My other half is a vocal guy. He will not keep quiet when there is something out there he disagrees with. Unfortunately, he does not believe recruitment is a valid career choice. He teases me about being in the recruitment industry quite often and this has not let up since I stopped being an actual on the ground recruiter and moved to the marketing and business development side of our business.


I have heard him say it so many times that I now have the argument pretty much committed to memory. The main points are:

  • Recruiters are not doing anything candidates couldn't do themselves.
  • They are pulling people away from jobs they are happy in and placing them somewhere they don't want to be just for a fee
  • They do hardly anything for loads of cash
  • Any idiot can do it
  • They bother companies constantly for vacancies then don't fill them
  • The world would be a better place without them


I've been thinking about this lately, and I don't agree with him (obviously!). Now there are a great many people out there who have had a bad experience with a poor recruiter, whether as a candidate or a client. This certainly doesn't mean recruitment as an industry is worthless. I'm now going to go through the above points and refute them. Feel free to do the same guys, I love a conversation as you may have noticed by now.


  1. There are undoubtably many people who could happily find a job within a few weeks without any help from any recruiters, but what happens to the ones who get stuck? A good agency with well connected recruiters will be ten times as effective at marketing a candidate as the candidate themselves would be. I certainly don't have time to call up someone who has rejected my CV and ask why, then point out that actually their reservations about me aren't accutate and they should meet me for an interview. If a recruiter's star candidate is rejected before the interview stage, this is just what they do. An agency should know their market as well as anyone who works in it. They will know when a company is likely to be hiring and firing and what a particular HR or hiring manager contact looks for. Even if you're just a CV sat in a recruiter's database, at least you're on their radar for any suitable jobs. They might have your CV over to the right person at your dream employer within a few hours of receiving the requirement.
  2. Any recruiter who has had a candidate drop out will know you CANNOT pull any candidate away from a job they are truly happy in. People having a bad day at work who apply for a job and drop out part way through the process when their work issue is resolved or they get that pay rise are one of the many pitfalls of recruitment. Everyone has seen it and it never gets any easier to deal with, although you do become much better at spotting it and candidate management. Recruiters will always ask the questions "Why do you want to leave your current job?" and always keep checking commitment. I don't want to have to refund a fee for a candidate leaving after 3 weeks on the job to go back to their old place either, so I don't want to drag anyone away from a job they love for something they won't.
  3. Oooo this one annoys me the most. As you note from the above two points there is a lot to do in recruitment. It's a difficult job and at times can be very stressful. When I was recruiting I found it hard to switch off at the end of the day, and very few people in this office leave at 5.30pm. It's a job that is mentally and emotionally draining. The odd lucky placement where you have hardly worked on it at all is incredibly rare and far outweighed by the ones you bust your gut on.
  4. NO THEY CANNOT. The world is full of failed recruiters. That says it all.
  5. This is one that we've probably all been guilty of at some point, not on purpose of course but we all called round for vacancies at some point in our careers. It wasn't a part of the job I enjoyed at all but I did it. I only failed to fill a couple of the vacancies I pestered for, so it wasn't a total washout and I always explained to the client what the issue was rather than just vanish. I believe most recruiters would do the same.
  6. Now I do not believe that. I myself have had a few bad experiences with bad recruiters, so maybe what we need is better regulation and more stringent controls of who can become one. I have no idea how that would work, but there must be some ideas from the Recruiting Blogs brain trust.


What would the world look like with no recruiters? Well I think there would be fewer 1Series Sport BMWs in the world, but other than that I'm not sure. Would there be an even worse employment crisis? I was once told that the recruitment industry picked up speed after the 1st or 2nd world war (sketchy on the details sorry!) to help the returning soldiers find work. Now I'm not sure if that's true, but it certainly makes sense.

The recruitment world is changing for sure, there are more and more companies deciding to outsource their recruitment (I should know, working in bus dev for an RPO!) and agencies are seeing the light that we aren't in the good old days of easy fills from the 90s anymore. Over time, I hope to change my other half's mind. It's just annoying that I can't tell him his job is easy or pointless...he's in the army!


Views: 351

Comment by Bill Schultz on October 14, 2011 at 12:51pm

...And I think to myself, what a wonderful world....

Well thought out blog, Samantha.  We are definitely misunderstood and under appreciated.  I think our value comes into play not only as the talent finder (which is hard enough) but especially as the maestro, so to speak.  We are like that orchestra conductor, keeping things on a steady pace, making sure the horns come in on time and building for the crescendo.

 without us, it's just a bunch of noise.  

Comment by Samantha Lacey on October 14, 2011 at 1:12pm

Thanks Bill! Bit of a Friday rant for you all. I agree completely. We recruiters need to stand up to our critics. (still count myself as a recruiter even if I'm not actually doing the recruiting myself any more) We absolutely have a part to play and help companies and people every day. No point saying otherwise at that's just not true. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 14, 2011 at 2:28pm

Samantha this is terrific!!!  I totally agree and my husband thought the same way until I started recruiting in his industry several years ago and people started whispering to him about how they can confidentially get in touch w/ his wife.  :)

I think it's telling how people make the same complaints about lawyers and car salesmen yet people keep suing people and buying cars.  Speaking of BMW drivers...  :)  Excellent post my dear!

Comment by Samantha Lacey on October 14, 2011 at 2:35pm

Thanks Amy! Coming from you that means a lot, I'm a big fan of your blog. 


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