The Skin Trade

One of the things that annoys me most about recruiters is their cavalier attitude towards the careers of their candidates. Career decisions are amongst the most important that we make, yet the recruiter would have us shoved into whatever job they can bully us into accepting, simply for a few quid towards their bonus.

There’s something wrong about the way the recruitment industry works and it has to do with the relationship between the various parties. I was once told, and believed for a while in my days as an innocent well-meaning recruitment consultant, that the candidate pays the fees, while the client (employer) handles the money. In other words, while no money changes hands between the candidate and the recruiter, the candidate is actually the most important person in the equation.

I soon realised that as far as most recruiters are concerned this is rubbish.

The recruiter is concerned with fees. To that end they want to please the client. That means punting as many CV’s as possible the way of the client in the hope that one of them will stick. They don’t even have to stick for that long. they just need to be as sticky as a Post-it note. A year in the job is all the candidate needs to hang on for the fee to be secure. There is therefore very little incentive for the recruiter to get it right on behalf of the candidate. Indeed, it would suit them if the candidate were to be back on the market a mere 12 months later, ripe for another “successful” placement. Of course, this can only happen a few times before the candidate has developed a reputation for job hopping at which point the recruiter will probably tell them they’re too difficult to place because they have no track record of loyalty.

Let’s be clear, then. Recruiters are not interested in your career, they’re only interested in the money you might lead them to. Don’t put your career in their hands; take control of it, and use recruiters to help you achieve your career goals by telling them what you want, and not allowing them to tell you what you should do.

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