The Recruitment Agency Model is Broken... or why we've launched Ashford Recruitment

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

DISCLAIMER: There are many high-quality recruitment agencies in the market and their work is invaluable. But for each decent one there now seem to be at least two bad ones. Despite legislation regulating the recruitment sector, there are big gaps allowing for black sheep to exist.

When I left my highly paid, demanding yet fulfilling job at a multinational media company based in Central London, I knew I wanted to work in HR/Employment Law. I launched my own business and things have been going very well. Apart from a lot of planning there was also a lot of luck involved, not every new business is successful but things worked out.

Not once would I have dreamed of ever even considering doing anything recruitment related. In fact, hiring staff was a big part of my previous role and I never enjoyed it. I saw it as a chore... but as per usual you can't predict the future.

Whilst working with HR clients the subject of recruitment and recruitment agencies comes up time and time again. Some are lucky and have the budget to work with great agencies (and there are many!), others are not and they struggle with posting job ads on several job boards and then get bombarded with countless applications which, after spending lots of time to review, may or may not yield a good candidate or two.

Yet others may well have the budget to use an agency but have had so many bad experiences that they have reverted back to the do-it-yourself method.

The main gripes with agencies are:

  • Sales calls, endless sales calls either by agencies who spot a job ad and then call up to offer their services, not taking no for an answer; or by agencies which had been engaged previously and then consistently call to ask if there are any job openings.

  • "Hijacking job ads", agencies which re-list an anonymised version of a job ad, collect applications and then call up to talk about the perfect matches they have for the open role. This is not only annoying but hiring managers often feel pressured into agreeing to look at those candidates, which in turn means they are engaging an agency where another one is already working on a role, or where they didn't want an agency involved. This regularly leads to introductions of the the same candidates which then of course leads to arguments about who introduced a candidate first or it causes problems with the business wishing to make an offer to an applicant who has applied directly but also has been introduced by the agency.

  • Not listening to the client's brief, wasting time with candidates who are not matching the requirements, whose salary expectations are out of reach or with lengthy notice periods.

  • Not explaining terms and conditions properly

  • High fees for very little work. Yes that is a subjective impression and most certainly not all business agree but there appear to be a large amount of agencies who simply forward (badly) screened CVs. Of course, the lower the quality of the applications the less likely it is for a client to offer a job, but what was the point of using an agency in the first place?

  • Increases of fees and changing refund policies without making longstanding clients aware. Just a few weeks ago one of my clients was ranting about the agency he had happily used for years. A candidate had not worked out as hoped and was let go, 4 months after starting. My clients expected a 50% refund to be credited against the fees for a replacement. After all that's how it had always worked - full refund/free of charge replacement in the first 3 months; 50% up to six months. Simple. Unfortunately for him, the agency had changed its terms and now tapers off the refund/credit over the first three months. He was never told and when he complained he was referred to terms on their website. As a gesture of goodwill they offered him 25% off the fees for any future candidate (not the replacement!).

As I said at the beginning of this post, there are a lot of great agencies out there and we don't see ourselves in competition to them. We are here to support businesses which struggle with DIY recruitment and those which don’t have the budget to work with a good, reputable agency.

Our offer is simple - we do the leg work of advertising on all major job boards and social media and get all applications in one place. Or, with our option of screening all applications according to job requirements, we offer the main benefits an agency brings.

Each option cuts out the "faff" of wasting time on keeping on top of different ads on different job boards, sales calls, being bombarded with application e-mails and, perhaps most importantly, saves money.

It's as easy as 1-2-3 and frees up time & money to be invested where it really matters.

01233 884113

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