Recruiters have a bad rep. Which is very frustrating for those individuals who work hard, build up good relationships with their candidates and receive positive feedback.

So what’s the issue? It seems that, these days, everyone has had a “bad experience” with a recruiter. Negative word of mouth spreads like wildfire, especially between contractors and freelancers.

The reputation of a recruitment agency relies predominantly on the words and actions of its recruiters. One bad review can quickly tarnish your agency’s reputation, as well as that of other recruiters.


Here are six common complaints about recruiters, and how to avoid them:

“I got to the interview and the role was completely wrong for me”

A common complaint amongst candidates is that the role was sold to them incorrectly, and they were left feeling frustrated post-interview. Without the right information, your candidate will be set up to fail in the interview. They won’t be able to prepare for the questions without an accurate description of the role, and they might not be a good fit for the business.

Alongside the job itself, here are five things you should also discuss with your candidate before the interview stage:

  • Work environment
  • Opportunities
  • Brand values
  • Business innovation
  • Feedback

You can read more about these points here, including what to say and why you should say it.


“They clearly haven’t read my CV”

Sending any job that is remotely related to a candidate’s experience comes across as a clear sign that you haven’t taken the time to read their CV. Scanning your eyes over it for five seconds does not give you the information you need to make a well-informed decision as to whether the role is perfect for them or not.

There’s a lot of tech out that is designed to help with this process, however, whilst it does remove the time-consuming process of reading through a pile of CVs, it isn’t able to correctly match the candidate to the role. Combining this tech with the process of categorising CVs in a way that works for you is the best way to correctly pair your candidates and clients.

There really is no excuse for sending the wrong kinds of roles to candidates. It’s off-putting and you’ll find things will go quiet their end.


“Recruiters put you forward for a role, and then you never heard back from them”

This is one of the most common complaints shared by candidates.

There’s nothing more frustrating than being contacted about a role, spending time discussing it on the phone and over email, being told that you’re being put forward for the role, and then never hearing from the recruiter again.

It’s a waste of your candidate’s time. If they’re currently working, they will be finding the time to step away from their desk to talk to you. They’ll make sure they get their CV and/or portfolio over to you a quickly as possible. If you don’t follow up, even with bad news, they’ll remember it. And they’ll most likely share this experience with their friends and fellow freelancers, e.g. your future candidates.

The issue is made worse when they have to chase the recruiter for feedback, only to hear nothing back. This is one of the quickest ways for your agency to end up being blacklisted.

Keeping up a good stream of communication is so key to your reputation and success as a recruiter. When liaising with a candidate, here are some things to keep in mind


“Recruiters say they want to hear from contractors, but never reply to messages”

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for networking, recruiting and building your pool of candidates. The ability to reach out to a lot of candidates via one post makes it easier to fill a role. However, a lot of candidates are starting to feel negative towards this approach, as recruiters often end their posts with “Get in touch if this role is right for you”, but never reply to any messages.

Again, you are wasting a candidate’s time. They make the effort to read your posts in detail and send you a message, detailing why they’re the right fit for the role. It can seem like a time-consuming process to reply to them, but if you invite the messages, you should reply.

It should be relatively easy to work out which ones are right for the role, based on the information they share with you.

For the “No” pile, you can create a more generic response thanking them for their enquiry. And for those that fit the bill, pick up the phone and give them a call. If they’re not right for that role, you might find that they match another.

And if you find that you’re just receiving a lot of unsuitable CVs, you may find that your job spec needs rewriting to better define the role.


“They said they’d call me at a certain time, but completely forgot to”

Your time is valuable, and so is your candidate’s. If you schedule in a call with them, make sure you stick to it. As we previously discussed, they may be working and stepping away from their desk to speak to you. If you leave them hanging with no explanation, chances are that they won’t be too bothered to rearrange the call.

If you are unable to make the call, you simply must let them know. Even if it’s a quick email apologising and suggesting a different time, they will understand and be more likely to want to speak to you at a later point.

Communication is key, especially with your candidates. A quick phone call goes a long way, even if you don’t have an answer or major update for them at that time.


“It’s clear recruiters just want to make commission”

Candidates aren’t stupid. They know when they’re getting a generic response, empty promises and a complete oversell.

They also know when a recruiter is just in it for the commission, and doesn’t really care about the candidate’s skills, experience and requirements. And this is really off-putting.

Remove all the recruiter-isms and have a genuine conversation with your candidates. They’ll appreciate it.