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I have to be careful when writing this because there is a chance that if I give away too much information about which agency I am writing they will sue me. Hence, for the purposes of this opinion all names have been changed to protect the innocent (that is me).
I worked as a recruitment consultant. I apologise now and I know that I will need to do a lot of good stuff to stop me from going to hell now. You see the problem with recruitment consultants is as soon as they are given the job they have to legally hand in their soul.
Recruitment agencies are not a bad thing. In many ways they do a very good job and they do help people get work. This is why I wanted the job. I had hit a dead end in my career and wanted to feel that I was achieving something, not just for myself but for others too. I was offered the chance to join a small agency (Agency X) who already employed a friend of mine.
In my interview I informed them that I had no experience and was unsure as to what the job entailed. I was told that this was not a problem as they would give me full training and that I would be making huge money within a couple of months. I was ecstatic, I went home and told everyone I knew I was going to be rich including my employer when I handed in my notice. That was my first mistake.
On my first day I walked into the office all ready for my intensive training. I soon found out that this training involved being told “There is the phone.” Slowly I picked up from the other bods around me what I was meant to do. This is where I learned that my sense of morals would inevitably get in the way of my work.
I had to cold call as many companies as I could a day. I would promise them the world to try and get a vacancy. I was encouraged to lie and tell them that I had the perfect person for them even before I had started looking. This was hard but not the worst.
When we were dealing with candidates I found myself struggling. If you are using an agency to find you a job see if you can spot any of the tactics they have used. Candidates are the primary source for leads on new jobs. We would call people who had submitted CVs to us. We would promise them that we had thousands of jobs (lie) and that it would not be a problem placing them (usually a lie). Then we would mention a fictional job (illegal) and ask them if they were interested. If they were we would ask them who else they had applications in with just in case they had already applied. As soon as they told us who they had applications in with we knew the companies who were looking, what jobs they had on offer and the type of people they went for. We would be straight on the phone to these companies.
If someone supplied us with a CV that had references we were in our element. Firstly a recruitment agent does not respect a please do not contact my current employers statement. You see a reference provides the consultant with your bosses name (hence a contact high in a company), a phone number (no searching needed), and from your CV we know exactly the type of person they employ and what the job entails.
You see a common misconception is that the consultant cares about the candidate. Nope. They do not give a damn. Every time that you call them and they act like they were about to call you or that they are really glad to hear from you, they are busy trying to work out who the hell you are. When they promise you that they will look for a job for you what they actually mean is “If our search engine pulls up your CV in relation to a job then we will call you otherwise get lost.”
Then if you are submitted for a job they may try and talk you down on money. My agency would quite happily let a candidate think that they were worth ten grand less than they were if it meant commission. OK it does work the other way where they will fight for more than you are worth, but not often and usually to line their own pockets.
These were not the things I had the most problem with though.
I worked long long hours. Not because I had a lot to do but because if I did not the boss would be on my back. This meant I ended up exhausted and irritable to everyone. It nearly ruined my current relationship.
The biggest problem I had though was the drugs. These recruitment consultants thought they were starring in Wall Street. They would sneak off to the toilet at 10 am to powder their nose. The mood swings that rolled around the office were unbearable. Men hugging each other when they got placements and then punching walls if something fell through.
You need to be tough to be in this industry and I was not tough enough. You must have no soul and money needs to be your god.
I knew one nice guy in the office I worked in. He left the day after me. I lasted two months.