Are Employment Agencies Working For or Against You?

As a marketer, I analyse everything that I do, this includes things that happen in my own personal life. I suppose in some ways it helps me to make sense of the world around me.

In my recent quest to find a full-time job, a very disturbing pattern emerged and I am baffled by the results. It has made me question whether or not employment agencies are a good idea?

You be the judge.

After taking a number of resume and employment readiness training programs and having my resume done by a professional (both online and in print) it is as close to or as professional as it needs to be. While I do understand that there are limitations to getting the job, such as experience, technologies, personality, age, distance and language, the jobs that I applied for certainly fell into what should have been “an easy door,” for me.

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Let’s look at the numbers.

  • I sent out a total of 165 resumes over a two month period.
  • Of the 165, almost 90% (149) of them went to employment agencies.
  • The remaining 10% (16) went directly to employers and jobs suggested by friends and family.

The call backs that I received are as follows:

  • Of the 149 resumes that I sent to agencies, I only received one callback. She interviewed me on the phone and said, other than the fact that you do not speak French for this particular position – everything sounds good.  I spoke to her for over an hour which is a clear indication things are going well.  She assured me she would call back.  She never returned the call. 
  • My thoughts – Surely the agency has other positions to fill even if the language issue was a problem for this particular job?  At the very least, they should have asked me to come in and talk.  If my resume was good enough for a callback and it went well, there is no reason for not adding me to a potential candidate list, especially since agencies are constantly looking for qualified candidates.
  • Of the 16 direct submitted resumes, I received six callbacks and two interviews and was offered a position by one of them, which I turned down simply because of the location. I received a special request from the other employer telling me that they would like to keep my file close by just in case another position became available and that the final decision was literally between me and one other person.  
  • My thoughts – I am highly employable and there is no reason that once someone calls me back that I shouldn’t expect an interview.

My analytics mindset wonders how can this be accurate?  Statistically speaking it makes no sense.  Lets take a look at the numbers.

The call backs that I got from direct employers indicate that I should have gotten at least 57 (26%) calls from agencies.  Clearly something does not add up.

Employment agencies are not helping but hindering people from gaining employment, in my opinion, because:

  1. They create a huge bank of resumes that they never intend to use just so they can appear to employers that they have a large candidate base, when in fact, they do not.
  2. They have a select number of candidates that they send to employers and this creates a block for other people applying.  They literally send the same people to different companies until they are hired.  I think this has to do with the candidate asking for a lower salary so the agency makes more money on the hire.
  3. The recruiter is simply not that good enough at their job or do not understand the industry requirements that they are seeking candidates in.
  4. There is a great deal of competition in the agency because it is often commission based so recruiters do not share your resume with colleagues.
  5. There is a great deal of turn around therefore if you were considered a good candidate by a recruiter and they leave the company others may not even be aware.  In this instance you are starting over from scratch.
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Headhunters charge a fee to the job seeker and this might be a safer option for you if they only get paid when you actually find a job.

I am going to continue to search for employment on my own because luckily I have the time and resources to do so.

I think it is time for employment agencies to be held accountable for helping get people back to work especially amid the current crisis. There are so many available jobs it should not be so difficult. Anyone can create an employment agency and seek out jobs for you but only a few ever truly deliver.  Perhaps, this may be a new career choice for me because I certainly would make sure that I built a huge candidate list and call every single one of them because I do not think a resume is a good judge of someone’s potential.  

If you choose to take the agency route, research and choose carefully because online job sites make money just for people logging into them.  In other words they make money regardless if you get a job or not.  Numbers matter but yours should count.  



Published by Madeline Foster

I am a senior digital marketer, product manager, and consultant but I also like to write about trendy things. My passion has always been writing, my mission is to help the world become a better place through socially responsible social media because I believe that everyone needs a voice.

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