Top 10 pet hates when dealing with recruiters

Here at Paramount Recruitment, we recently launched a survey asking clients what their top 10 pet hates are when dealing with recruiters. Although we expected to see some of the answers, many of the pet hates were a bit of a shock to see…

Here at Paramount, we strive to ensure that we are very thorough with our service and we realise that most recruiters are ethical but unfortunately there are some recruiters who tarnish the industries reputations – we hope that this article will enlighten all recruiters and encourage better services for all…

First of all, the biggest pet hate is “Pushy recruiters”. Around 20% of the clients who took part in the survey said that recruiters can be too pushy! Recruiters?? NEVER!

When they say pushy they mean that they may be calling up too often asking for feedback on interviews, even before the interviewee has even left the room…

Recruiters should never need to be pushy, they should work closely with their clients to build up good business relationships. It’s important for clients when choosing recruiters that their values and reputation are upheld, clients should work with recruiters who understand their industry and are able to manage candidates and their expectations, ensuring the client is represented correctly in the market place.


The second biggest pet hate are the “Irrelevant CV’s” being sent to them. Now, this is going back to the very basics of recruitment but it’s something recruiters are still getting wrong! Why?? Is it because recruiters simply aren’t reading the job specs properly? Or is it because recruiters aren’t asking the right questions?

This is something that should be taken seriously – Nobody wants to waste time, the  goal is to make sure clients receive relevant CV’s and that the recruiter understands what the expectations are. We’ve found that the most successful way to do this is to set face-to-face meetings, time invested at the beginning of the process when taking down the requirements will essentially save time and money for everyone involved!

The next pet hate we found high up on the list was recruiters’ “Sales approach”. Some of our clients even included examples of some of things recruiters say – ‘we have just the person you’re looking for’ and starting calls with ‘Just a quick call’ and ‘just wanted to touch base…’  They couldn’t stress enough on how much they hated the typical sales phrases.

A recruiters’ job is to sell candidates to clients and vice versa, they do the job so clients don’t have to! Understandably sales calls are extremely irritating therefore recruiters need to change their approach when dealing with clients. The aim is to consult and advise rather than being a pushy recruiter…

Next that came up on our survey was “Over promising – not delivering” recruiters often say ‘yes we can and yes we do’ but the outcome may be different. This is often due to the lack of regular contact when dealing with a vacancy – Clients assume that the recruiters have forgotten about them when they don’t keep in touch especially when they’re doing a search for them…

Many recruiters have the mentality that when they can’t find a candidate for a client they simply don’t get in touch, when really they should be contacting them letting them know where they are in their searches and if it’s proving difficult finding that specific candidate – then simply be honest!

Another pet hate was “Not listening to what we (the clients) want” in terms of being sent over candidates that don’t match their specific briefs. This seems to be a popular theme – it’s all down to communication, understanding and the recruitment industry knowledge. If the recruiter thinks that they can’t get what the client wants then they should be advised at an early stage…

Understandably there may be times where it is near impossible finding a specific candidate for the role however this is when the client partnership builds, recruiters should be honest with their clients as I’m sure they would appreciate this more than time wasting.

The next big pet hate was “Bypassing HR” in some cases agencies often bypass HR to sell their services directly to the business. Going directly to the hiring manager is something recruiters  often do. Why? Because nobody else will listen to them? Or is it because they won’t take no for an answer? Recruiters like to talk to the decision makers however they should respect company policies and procedures in the client’s recruitment process.

The seventh result that came up from our survey was the “Unsolicited approach – Fishing E-mails”. This is understandably very annoying it’s basically like receiving junk email and the majority of these emails get ignored. Not only does it show that a recruiter must be desperate but it is unprofessional! Phone calls (not salesy ones) and client visits are the best way to build client relationships. How can a recruiter represent a company when they have not been given a brief by the client?!  Obviously if a client has requested that they’d like a recruiter to approach a specific company then this needs to be done through the correct channels and terms agreed before sending an applicant. 

Eigth in our list was “Not confirming candidates’ expectations”. This should be confirmed from the very start and throughout the process as it may give off the impression that the recruiter is being dishonest and holding important information back. It also wastes time as clients won’t go forward with any application without knowing exactly what it is the candidate expects. However, throughout the process candidates and clients expectations change and it’s the recruiters job to manage this as well as build trust and confirm both candidates and clients expectations continually  throughout the process.

Number nine is “Being made to feel we’re not worth agencies time”. This is often misinterpreted, a recruiter can only work within the budget a client has set aside for a new employee. When a client asks too much for very little, this doesn’t always mean that they’re not worth an agencies time just that they will need convincing… However, there needs to be some accountability if clients have been made to feel this way then recruiters need to think of how to approach the matter in a more professional way. Recruiters need to explain to their clients why a search isn’t worth their time – honesty and transparency is key to solving this problem.

Finally, number ten in our list of pet hates is “Recruiters trying to steal our employees whilst working on assignments for us” WOW. Ever heard the saying ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…?’ This is simply recruiters trying their luck which often back fires and creates more harm than good! There needs to be an ethical code of practice but in todays market recruiters may be approached by candidates from a client they may be working with which is out of their control. Ethical recruiters should not actively approach candidates from a client they are working on an assignment for. This is easily resolved by setting out a clause in the terms & conditions.

As a company we are happy to share our survey results and hope that everyone has learnt something from the article. Recruiters aren’t all that bad… recruiters help companies grow and succeed with the best possible employees on board but admittedly there is still a lot they need to learn! What do you think about the survey’s results? Please comment and share your thoughts or ideas on how YOU think recruiters can improve – Thanks for reading!

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13th June

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