruitment agencies I've been in contact with are neither proactive in getting back to me (either when emailed or when we speak on the phone) nor do they seem to be very professional or respectful.  They seem very 'sales' oriented, don't know the roles they are advertising for very well, and I get the feeling I should be grateful for them giving me the time of day? 

Perhaps I'm out of touch, but surely it's about getting to know the candidate a little, and then figuring out whether to put that candidate forward for the role, or looking out for another one which may may better fit his/her skills?  You can't do this in a five minute conversation on the telephone or simply by reading a CV can you?

Maybe I've just gone to the wrong agencies (I'm responding to jobs advertised on job boards etc via agencies, rather than selecting out specific agencies which may fit my needs better) so I'm thinking of changing strategy and seeking out specific agencies which deal in my line of work, although this may narrow my searches down somewhat. 

I'm really new to this so wondered if anyone had any experience/advice on recruitment agencies?  I've listened to a few of the CT podcasts on dealing with recruiters and am struggling to marry up the advice given there with the experience I'm having.

I am in the UK and my role is currently first level management moving to second level management, if that helps.   




jrosenau's picture

Hi Smartie -

 I had some of the same thoughts when I started looking  for a new position a couple years ago.  What I figured out (with some MTCT help) is that the recruiters (US term) have a bunch of positions they are trying to fill and a bunch of people contacting them.  They may or may not be that great at follow-up based on the volume of contacts they are getting.  They are concerned about filling the position for their client.  You have to make sure to be doing the follow-up and differentiate yourself from the rest of the job hunters.

Hope that helps.


mmann's picture
Licensee Badge

Hello Smartie,

Listen to the John Lucht interview casts done in 2008 (part 1, part 2, part 3) and consider reading his book, "Rites of Passage."  You'll get the full story on recruitment agencies and recruiters.


  Good luck!

dmb41carter36's picture

I had very little success with recruiters on my last job search. My experience is that unless you are a big shot, they are not going to work very hard to find a job for you. There is a podcast about where to post your resume that you should refer to. This was the best advice I got in the process. It basically stated that you should have 2 job aggregators (Indeed/Simply Hired etc.), 2 local sites (Ex. Philadelphia Jobs) and 2 niche sites dedicated to your profession.

Best wishes in the job search.

smartie's picture

Thanks all.

@ Michael - many thanks for your reference to the John Lucht interviews.  I listened to them all and am just waiting for book to arrive in the post!

@ John - have taken your advice and am being more proactive to differentiate myself

@ DMB41Carter46 - it's good to hear that it's not just me!  I'll take your advice too.

All great advice thanks again!


jonno12131's picture

 A few points to add.

try to apply directly to companies. The trend in the uk market is that more companies are bringing recruitment in-house so agencies are getting fewer and fewer roles. It is also cheaper for companies to hire you directly than use an agency.

Also agencies sometimes post roles that aren't there to get your CV on their books. If you want to use agencies try to get some references from people who have successfully transitioned roles recently.