Why graduates need to be cautious when dealing with recruitment agencies

The immoral use of fake online job ads by some agencies luring graduates into handing over their CVs is becoming more common

The percentage of the general population classed as graduates has risen dramatically in the last two decades, from 17 per cent in 1992 to 38 per cent in 2013. You would’ve thought this striking growth would have made the lives of graduate recruitment agencies easier given the sheer number of candidates looking for work.

Ironically though, recruitment agencies in the current economy are finding it increasingly difficult to procure high-quality graduate CVs, which has prompted some recruiters to resort to unjust methods of adding and filtering the best graduates for their own databases.

When graduates use online job search engines, the majority of ads are posted by recruitment agents, and it is fair to say that most are genuine. However a popular tactic amongst some agencies is to post fake ads with promises of a “once-in-a-lifetime” role and requirements that “perfectly match skill sets” intended to lure candidates of graduate calibre to apply.

Once enough graduates apply for the “dream position,” the recruiter will claim to have submitted their CVs to the client. But many are fooled into thinking the recruiter will call back with good news about the role - and it soon transpires that this will not happen.

Soon after I graduated from the University of Winchester, I created an online profile on a few job sites and the calls started to flood in. I was excited to be offered an interview for one role and was led to believe the interview would be with both the recruiter and their client. After driving for 30 miles, I was naturally disappointed to find that not only was the client not there, but the recruiter seemed only interested in registering me with the agency, and wanted to know if any of my friends were looking for jobs. Afterwards it was obvious that they only wanted to harvest CVs.

After CVs have been added to the agency’s database, recruiters will often match candidates for roles based on a keyword search, and then contact candidates with an impersonal mass email. The setback with this method is the individual skills and experiences of each candidate are being completely overlooked, and quite often candidates are being contacted about roles which are not relevant to their search at all. This practice, undertaken by a minority of recruiters, has undoubtedly damaged the reputation of the recruitment industry overall. 

Eloise Lead, a final year speech therapy student at the University of Essex shares her hesitation of using recruiters.

“After hearing from friends about all the repeated phone calls and emails about roles which are in no way relevant to their degree or industry, I have been put off the recruitment industry. It just shows that the recruiters don’t take the time to learn about what kind of careers graduates are aiming for. As speech therapy is such a specialist subject, I’m hesitant about uploading my CV to certain job sites as I don’t want to be bombarded by recruiters contacting me about roles that are completely irrelevant to my degree or desired career path.”

Matching candidates to positions using mass emails to graduate addresses gained from the fake adverts is damaging to all parties involved. The recruiter makes less effort to get to know the candidate and will often put forward graduates who are not suited to the role. This is obviously a waste of time and an irritant for the client, thus damaging the reputation of the agency in question and the industry at large.

Angie Nicholls, head of compliance at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, the professional body for the UK’s recruitment industry, adds that there are steps in place to prevent immoral recruiting tactics from taking place.

“We have over 3,500 recruitment agencies within our membership, representing 80 per cent of the industry by value and operating in all sectors and regions of the UK. All our members have to abide by our Code of Professional Practice which very clearly requires recruiters to act honestly in all their dealings with people seeking work and that they must not knowingly make any false or misleading statements.  Our mission is to lead a professional recruitment industry and so we have a robust complaints process and investigate all complaints against members. I would recommend that graduates looking for work use agencies that are REC members, to be sure of receiving a service that’s in line with our code of practice.”

Luke Harper is Marketing Executive for higher education websites Whatuni and Postgraduate Search

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable