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The Multiple Agency Trap

5 February 2020

Ok…here goes *deep breath aaaaand exhale*…working with multiple recruitment agencies is HARMING your hiring process!

Good, phew! I’m glad I got that off my chest!

Wait, you want reasons why this is the case? Ok, so, this is an honest viewpoint from someone (ie me) as a previous outsider…now in his first full year in recruitment on why recruiting this way (or at least attempting to) is damaging your business.

Don’t take it personally, this is an opinion piece after all, so it’s completely subjective…it would be interesting to hear viewpoints on this…so feel free to comment away on the back of this article.


So, here’s why it’s really not giving you the benefit you think:


  1. It’s all about speed

Think about it. 5 agencies, all recruiting for the same role, you’ve basically admitted that you’re happy with getting the quickest CV you can, rather than the best. So it becomes a race to send you ANY CV as soon as humanly possible.


  1. Candidates get ‘turned off’

When a candidate has been called 8 times in a week, hearing about the same role, being given different information from every recruiter, they lose interest. The job is completely devalued. They know it’s a numbers game. It’s the recruitment equivalent of everyone’s favourite cold call ‘We believe you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault…yadda yadda’


  1. You job is nearly immediately devalued

Ok, I have 5 jobs I’m working on, two are exclusive…so obviously I’m paying close attention to these. One is me competing with a couple of agencies, so they will still get a great deal of attention from me and it’s an opportunity for us to prove how we work versus other agencies. Last job is a multiple agency job…yeah, that’s most likely going to the bottom of the pile, job ad is posted and if something decent happens, then I’ll get in touch with the client.


  1. You’ll get hounded

You’re busy, you’ve placed the job ad, you’ve gone through the hiring process but yet…nothing, you’ve been counter-offered, ghosted or just can’t find the right fit for the business and this critical hire needed filled weeks ago. Understandably, time is against you. So why are you answering call after call or email after email, from multiple agencies who are looking for a quick fee? THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR BUSINESS! They also have no idea of what you want, why you want it and it’s a complete waste of your time.



So there you go. Maybe instead of spending a week or two agreeing on fees with multiple agencies, fighting a bidding war, receiving poor CVs and being pestered through phone calls, emails, social…spend a week researching several decent agencies. Find a couple you think can GENUINELY help you. Invite them in for a chat (coffee and a selection of biscuits is always a winner) agree on a fee and reasonable deadline and let them actually work FOR you.


Spending a little time initially with a few good agencies is far more beneficial than tearing your hair out dealing with more than a handful at a time.


What is it they say again? ‘Quality over quantity’?



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