This Herald Sun article exposes the dirty secrets of recruitment agencies.
“We spoke to a former recruiter who worked at three different agencies about what life is really like in the cut throat industry.”
On the recruitment game
The former agent – who didn’t want to be identified – said recruiters make their money filling positions in exchange for a commission from the company and the business is all about the bottom line.
“You are just dollar signs. Often you know they’re not the best person for the job and they’ll get into the role and quit in two weeks. But all you care about is invoicing the client before they do.”
“It’s an awful lot of resume flicking and luck. Sometimes you find other recruiters represent the same candidate. If you find out the other company has put them forward, you try to convince them they’re your client, otherwise they get the $20,000.”
“It’s hard because sometimes I’ve had four or five jobs on the go and you have 500 messages. Often there is no way to get through them all so you’re just deleting them.”
“It’s awful, I used to feel sorry for them. Some people are so lovely and you’re lying to their face.”
On how much they make
“It’s anywhere from 15 to 30 per cent of the salary. Let’s say a business development role is $60,000 base, if there is a car included it’s usually 20-25 per cent of that whole package, so we’re talking $10-13,000 for one placement and of course the consultant gets a piece of that depending on how well you are performing.”
“It’s a lot of money for what is sometimes just resume flicking … you’re thinking ‘oh my god I just billed $15,000 from this candidate I’ve never met who happened to email me’.”
On creating fake jobs to drum up business
“Often when it’s quiet and you don’t have much going, you’ll put a fake job online to get candidates in,” the former recruiter said.”
“Let’s say I was working on a marketing job, I would put up a generic ad saying a company is looking for business development manager with five years’ experience blah blah blah.”
“You’d get resumes, call up candidates and say ‘you’ve got good experience,’ when what you’re trying to do is work out where they’re going for interviews so you can ring up that company and say ‘oh I heard you’re looking for staff’ then you pitch other candidates in.”
The fake position is never filled and the people that applied are none the wiser.
“Sales people are always full of BS, they say ‘oh the roles been filled or the client has pulled the role. Smart candidates can generally see a fake job and they’re very wary. Particularly in IT where they do it all the time.”
On fleecing people out of their pay
“Let’s say you have a temp candidate that wants $50 an hour. The client will often say we’re going to pay you $80 so they pay us and we pay the candidate. So we say fair enough and you get your candidate in.”
“The candidate knows their worth $50 an hour but you say to them ‘oh this client is on a really tight budget’ you don’t tell them who the client is at this point. You say ‘look, they can only afford $25 or $30’ whereas really you could pay them $40 and still make a profit margin.”
“Another thing we did is really screw down the temps, particularly if they’re new. You have a lot of people that come from overseas, so they wouldn’t know much about the market so you would try and hook them in on a six-month contract where they were being grossly underpaid.”
“A lot of the time people are desperate… you can just say whatever you want and the candidate will often take it and you think ‘wow I’m going to make commission this month.'”
On advice for job hunters
The recruiter said he eventually got out of the game and is now retraining for a different career.
“I always say don’t go to recruiters, go direct to the company. They’ve got an internal recruitment team and they don’t care about making budget, they care about filling the role. I always tell people to stuff recruiters unless they can prove to you they’ve got this ongoing relationship with company.”
“If you’re going to a recruiter for a temp job, don’t believe their BS about ‘they can only afford this much’ really put your foot down and see what you can get.””