Recruitment Consultant Understanding IT recruitment consultants

How do recruitment consultants work?

Looking for a job can be a long and tedious process, made worse by rejections and the feeling that no progress is being made. To make things easier, many jobseekers will join agencies or seek advice from recruitment consultants, but if you’re looking for IT jobs then this may not be the best option.

Unfortunately, many recruitment agencies and consultants are seeking to pursue their own interests rather than those of the jobseeker. When a company places profit margins over the interests of the people, problems can arise.

There are a number of tricks of the trade employed by some agencies, such as posting vacancies that don’t actually exist. This is done as a means of collecting details of jobseekers, because by having a high number of jobseekers on their books they have higher chances of placing them into positions, thus earning themselves commission.

While agencies and consultants need CVs on their books, it is a decidedly unethical way of doing it because jobseekers think they are applying to a genuine job, when in actuality the position has been fabricated.

A natural extension of this is by making a job listing that covers a wide range of technical skills to entice as many people as possible to apply. For example, a job position may state it requires skills in database development, as well as web development. The two skills are not necessarily synonymous, but such a listing will encourage a wide range of applicants, which the agency can then keep on its books.

Going one step further than this, some of the agencies will request the details of their HR manager, under the guise that they need references. They will ask the jobseeker something like “Did you work for Joe Bloggs?”, which is a false question as they really want the jobseeker to reply in the negative and provide the real name of their employer.

The agency is then able to contact the employer to directly offer their services. This method leads employers into giving out their details, which the agency can use to snag more applicants, while the jobseekers think their details have been put forth to an actual job.

This is not to say that no jobs will be found for applicants; in many cases they will, but it isn’t necessarily the great position hoped for. For example, one well-documented issue is that the consultant or agency will assure the applicant they will try to secure a salary above minimum wage, when what really happens is that they will only give minimum wage to the applicant and pocket the excess themselves.

Not all consultants work in such an underhand manner, but it is good to be on alert and always assume that only the bare minimum is being done for your benefit. Once you understand that for some, their main motivation will be their own bottom line, you can utilise their services while proactively searching for jobs yourself, rather than relying solely on them.

Good agencies and consultants can do what they promise and assist you in your job hunt, but they cannot guarantee securing you a position. It is therefore always good to try to apply directly to recruiters or the company looking for new staff, which can be done simply by visiting a search engine to find their details and sending an application through.

Another great option is to utilise job boards, which we have here at EmptyLemon specifically for IT positions. The job board here does not post vacancies from consultants or agencies but from employers directly, so you always know you’re replying to a genuine advert.