Towards a (definitive) divorce between companies and recruitment agencies?

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Towards a (definitive) divorce between companies and recruitment agencies?

To write this article, we spoke with several recruitment managers from small startups, large international corporations, and mid-sized companies. Telephone harassment, excessive fees, incompetence, dubious practices, etc. The conclusion is clear: a majority of them no longer want to collaborate with external recruitment agencies. We tried to understand why these companies are increasingly avoiding recruitment agencies and what solution might reconcile these two HR professionals ( Hiring managers and Recruiters), who must nevertheless work together to ensure the growth of companies.  

(Spoiler alert: we have the solution! )

Recruitment: The law of jungle!

There is nothing simpler than creating a recruitment agency. In theory, anyone can proclaim themselves a recruiter, start prospecting businesses, secure assignments, and contact potential candidates. Indeed, there are currently no regulations governing the access to the recruiting profession. In some countries (such as Belgium), you just need to register your placement agency with the public service, but this is a simple formality without any thorough verification.

Most recruiting firms handle the training of their new recruiters, and this process is usually quick. Some firms invest heavily in training their staff, while others prefer their employees to learn on the job. You can even find online "recruitment training" in just a few clicks, often offered at exorbitant prices.

As a result, the market is flooded with many recruiters who have no experience in recruitment and yet offer their services to companies. Most of the time, this ends up poorly: candidates who do not match the job position at all, lack of process knowledge, lack of professional ethics, etc.

These recruiters cause significant damage to the profession's image and to the practitioners who do their job correctly, as they are often lumped together with these mediocre professionals.

Are you a company looking for a recruiter who can effectively meet your needs? Click [here]

Are you an ethical recruiter looking to expand your network? Click [here]

Spam, spam and spam

One of the hiring managers we interviewed confessed that she no longer answers her work phone if the number displayed is not saved in her contacts. The reason? She is literally bombarded with phone calls from recruiters. When she posts a job advert, she receives up to 30 calls a day! Her professional email is the same; most of the messages come from recruiters and sometimes from the same agency with exactly the same content, down to the comma.

Indeed, a part of the recruiters' job is business development. In small and medium-sized agencies, there are what are called 360° recruiters. This means they handle business development, sourcing, and candidate placement themselves. In larger agencies, this part is entrusted to the sales department, which is responsible for finding and negotiating contracts with companies. It’s important to know that regardless of the agency's size, each recruiter/salesperson has targets to meet, including a specific number of calls/emails to send. If they fail to meet these performance targets, they get reprimanded or even fired. A recruitment agency is not a non-profit organization and needs to generate revenue; each recruiter must reach a certain level of profitability according to their seniority.

The 'staggering' turnover of recruitment firms.

It is often the case that cobblers are the worst shod. In the recruitment sector, high turnover is very common and almost the norm because recruitment agencies struggle to attract new hires. It often happens that, in some recruitment agencies, employees only stay for a few months. This turnover can be explained by the fact that recruitment agencies hire employees, often recent graduates, by promising them exceptional opportunities. But once confronted with the daily reality of the recruiter’s job, which is not always as attractive as they expected, these employees quickly resign.

As a result, we find ourselves in situations where human resources managers deal with multiple different contacts from the same agency in a short period of time. This means that companies have to repeat the same information to different recruiters multiple times, leading to a considerable loss of time and a certain level of frustration. The working methods also differ from one recruiter to another, meaning that adaptation is required each time.

Questionable Practices

Unfortunately, dubious practices are not uncommon in recruitment, although they concern only a minority of firms. Indeed, it happens that some recruiters cross legal boundaries to make a placement. One of the most widespread practices is presenting a candidate to several companies without the candidate's consent. When a company responds favorably to the application, the recruiter quickly contacts the candidate, pushing them to attend interviews and accept the offer.

There are also cases of telephone harassment aimed at poaching employees, even after they have clearly expressed their disinterest, as well as acts of industrial espionage and information gathering through identity theft, fictitious job offers, etc.

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that one should not generalize, and excellent recruiters can be found in bad recruitment agencies, just as poor recruiters can be found in good recruitment agencies.

 Agency fees considered as "too" expensive.

The remuneration of recruitment firms is often calculated as a percentage of the candidate's annual gross salary. This percentage generally varies between 15% and 30%, depending on various factors such as candidate seniority, country, sector, etc. However, this compensation model has led some firms to focus on the most profitable profiles, neglecting those that are less so, and sometimes inflating salaries beyond market recommendations.

The question of whether agency fees are justified is a complex debate without a single answer. In reality, it all comes down to perception. Many things seem expensive when we have to pay for them ourselves, but underpaid when we are the ones providing a service through our own hard work.

Nevertheless, every job deserves its wage, and the remuneration of many recruitment agencies is perfectly justified. It is important to take into account the numerous parameters and costs borne by these agencies. For more information on this topic, we refer you to our article titled: "How much do recruitment agencies cost?"

What solution can reconcile Hiring managers and Recruiters?

The reality is that companies cannot do without external recruiters. Even by hiring internal recruiters, they are obliged to collaborate with and benefit from the extensive network of recruitment agencies to fill their vacant positions. A report by Korn Ferry predicts that by 2030, there could be more than 85 million vacant positions due to a shortage of skilled workers. Working with placement agencies is practically a necessity, especially in an increasingly competitive job market.

Having studied the relationships between companies and recruitment agencies, we decided to create a platform integrating several innovative features to offer a coherent solution to the encountered problems. Hiring Notes is a marketplace that facilitates the connection between companies and recruiters so they can collaborate under optimal conditions and in a healthier environment for both parties.

The principle is very simple: a company posts an offer for free and anonymously by answering a series of questions, allowing recruiters to understand the type of profile sought and the company's needs. Recruiters then have the opportunity to present profiles they have previously qualified based on anonymous CVs accompanied by comments motivating the applications of the submitted profiles.

What are the features, the results, and the cost?

Here are the concrete features present on our platform that address the aforementioned problems:

- Anonymity of companies. This feature prevents HR managers from being flooded with calls and emails as soon as they post a job ad. Their relationship with recruiters is now managed on a single platform where they can communicate directly with the recruiters of their choice via an integrated messaging system. Please note, however, that you can always choose to remain visible by mentioning the name of your company in the description of your position.

- Profile Review. Companies have the opportunity to review various applications and choose the one(s) that most closely meet their expectations. They can also view the profiles of recruiters (LinkedIn profiles, websites, reviews, and recommendations, etc.) to judge if the recruiter's profile suits them. Furthermore, companies can decide to directly mandate one or more recruiters on the platform even if they have not previously submitted a CV.

Regarding the "profile review," we advise you to read our article attentively. "10 Things to Know Before Working with a Recruitment Agency" to help you choose the best recruiter for your open positions.

- Transparency on the terms of collaboration and management of costs. Companies provide all necessary and relevant information about the position to be filled, about the company (while maintaining anonymity), about the terms and conditions of a potential collaboration, etc. in advance. This feature allows companies to save time and control their costs by setting a maximum fee they are willing to pay in case of success.

- Ethical charter. To protect companies from any fraudulent or questionable practices, we have established an ethical charter that all recruiters must accept when registering on the platform. This ethical charter has legal value, and any recruiter who fails to comply with it will be permanently banned from the platform and could face legal action. This ethical charter is available for review [here]

Our platform is 100% free for companies, our business model is based on a subscription offered to recruiters for using the platform. 

How to register as a company or as a recruiter?

If you are a company, you can register now and post your announcement [here]

If you are a recruiter, you can register by clicking [here]

For more information about our platform, you can also visit our press or FAQ section.

For more information about our platform, you can also visit our press section.

Do you have any questions? Do not hesitate to contact us at