Seven Deadly Sins of Recruitment Agencies

Candidates come in and out of recruitment agencies like parts on a conveyor belt. The only difference is, you are not dealing with inanimate objects, you are dealing with peoples’ livelihoods. The inclination is to give clients the five-star treatment and to give candidates the economy ticket. But no recruitment agency can afford to do that. It’s true, as recruiters, we are mining for the gold candidates but every person going to the trouble of reaching out to a recruitment agency should be treated with respect and care. A good recruiter should have a natural coaching ability and be able to give candidates direction and constructive criticism. This will help them towards a job they will thrive in.

  1. Not Responding

Recruitment is the business of communication. The very least someone expects is a yes or no reply. Recruitment agencies are synonymous with not replying to people, especially candidates, so stand out as the agency who replies to each CV, query, concern or question. Even if the candidate is not suitable for a role they apply for, common courtesy in the form of a reply is a dying fashion that doesn’t go unnoticed.

  1. Keeping them Waiting 

As a recruiter, you are the middleman who marries the client with the candidate. Although you may be waiting for a reply from your client in regard to a candidate, this is not an excuse to keep your candidate in the dark. Providing an estimate on when you will have an answer from the client will greatly reduce frustration and increase the likelihood that a quality candidate will stick with your agency.

  1. Getting Their Expectations Up

Sometimes a candidate can look like a sure bet for your role, but even the most likely bet might not get the role. Until an offer comes through, don’t get your hopes up and most importantly don’t get your candidate’s hopes up. You can be positive and optimistic while keeping your and your candidate’s feet on the ground.

  1. Doing All the Talking 

Learning to become a better and more active listener is an invaluable life skill and one which will help you become a better recruiter. Don’t assume that based on your candidates’ skills or experience that you know what they want from a role. Listen to what they express a genuine interest in. Learn to take note of tone and pick up on reactions. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter outlines that the three components in improving our listening skills are; being respectful, listening more than you speak and not making assumptions.

  1. Holding Back the Bad News 

Nobody likes delivering bad news but once a candidate applies and interviews for a job, they will be anticipating an outcome. If the outcome isn’t what they want, the way in which it’s delivered is very important. Provide the candidate with positive feedback from their interview. Deliver the bad news quickly and swiftly but be generous with compliments and share other potential opportunities with the candidate. Also suggesting a way that the candidate could upskill for their next interview may be just what they need.

  1. Only Pointing out their Improvement Areas

While it’s important to make suggestions on areas where your candidate could improve, be mindful of all they’ve achieved. Giving a candidate the confidence to go forward for a role could be the reason they get the job in the end.

  1. Not Saying Thanks

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”— Alfred North Whitehead. Saying thank you may not seem like such a big deal but not saying thank you will leave a bitter and long-lasting impression. Everybody likes to feel appreciated so don’t be sparing with this imperative word.



Meeting so many candidates can lead to a tendency for you as a recruiter to just tick the boxes. Get them in, get them out. Each candidate is on an important path so be considerate of their efforts and feelings, smile, say thank you!