Have you ever had a bad experience with a recruitment agent? I’m going to take a wild guess and say that everyone reading this is going to answer with a resounding YES.

Having owned and run progressive recruitment agencies for the last 10 years, I am in no denial about the poor reputation recruitment industry has and I agree that there are very clear reasons for that. What is more disturbing is that this is not just a Hong Kong issue, but worldwide.

The obvious question here is – Kate – why on EARTH did you decide to make recruitment your career? The short answer to that is that my company is on a mission to change this narrative and to disrupt the recruitment agency market to such an extent, that it will improve the process for everyone involved.

Having been a recruitment agent myself, and now run teams of them, here are my top tips for spotting the good eggs (and yes – there are plenty of good) from the rotten cowboys.

Myth Busting

Firstly, having spoken personally to thousands of candidates over the years there are some misconceptions about what makes a “rubbish” recruitment agent.

Below are the most common reasons a candidate chooses to mistrust a recruiter

  • I went to their office for an interview and never heard back from them again!
  • They sent my CV for a job that sounded great and then radio silence
  • I don’t trust that company because the staff are always leaving
  • The job I took was TOTALLY different from the agent’s description

These are without doubt frustrating but they are not necessarily an indication of an untrustworthy agency. Instead, this is the reality of the broken recruitment agency model. We know this because it happens in every agency worldwide and not just a few.  With an average of 250 CV per advertised roles, unfortunately the current model does not give any agent the time to deliver the customer service that candidate’s expect

It is for this reason that The Executives has partnered  with HR Tech Intl in order to revolutionize  the traditional agency model, to use automation to increase efficiencies,  and to cater to candidates in the way they deserve.

So – if the myths above are not a reason to mistrust an Agent – then what are the keys to look out for ?  – see the top 3 below

  1. No Contact does not mean NO contact

A consultant won’t usually have the bandwidth to give you personalised feedback regarding your application. However,  you should hear SOMETHING from an agency you have spent time to interview with . That is generally via emails/whatsapp/text messages alerting you of upcoming roles and supplying helpful information.

If you don’t’ hear anything at all  that is a very clear sign that the agency does not have a clear communication strategy and is not putting candidate communication at the centre of their business.

  1. Transparency & Receptiveness

Because of the nature of the business, consultants are not always kept in the feedback loop with the client conducting your interviews. However, if you take the time to proactively follow up you should be put in touch with the relevant agent, they should have your profile and know your case. At that point they should openly tell you what they know. That may be the feedback from the client (if they have it) or an explanation as to why they have not been able to obtain it for you.

  1. Two Ears One Mouth

A good agent should be listening to you. They should be asking you specific questions that are relevant in the job search including  what you don’t want.

If you have said you are ONLY interested in working in central and won’t take less than 85k per month, then those are the roles you should be hearing about. If you are called regarding a job in North Point paying 25k per month then you know the agent has not listened, is not professional and likely cannot be trusted to find you your next great role !

Lastly – and not a specific point, but it’s always important to listen to your intuition. If you find that you get a certain “feeling” about an agency, be that through their job adverts or when you interview at their office – then go with that and make sure your future interactions are inline with this feeling.

So that’s it for my advice this month – please take a look here if you are interested in learning more about how The Executives is changing the face of recruitment.

For your interest we have provided a small selection of the live roles we are working on at the moment and guidelines for applications.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy year of the Tiger. Hang on in there everyone – Things will get better !