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Candidates abusing recruiters

With jobs harder to come by, bankers are behaving badly towards recruiters and headhunters, who are suddenly unable to slot them into comfortable new positions.

“We’re starting to get a lot of angry emails,” says one structured credit headhunter. “Bankers are approaching us and questioning why we can’t place them in hedge funds or commodities businesses. They’re venting their spleens, but there just aren’t the jobs.”

“Candidates are more rude and obnoxious,” confirms the head of a derivatives recruitment firm. “We get a lot of emails saying ‘You guys are no good at what you do’.”

“Candidates have become used to getting what they wanted over the past few years,” agrees Adam Buck at recruiters Selby Jennings. “They were able to say, ‘I want to work in a macro hedge fund with x million under management,’ and we were able to deliver for them. That’s no longer always possible and people need to understand that the market has changed.”

Frustration might also have something to do with the fact that recruiters are no longer doing their best to accommodate everyone.

Zaheer Ibrahim at search firm Kennedy Associates says it just isn’t viable to spend time on borderline candidates any more: “The CVs we see are walking money. We’ll go for the triple and double As, but we can’t waste our time with people who won’t generate money for us in this kind of market.”

Comments (105)

  1. one solution, one word: expatriate

  2. ….they say they have plenty of jobs but most of them are just fake jobs! everybody knows it…they just contact you to get ur CV that s all

  3. seb, what do you mean by fake jobs?

  4. gto graduae student:
    An hh firm is either mandated for a search by a bank or sprays the market blindly with whatever CVs they are able to collect, sometimes focussing the spray by automatically searching the CV for key words (never a good indication of there being a good match between job and candidate based on this). If it;s the first case – cool – go talk to the HH – they will have a job specification (ask for it before sending any CV). If it’s the second case – which always happens no matter market conditions, but more so now there are few mandated searches out there,with HH firms becoming increasingly desperate, then BEWARE. You don’t want your personal details with 20 banks when they are not interested – for a number of reasons (eg may not look at you again, may make you look desperate etc etc) An HH may also want your CV for info collecting at a place you work at. Another no-no

  5. Unfortunately ‘anon, Derivatives’ and ‘seb’ are correct, agencies adopt exactly this approach. Those headhunters who work exclusively on a retained basis are far more effective.

  6. Beware of those agencies which advertise a whole string of jobs in one go – CV collectors extraordinaire. Also beware of recruiters who collect gossip and trade it. Stick to those who have years of experience, who once worked in the banking space and who don’t wear pointy shoes.

  7. All the recruitment firms I have met are totally useless, using unethical methods… They abuse you, you should abuse them!

  8. I mean that many jobs they advertise do not exist!!! **** (DELETED BY MODERATOR) is the worst ever…they call you just to update their records. They dont know what they are talking about, I remember i had to explain them what was written in the job description they had on their websites! honestly they really think we are stupid…that s the only agencies advertising tons of credit jobs and we all know that banks are getting rid of thousands of people

  9. “-Candidates abusing recruiters” : Well it is about time ! HH got away far too aften with their work practices. They don’t deserve much recognition whatever the market conditions. HR are huge cost centers for any firms and filled with poorly qualified people, and the HH industry, with its Low basic/high commission structures and practices make its employees more greedy salesmen than any sort of consultant/specialist and can only obviously attract or retain young agressive workers. London’s Finance HH usually lack dramatically of :
    – previous experience as practicians in the field they are recruiting or claiming to be specilists,
    – technical skills and maturity,
    – Culture, passion, and knowledge of the financial industry and financial markets as well as detailed features of various positions within various divisions.
    Consequently such people are indeed not able to match properly cvs and jobs or undestanding the meaning of what they are doing. Unsurprisingly : their approach to select candidates is biased by usual clichés. Should they be bright individuals possessing real analytical and sales skills, they would do something different wouldn’t they ?

  10. Agree with “donald duck”. HH are incredibly inept and notorious time wasters. Furthermore, their lack of maturity and professionalism is a serious concern.

  11. *** (DELETED BY MODERATOR) is the worst agency ever.
    They contact you proposing a job that you are not qualified for at all and they take the occasion to ask where you ve been interviewed in order to get some information to propose their candidates.
    That is their business model…beware!!!
    They are also the specialist of fake job advertisings.

  12. ohhh yes toddie – the firm name was deleted but bet i know who you mean:)

  13. I quote Zaheer Ibrahim (Kennedy Associates)from the article : “The CVs we see are walking money. We’ll go for the triple and double As, but we can’t waste our time with people who won’t generate money for us in this kind of market.”

    I think that through his statement, Zaheer summed up exactly what financial industry recruitment professionnals are. individual without any integrity or ethics (not to mention : knowledge) !!
    Needless to add any further comment when you read such rude, inconclusive, useless, dump
    and unprofessionnal statement!
    How more unprofessional than that can you be ?
    How on Earth can such person consider himslef qualified to have a relevant and argumented opinion as to what and who will generate him money ????? Jesus !! Pathetic. How can he know what and who will help him generate his miserable commissions if he doesn’t know anything about the job he is recruiting for, the skills required and a very limited knowledge of what his customers do exactly in the first place? I don’t get it.
    I guess that we can legitimatelly conclude that efficiency, professialism and Financial Recruitment Industry are oxymoron.

  14. Today’s candidate is tomorrow’s client – HH would do well to remember that. My experience is that there are an increasing number of “phantom” jobs out there at the moment and this practice damages the reputation of the headhunter in the medium term. Non “branded” job descriptions are a dead giveaway and dangerous put your name to. Just because times are tough, doesn’t mean you have to destroy your reputation to feed a desparate head hunter.

  15. thank you guys for info

  16. Toddie hit the nail on the head. I spent a better part of late 2007 wasting my time on them and of course them asking me who I interviewed with (info collection) and the jobs they offered me was nowhere near where I should be. I even had to explain one of the jobs they had posted to show I can od it. To top it off, I love when they know more than you do but never worked a day in the job before!

  17. Nice to see that consultants are being treated the same way that they treat everyone else! Can’t believe this has even made it as an article!!!!

  18. you lot try and be recruitment consultants, then try telling us how to do our jobs.

  19. I think Charles and Wizard make fair points. A lot of people refer to agencies, which at the contingent end of the market display little resemblance to search firms. Be assured that I still find professionals suitable for my clients, not the other way around. Its also noteworthy that more often that n not ill be speaking to a professional for 18mths + before I facilitate a move into a relevant role at a suitable juncture in their career and perhaps never move them but have meaningful 2 way flow of market intelligence – not gossip. IB professionals are right to be weary, but would I suffer rudeness? No and in return the individual receives a candid and effective process.

  20. I think it was rather ill-advised of Zaheer Ibrahim to say he only views people as walking signs. It may be true, but why would you draw attention to the fact that your firm is the paradigm of the flashy wideboy people see most recruiters as?

  21. Guys, I wish I could disagree with what you are saying, but I cannot. There are far too many ‘used car salesmen’ out there just looking to make a buck that won’t give you an honest answer and put a spin on everything. These types of firms give all of us a bad name and I cringe when I read comments like yours. However, if done correctly, recruitment is a very honorable profession when it is built on trust, integrity and relationship-building. All I ask is not to use a wide-brush approach to all recruiters and firms. Find the one that works for you and stick with him/her. The market is tight, and your search may take a little longer, but you still can get results when you work with the right contact.

    Zack – Banking MO Recruiter Reply
  22. There are good and bad headhunters/consultants out there, just as there are good and bad candidates.

    For every bad recruiter out there, there is a candidate who overstates their experience or has unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved for them in the current market.

    For both candidates and recruiters alike, it is a case of picking out the best to work with.

  23. If recruiters and headhunters are so useless guys, have fun finding your own jobs in the current market. We dont always get job specs (the top tier IB’s are often the worst at this). I would suggest the comments posted on here are by candidates who are struggling to find jobs given the competition for roles in the current market. From a recruiters perspective if I have a role and you are a strong candidate we will place you and place you quickly, however if you are a lower tier candidate with an over inflated opinion of yourself, best of luck and jog on!

  24. As a financial services recruiter, I wanted to make the point that not all recruitment companies are unscrupulous and unprofessional. Unfortunately the bad agencies get talked about, whereas there are in fact thousands of reputable agencies with great access to top tier banks and FS organisations, placing candidates in top jobs every day. I have great relationships with hiring managers in a number of sought-after investment banks and therefore get exclusive access to the best jobs well before the jobs are advertised. I can then pick and choose which candidates I feel are culturally and profesisonally right for each organisation. Companies trust me and my judgement, as do the numerous candidates that I have placed time and time again. So please don’t tar us all with the same brush!

  25. Recruiters (not HH’s) routinely behave inapropriately towards their corporate clients (sending undercooked duffers to interview etc). It’s with some amusement that I read that they are complaining.

  26. As a recruiter/HH/and ex banker myself I have to agree with all the “bad press” here. Too many recruiters have operated poorly for too long, however candidates and the banks themselves let them get away with it. As a candidate the bottom line is remember the recruiter is working for you. If they sound unprofessional or unknowledgeable in any way simply bin them and make sure they are named and shamed amongst your colleagues. I suggest candidates “test” a recruiter, ask them a few simple question about your work for 2 mins. Ultimately its your career, and its imperative you make sure the person representing you is doing a decent job.

  27. Donald Duck, Yes recruiters are money motivated, but so are our some of our clients.

    Before all recruiters get slated (albeit a lot of them should) for being short sighted seeing money over good practice, does sub prime ring a bell? And most front are hardly are the most ethical moralistic entities that I’ve heard of.

    Some of you are correct. A full search mandate does create better ethical practice, but most companies do not do this except for extremely senior roles. Is this the recruiters fault? Unfortunately a badly incentivised and structured HR process in large organisations and a bad qualification of agency selection encourages rogue behaviour.

    a respectable recruiter Reply
  28. As a recruiter with 7 years experience in recruitment, and before that 7 years experience working in various banks, it does frustrate me that our industry has such a bad rep.
    However, at the same time I dont think many of the larger agencies do any good for the industry and the reputation of recruitment consultants as a whole.
    Many agencies are short sighted enough to care more about call targets and how many CV’s are sent out to really care about delivering an empathic and useful service to clients and candidates alike.
    The desperation that many of these recruiters are acting with in this more ‘challenging’ market place will hopefully see many fail….and see the more experienced and see the agencies that offer a quality service (like me !!) thrive.

    Likewise, quite naturally in tougher markets the strongest candidates will survive. Hopefully I wont have to sit in front of a graduate with a 2.2 in Pottery and 6 months reconciliations experience telling me they will only move for a derivatives trading role for a while !!

  29. I’m really disappointed by the negative feedback from so many candidates above and never usually feel the need to comment after articles.

    I’ve worked in the contingency / search markets for many years now and know many people who work in recruitment who are outstanding professionals. It actually saddens me when I see such negativity about the recruitment industry (especially in finance). I would never let anyone who works for my firm do anything listed above and they would certainly be in line for dismissal should they do this and hide it from me.

    Please don’t tar us all with the same brush as it simply isn’t true.

    Dan (MD of a financial markets recruitment firm) Reply
  30. I’m a recruiter. You have to understand that in 90% of cases we don’t get any job description, just a vague job title or similar, so we have to guess what the client wants and keep on sending CVs until they pick one they like. Therefore, if you want to get a job you just have to send your CV absolutely everywhere. There is a better approach of course; choose 2 smaller (niche) agencies with good reputation which are likely to have good connections in your market and get to know their people personally – be nice and friendly and they’ll definitely take care of you. Otherwise, use your connections to find out who is the person responsible for hiring in the company you want to work for and make a call. Don’t blame the recruiters for not being able to find you a job – that’s their business, and if they can’t sell you at the moment it means there is no demand for your skills.

  31. One of the most laughable articles to date – some of those names of HH mentioned in the article are among the most notorious – I have had to use a false name to get through sometimes -remarkably they answer as they think they get another CV -their practices are so unprofessional that a bit of kick has to be the least they deserve

  32. there are a few quality names out there that you can trust, don’t push you and have a half decent understanding about what you do. But the cowboys out there are the majority unfortunately.
    I’ve had the company implied by toddiie and anon, sales and marketing offer my own job to me before!! (I work for bank X doing job Y. The recruitment firm Z calls me up and tells me about an opening at bank X doing job Y!) Genius!

  33. Seb: It’s true some recrutiers will fib – but you’re overstating the case. The majority of jobs are real, but if you use a pony agency, you will get stung.

  34. I would just like to add that the recruitment industry is a thriving one, with exceptional rewards for high performers, so some of us must be doing something right!

  35. Thanks for an enlightening discussion. I do not hear beyond the CV collection stage and most of the them are often rude.

  36. For fear of being shot down in flames I shall remain anonymous but please, please do not tar all recruiters with the same brush.
    There is a clear misunderstanding amongst many of you as to the difference between a headhunter/executive search consultancy and an employment agency. A headhunter is retained by the payment of up front retainers to act on behalf of a client/employer to find a person or persons for a specific job for which they will have an approved job specification. They will map out the potential market of candidates, present this and agree a longlist of candidates with the client and then approach potential candidates who if they are interested will be invited to meet the headhunter and then the client as part of a shortlist. The client will then select which candidate they like best and hopefully hire them in return for which the headhunter will receive the balance of his/her fee which will typically be one third of the candidates first years remuneration less the retainers already paid. For highly paid jobs the fee is often capped at a lower total than one third of remuneration.

    Agencies purporting to be “headhunters” spray the market with CVs!!

    Anon Headhunter Reply
  37. I think HH are good and have secured me my dream job. I feel the idea of HH being time wasters stems from candidates who arent getting called back or who arent getting interviews. Times are tough and only the best survive. If you are good enough you will find you job you are looking for and HH will want to work with you as they make money.

  38. HH are serious losers. I do regret spending my time speaking to some of these.. most notably principal search is the worst! those guys try to show off as the posh boys in town. i remember one of the guys kept calling me every week telling me how bad the market is. if he cant get interviews for people i wonder what good he is. i wish the whole lot of them gets fired..
    even worse are consultancies offering career advise.

  39. I would like to echo the comments of Zack who makes a valid point and bankers themselves don’t have a good reputation currently for integrity and honesty so it is wise to look beyond the generalisations. I agree that there are far too many “cowboy” recruiters out there, and we curse them as much as you do as it makes our job ten times harder. However, as intelligent individuals I would expect you to do your own due diligence before engaging with a recruiter to ensure they are specialists and reputable in your field and I assure you your experience will be a far cry from that of taking the lazy option and listening to the first person that picks up the phone to you. Please don’t also assume that to be an excellent recruiter you need to have worked in industry previously, I wouldn’t like to generalise and mention that many ex-professionals are indeed that because they were less than successful in their role, but it has been suggested! Successful long term recruitment is absolutely a skill in itself and many of the best individuals I have met in my career have trained from scratch in this field and taken the time to learn their market.
    I’d love to continue but my final comment must

  40. I am a search professional and see the validity of comments made by both recruiters and the disaffected candidates in a difficult employment market. In defence of the better recruiters (which are by no means some agencies or bucket shops)whose practices are well documented, I would say that we do see candidates as future clients if they are treated with honesty and try to serve the reputational interests of our clients in fair dealings with prospective employees. The markets necessitate our having to be rigorous in selection of applicants for assignment shortlists mainly for reasons of opportunity cost. Constructive comments for candidates as follows. As a rule headhunters will approach you. Beware of any firm that is willing to represent you without meeting first. Try to stick to more experienced recruiters, those with a track record have survived previous markets due to service levels. Pick firms with specialist teams that match your skill set. Use networking events and research the job market as much as you can. Graduates, the best approach is to talk to employers direct via internet, many now have very effective online recruitment programmes. Good hunting.

  41. All recruiters are unethical, unprofessional and mass mailshot your C.V.? You are embarrassing yourselves (not me)with your sweeping statements!

    I have worked in financial recruitment for 15 years and I refuse to send a C.V. to a client or prospective client without permission from the candidate and establishing there is a real position in consideration. Get a real recruiter and give them some repect. I respect my candidates and I can’t do what we do and they certainly couldn’t do what we do! If you have been disrespecting your recruiter then no wonder they disrespect you and you get a rubbish service from them.

    John – Recruiter Reply
  42. Donald duck, what is the problem with Zaheer taking a rational view of his profession? They are intermediaries and are there to shift product, why expect them to think any differently from your friendly, professional, ethical stockbroker?

  43. Vick – Trader… Your message clearly highlights my previous points – could have been written better by a 10yr old. As for us all losing our jobs – I think you will find we (or at least those of us who work for reputable firms and are successful) are secure whilst it is people in your position who are being fired. Who’s enjoying the champagne now!

  44. wow what a long thread – and yes i did have time to read it, not busy sending out random cv’s or creating ficticious jobs, or avoiding calls from people calling in with false names (why that chap bothered to do that i cant fathom out). instead i am concentrating on advising my clients on who they have in there teams who are considered as valuable commodities and on those who if they had to let go, they could. I am helping people who have been made redundant try and find avenues for interview – often telling clients that they wont need to pay a fee if they hire,
    above all iam concentrating on cementing relationships, waiting for the upturn which one day will come. On top of that trying to complete what might possibly be my last 3 search madates of 08, which with the clock ticking and the window closing is looking more and more unlikely. what am I – a headhunter – i believe all business is based on realtionships and knowlegde and the primary rule that good people will always work for and with good people…alot of the threads come from the not good people section of the city…
    heres to a long summer

  45. If you look at it Quantitatively, its the old 20/80 rule. Unfortunately this means that there is a whole load of 5h17 to get through until you met you a decent HH.

  46. The simple fact of the difference between headhunters and recruiters is in the title. A headhunter approaches you and should have an idea about what they are working. A recruiter has to advertise because they are clueless about the area they work in and can only generate candidates through lame ads on job boards. Use your own networks to find out which are the headhunters in the know and avoid firms with large numbers of ads on internet job boards. We all know who they are!

    Business Manager, Investment Bank Reply
  47. I agree with George, we always work on building client relationships and exactly that good people will always work with good people. I was a trader for 17 years and now run my own recruitment business, I have had bad experiences with head hunters in the past and have learnt by those experiences and now simply do the job the right way. That said there are still good recruiters out there as well as good candidates but on the other side of the coin there are bad ones and at the same point bad candidates.

    Anonymous Head Hunter Reply
  48. I was placed in a great job last year by a recruiter/small firm that I would definitely use again – having been dicked about by a smarmy twerp at one of the more generalist recruiters. Therefore I’d agree with the fairly obvious statements made by a few here: there are good’uns, and there are bad’uns. Choose carefully and you won’t end up with your CV all over the City.

  49. All this negativity about HHs is justified… their is no smoke without a fire… a vast majority of professionals in the financial industry will agree that 19 out of 20 headhunters are hopeless… precious few are the ones with the real contacts and relationships … and which hence drive Maseratis

    Agree with the negativity around HH Reply
  50. Some recruiters are incredibly poor at what they do. Even though some people may say different. Look around and learn quickly, so as to avoid disappointment. Basically, it is a case of trial and error. You will not know a good HH/recruiter until you had a bad one. Just take my example, I was badly messed around by this one agency in particular – they always asked me about other roleas that I applied for and never offered anything themselves. Entertainingly enough, a very senior colleague and former head of Risk claimed that he had good experience with them. Not to say that they kept sending him one half-baked candidate after another for six months. Nevertheless, he stuck with them. In the end, of course he did not get his person through them… Never again will I deal with such timewasters and pure info collectors. Good recruiters are out there, and the bad ones will eventually be singled out and doomed. So, do what you have to do and let everyone around you know about the particularly useless ones.

    Guns ‘n Roses Reply
  51. Its high time the HH firms became mature in finding appropriate jobs and adopted professional means to help in appropriate placement of candidates rather than just contacting candidates for resumes and then saying the positions are not suitable or require a experience the candidate does not possess

  52. I can’t count the number of times these Donkeys have lied about their so called “opportunities.” One particular firm will never give you an agent’s contact name. They just give out a generic name like Peter@XXX.com. When you call the office whomever answers will put you onto Peter…and its never the same person. Then they try to suck information out of people. WE have to blame the institutions that use their services.

  53. They are all *****. First time I used them i was impressed, until i discovered all their tricks and lies…

    1) they all say they used to be star traders.
    2) they make up jobs that dont exist.
    3) they have actually dared to brin me in for an “interview” and all they did was ask about people i work with.
    4) then they take this info, and keep name droppin as if they know everyone! “hey so hows john… hahaha that tom sure is a character”. and its funny how when i go back to tom and john they have no idea who these people are.
    5) one of them kept tryin to squeeze info out of me, and prolonged it by repeatedly saying the company i applied for is considering me. then they told me that i didnt get an interview. then the next day, another agency i had given my cv to DID get me an interview (and i got the job), which means the first agency didnt even forward my cv.

    what a charming bunch of people.

  54. I feel that some of the blanket generalisations that various people on this thread have levelled at the recruitment industry are not without some merit. However in my view the feelings of those who have had their fingers burned by unprofesional and sometimes unethical recruitment practices, should be tempered by a realisation that there are some in the industry who try to differentiate themselves from the vast quantitities of ‘jack the lad’ cowboys. Sucessfull recruiters are those who truely understand the benefit of candidate management. They attempt to offer there candidates (and clients) a bespoke, reflexive service, tailored to their needs that delivers them small amounts of high quality individuals. The bottom line is that recruitment is a relativly simple process that is only complicated and made more difficult for those us who try to conduct ourselves in a professional manner by those firms and individuals who do not do so.

    Simon Lightman Reply
  55. The vast majority of people know who the disreputable recruitment companies are and yet they still speak to these people. It is not the fault of good recruiters that people get burned by sharks when they choose to swim in that particular pool. It is pure greed in the same way that everyone complains about Foxtons yet when it comes to the crunch and Foxtons say they can get that little bit extra for your house people only see the signs. Hubris.

  56. I agree, they are all posting fake offers. This is not difficult to know they are fake but they think candidates are stupid

  57. Who exactly is forcing you to use HH/recruitres!? You don’t like them – go get yourself a new job yourself! If your capable….

  58. A very instructive thread and I’m sure it won’t be long before the spotlight of the mainstream media focuses on the practices of the HH industry. Bottom line for me is to avoid the large organisations and find a bespoke selection agent (mandate based) to work with in partnership. There are pros out there as evidenced by some of the contributions to this debate. I have recently had a very poor experience with a big recruiter – I had some former colleagues at a Bank waiting for my CV, to support my application for a role with one of their peers, via a HH who assured me that I had been put forward for the role. My CV had not turned up, so I spoke to the HH and he accused the Bank of dithering, so I then phoned and asked my former colleagues what the hold up was, they were not impressed that they had been accused of indecision or that my CV had excluded – I suspect the HH had probably put me on his “duff” candidates list but he lost a potential hire and lost his rep with the Bank. It’s all about relationships and even “duff” candidates have access to a telephone and former colleagues that rate them. Reputations are hard won, but easily lost. As for the role, it was eventually withdrawn

  59. three words only: waste of space!!!

  60. here is my two-cent take on headhunters (which really only repeats most of what has been said) in general specialised across different areas of banking which a lot of banking employees share… 19 out 20 are absolutely hopeless
    – The vast majority can’t tell the difference between roles in front office / middle office, or sub-fields within IB vs. Sales, Trading, and Research
    – The vast majority tell you they are going to speak to so and so about you, but never bother getting back to you with feedback
    – Don’t take the career advice/guidance of headhunters too accurately if you work in a bank, you already have access to first-hand information regarding career-related issues

  61. Fully agree with the fact that there are some very bad HH/Recruiters out there. You go in and meet them, spend a longtime expalining to them what you do and what you are looking to do for your next move then they give some totatlly irrelevant job spec. They then try to put some spin on the job spec to make look like what you are looking for.

    I would ask what there experience is in the financial markets. You’re telling them what you have done so why cant they? If they are talking rubbish then walk away and advise colleagues friends about the HH/recruiter.

  62. Part of a common cycle: when times are good, recruiters will place even lousy candidates to firms where they are making money hands-over-fist. The managers are so blinded by prospective bonuses many times their salaries to care.

    Now things are more challenging, the recruiters just can’t find the jobs to give to these guys. The inferior recruiters, despite all the self-praise on their web pages, DON’T have contacts in the ‘industry’. They just rode the wave during the boom.

    This will resolve itself in a couple of years and the mediocre office operatives will get to ride the coat tails of the next boom.

  63. Collecting CVs after posting non-existing jobs is known as CV harvesting. This can impress future clients when they come in to assess a recuriter. Look at all the candidates we’ve placed and have on our books!

    Apart from pointy shoes, watch out for the ‘geezers’. These are salesmen types who don’t really have a profession or a set of skills – a bit like estate agents. They always raise their collective heads during the good times.

    It’s happened before and will again….

  64. “….and filled with poorly qualified people”

    That’s most, repeat, most of the people who work in offices in finance!

    In the absence of manufacturing, we have a population of ‘spreadsheet operatives’ who just collect wages for turning up and chatting about Big Brother

  65. the very worst are those who purport to have product knowledge and then have the audacity to verbally test you – even though you have never met them before. once i was in front of this moron who got all confused when we talked about binary options. it was so embarassing, i quickly made my excuses and left.

    Peregrine Blenkinsopp Reply
  66. Right, here’s my advice on how to successfully use a HH and make sure you get a good service:
    As a candidate, it’s your job to actually test/assess the recruiter’s knowledge in the field you are looking for. If you’re in FI, test him by asking him for the names of the 3 biggest FI houses for example.. We’re really brokers, and as such we should know our products almost better than our clients and candidates. So test them and ask for their track record. Check out the names of some people they’ve placed. It’s also better to deal with a specialist in its field. Insures better coverage and knowledge of the market…generalist/high street agencies should be avoided. Ask if the mandate is retained. It’s a v good sign if it is.
    Explain clearly what you want and what you don’t want. Agree on some names that you can be introduced to and then chase the HH once a week or something. HH deal with a LOT of people, so sometimes not giving Fback is just forgotten…

    HH is no rocket science. It’s easy to do but not simple to do well

  67. HR departments are directly to blame. They are staffed by lazy ‘seat warmers’ who are too lazy to put together good specs and advertise in selective outlets. As long as they get paid….

    This is a reflection of how most of commerce is run nowadays.

  68. Most headhunters sadly are not able to determine when candidate could be strong for a position, even if they had not done that job in the past. I was ignored for positions at FoHFs, despite my confidence that my risk, sales and trading background was perfect for the area. So I charged off on my own and landed the perfect position FoHF which I now manage.

  69. I saw *** (DELETED BY MODERATOR) has commented here- talk about epitome of unprofessionalism- they hung up on me when I called them out for pretending to be interested in my candidacy when in fact they were only trying to get names out of me. What slime. Now I’m managing a fund and trust me, I am going out of my way to tell colleagues not to use them! Payback sucks I guess….

  70. Agreed that retained searches produce quality. Unfortunately, you have up there in salary to get their attention.

  71. Pick the right one then…useless seems a bit harsh considering the money lost over the past year by your institutions…

  72. Would anybody like to share a ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for a headhunter…’ story? And by that I don’t mean unemployed.

  73. Amused:
    You are probably an HH and have no understanding why. comparing apples and pears. Don’t compare what we do and what you do.
    My advice – use only small boutique firms else, if senior enough, you’d know enough people in the market not to have to use these guys anyway

  74. Headhunters / recruitment people have not just “lost” billions of pounds for their respective firms fanning the flames of a global recession. And bankers have the cheek to say we are not good at our jobs. Although I am sure most of the “professional” bankers on here will claim it was someone elses fault.

  75. Lots of mud slinging going on here but it’s not rocket science to recognise that there are (some) exceptionally good, talented professionals working in both recruitment and in banking and finance. (A few have even worked on both sides of the fence).
    Conversely, it is for all to see (but hopefully not experience)that there is also a number of shockingly awful people operating in each industry.
    Ditch the bad, identify the good, get to know and trust each other and who knows, it might even be to mutual benefit.

    Banker turned Headhunter and no pointy shoes Reply
  76. In front of me is Service Level Agreement recruitment documentation from three HR departments of ‘top tier’ City-based financial institutions.
    Judging by engagement terms being imposed on recruitment suppliers (opportunistic in current market conditions?), a reference to peanuts and monkeys springs to mind.
    Maybe some of the responsibility for poor recruitment standards lies at the door of such venerable instiutions?

    Anon and Irate Reply
  77. Headhunters should be honest. Fair enough if there are no jobs around it is hard to place people. But from my experience, they frequently and intentionally mislead candidates into believing that they can help them .. However, their real interest in speaking to most candidates is to source information about who is in the market, and information about who you were working with.. etc etc , they are using this quiet period to their advantage by trying to improve their database of people in the market and information about the firm which you are working for. Its wrong and deceptive

  78. I totally agree with Seb. They are posting jobs which they are not recruiting for, simply to draw people into applying in order to look at CV’s. Its a joke. I had the same issue, where I had to explain the job profile to the recruiter. Is that normal?! He told me the role had been filled, and a week later when I asked why he was still advertising it he told me that he had sent my CV forward but was waiting to here back still. This is a clear deception and I think there should be tight regulations in the recruiting field to control this issue. Its misleading , and candidates are left with no other choice than to trust them with their personal information.

  79. All people ever do is whine about recruitment/HH firms. guys you are all grown up and really is it that hard to control a process of meeting with a HH/ recruitment company and working out if they are any good, or have any good jobs – you don’t buy your double glazing from the first person that calls u up and says he is the best. In every walk of life u have to deal with fakes/bogus people, people/firms that are no good, but guess what – THAT IS LIFE. Having worked for a number of HF’s it is fair to say i would n’t invest my money with them given what i know… the perpetual critism of the recruitment industry is so boring – yes there are alot of cr*p companies/ people out there. So it is simple – deal with people with a good company name behind them and then u can’t far go wrong

  80. most HH firms are scum, and treat candidates like rubbish. Sadly, they forget that we DON’T forget, and are often on the buy side as well. Hmmm, who am I going to give a mandate to? The guy who mucked me around, or the guy that took my call…? Most of them can die slowly as far as I’m concerned.

  81. i think i can be the best recruiter ever..its not hard cos i’ll be competeing against some real clowns! maybe its time for a career switch!

  82. We provide a valuable service to those worthy of it. If you are unwise enough to abuse a Head Hunter who over the years has successfully networked around all the financial institutions in the Uk, is on top of all movements in your market, and is always made aware by managers in your field when they are looking, you may be missing a valuable opportunity to benefit from their connections.

  83. People believe in their own apparent greatness and live their lives accordingly. When they’re laid off they panic and want the same/more money based on the above. Even the mediocre make money in a boom. It’s not really the fault of the recruiters if there’s no market for your ‘talents’. If you networked in bars/social events instead of trying to come across as the new Warren Buffet maybe you could do your own headhunting. That’s how it used to be before we got lazy and thought we could just drop a few names of companies instead of admitting that most of us just turn up at office jobs and do clerical stuff.

  84. There is a terrible wastage of talent in the U.K. recruitment is now very much in the hands of marketing types working to short term sales targets. Why not give up in the City? Take the train to Mongolia and start there afresh in derivatives. Dont speak mongolian? Well learn it and better the guys on the 7.15 into Charing Cross.

  85. The different comments of HH make you feel sad for them. Once different companies will create their expertise and/or begin to recruit directly without any intermediate, the work place will be completely different. Just few years for your aggressive arrogance and high knowledge of each job profile details and specialities. HHMS: HH Market Squeeze! Patience after, Q: try to find a job in a company where the interviewer recognises you? A: Who spits at the sky it falls again on the face!

  86. Charles, Accounting: How true. I went to Japan to travel and found myself moving from IT to futures trading. Back in the UK no one wanted to know. Agencies and so-called headhunters, bragging about their contacts etc, were less than worthless. Now I’m trading from hotels in warmer climes. Not been to Mongolia, though!

    Those who take risks will be rewared many times over. Think I’ve forgotten how to tie a tie!!!

  87. how naive to suggest that HH/recruitment companies will in effect become obselete – that will happen when we all start buying our products directly from third world country and by doing so by pass every supermarket/ shop, start ordering our electrical equipment direct from a chinese warehouse and buy our houses directly from owners. With this attitude we would put 100,000’s of people out of work… Well done

    ex banker turned HH Reply
  88. This is all ridiculous – when have any of you actually worked at a Recruitment Company/Headhunter to be able to understand fully what we do???? These kind of comments do not help anyone.

  89. toddie’s right – i can tell exactly who you’re talking about. i used to work there and ‘leads’ are part of the training. they have special note pads for it with all the details you are supposed to get. and all those calls from them ‘touching base’ with you…? just looking for more leads. NEVER keep your nice friendly agent who called to wish you happy birthday up to date out of the goodness of your heart! tell your agency nothing about where you’re interviewing – they’ll just find comparable or better candidates and send them over. all jobs that lie with agencies are open until filled so unless you’ve got a signed contract in your hand don’t even tell your agent when you actually get a job by other means!

  90. There is truely only…the following that describes the ‘headhunters’ agencies…
    They have a parasitic relationship with HR…who do exactly..hmm what?
    No doubt we all know? they send out..Thank you for applying and we will keep you on our records letters….all day!!

  91. I’m a headhunter with several prior years in the markets working for a mandate driven firm. I think it is sad to see such comments posted on here but needless to say I would bet these are the bottom quartile performers who were let go in the current restructurings. It is clear to see when dealing with candidates, that the more successful, mature and “market savvy” they are, the better they behave towards recruiters. Meet, exchange information, and in return get the best service and most help from us in trying to find a beter opportunity. Word of advice, if we don’t know you, you’re not in our system, you won’t take our researchers calls and you act arrogant – you have less likelyhood to get any help when you need it. Unless I know it’s a sure money bringer, I don’t even put forward candidates with bad attitudes. Just a word of advice in a difficult job market!

  92. Excluding maybe a few bunch of people, HH is an industry that could be eliminated.
    Personal experience: wasted 4 months (meetings, calls etc) with HH and recruitment agencies. In the end, I found the job I wanted thanks to my personal network, and this is the way we should always do (changed because I wanted to work in PE). I spent a lot of time explaining basic things that they should know already, and I had the impression they don’t know anything about finance, they don’t have any clues about the skills needed in a specific job.

    But in the end, let’s be frank, it is our fault. We became too lazy, we don’t want to pick up the phone to call a former colleague or to do some personal research…this is what happens in booming markets.

    Also, if we need to recruit someone, do you really need to hire an HH? I think it is enough your assistant to sort out CVs. Here is the same, we became too lazy to spend 1h per month to read CVs or networking with people. HH exist because of our laziness.

    Now that I am working in a hot sector…the same HHs contacted me to have some references here…I won’t give my money to them.

  93. Most of the opinions vented on this forum resemble the truth. Some HHs/recruiters are great, especially the ones that work on a retainer basis. That said, many newcomers do resemble carpet salesmen and have no idea what they are talking about, or who’s who on the market. In the long run, the carpet salesmen and the firms they represent will not survive.

    Rosso e pelato x sempre Reply
  94. People should not be getting angry with their respective agencies. There are a number of big houses in the market that are advertising for roles and interviewing but have either not got sign off for the role or have a headcount freeze. I have attended 3 x interviews for AVP/VP roles with 3 big houses in the past 2-3 weeks and to date have had no feedback from them at all. At first I did think that the agencies were not doing their jobs, however it seems that these big houses are mucking candidates around and not letting them know what is happening. So my message is if you have not got sign off for a role or you have headcount freezes then please let the agencies know so that they are sending candidates for interviews for no reason. These are peoples lives they are playing about with!!!

    Name will be supplied if requested Reply
  95. Headhunters get a lot of stick here…
    Which is fair enough, since most of us only stop short of being war criminals not because of ethics but because we’re wimps too.
    But whose fault is that precisely ?
    Even the most basic due dilligence will show up the names of the cowboys, google is a good start or Wilmott.com will name and shame.
    Firms routinely engage HHs who they know for a fact are entirely unprofessional. One large HH sent so many unsolicted CVs to a large investment bank, it caused problems with the email server. They are still a preferred supplier to this bank. If you encourage this behaviour, you will get more.
    Dominic Connor, headhunter of old London Town

  96. “Anon and irate” has a valid point.
    It is particualrly bad in IT recruitment where employers simply will not pay for anything that even resembles a service. Do the maths.
    Typically 5 CVs from 5 agencies.
    Say 15% of first year salary
    1/5 * 1/5 * 0.15 = 0.006
    Say a base of 80K, so the agency gets 480 quid on average.
    Just how much time do you think that buys ?
    That’s got to cover understanding the job, maintaining the database, chasing invoices, leaving about 5 to buy a coffee for a candidate and check he has the right number of heads.
    This is of course why my firm does not do IT recruitment, but similar numbers apply elsewhere.
    A while back a large client “persuaded” us to find some spreadsheet development people. We did it properly, they were sat in front of an Excel expert who gave them a laptop with Excel, MSDN, etc and got them to do realistic tasks.
    In effect we lost money on that one.
    The market is of course always right. Fact is that the banks basically want a tap on a hose that spews CVs, so in much of the market that is what they get.

  97. To all candidates – disgruntled or satisfied. Go and visit the website: http://www.hirescores.com which has been set up for people wanting to make comments about their experiences with recruiters.

    Ms Professional Reply
  98. i had no nice experience with HH, but the problem is some companies just don’t post job openings on the web. if i have no friends working there, how can i know there is a vacancy?

  99. I do find it very sad that HH’s and recruiters are held in such poor regard by candidates in the marketplace. There are those out there that work very hard for their candidates and will always go the extra mile – but then they aren’t called consultants for nothing. If you want an transactional service then you use a transactional agency, if you want someone that kows the market then you have to deal with the fact that sometimes they know best and can advise you what the market is doing. Sometimes this is news poeple do not want to hear, hence the abuse.

    Sad but true.

  100. Candidates abusing recruiters…HA i would not recommend it but …

    To say I have any sympathy for recruitment agents is an understatement. I am sure not all of them are unprofessional but a great deal of them really take the Jaffa Cake. How can you advertise a job that never exist , call candidates back who apply and then call the company the candidate still works for to pitch for your current job that you have not resigned from . Or call your employer up for a reference when you have not secured a job for a candidate? How do they sleep at nite? (I know ….Horlicks and Cadbury Hot chocolate usually does the trick)

    Then again not all of them are like that …its a relief

  101. Head-hunters are worse than estate-agents because they hold the one thing which is critical to your reputation – your CV.

    I’ve made the mistake in the past of trusting these trolls, and I found out recently that one punk was still emailing my CV around from 3 years ago.

    My advice is insist on meeting them (they buy the coffee), and don’t tell them a thing unless they’re prepared to meet. In this kind of market, they may well be inundated, but you can explain your CV over the phone (without specifics). Time to play hardball and weed out the incompetence that’s filled the city with dross for the past 5 years

  102. I’ve had variable experiences. The basic agencies are the ones to avoid, as they have no real expertise and tend to focus on the bottom end of the market, filling back office or assistant-type positions. These are the ones who’ll blast Email your CV to all and sundry. Even then, some agencies don’t seem to know the business, and you have to explain what an equity analyst does, for instance. It is pretty obvious who are the real professionals. The worst thing is all the hype you read about the jobs they advertise: all their clients are invariably “top tier” banks, and I even saw a ridiculous comment stating “only top-ranked analysts need apply”! Head-hunting is all about selling a product to firms hiring, and persuading them they need the candidate in the first place.

  103. Word of advice candidates, if we don’t know you, you’re not in our system, you won’t take our researchers calls and you act arrogant – you have less likelyhood to get any help when you need it.
    In a market flooded with candidates, unfortunatly we really do pull the strings and won’t even put forward uncooperative candidates. If you have a bad attitude with us, do you think we want to sit you in front of our clients and have that reflect badly on us?
    And as for “making up jobs to get CVs”, don’t you think in this market we have more than enough CVs?
    Its not that we dont want to find you a job, we do, but our obligation is to our clients (they pay our bills) and if non of them need you, what can we do?

  104. Dear all, I would like to comment on the piece by the GTO Graduate student. You need to scope the market and use your instinct on which head hunters to deal with. You seem naive and even the worst recruiters will pick up and that and take liberties. You should deal with a real, credible Headhunter who has the biggest and best clients in the market you want to be involved in. Also, graduates can be just as annoying, you spend year after year in school, sorry……. “university” and when you graduate you expect Headhunters to pander to your every need. The truth is, as a graduate, the fee agencies will receive from placing you doesnt even pay the overheads for one Headhunter, so why do you expect that you would be top of the list.

    a Real Headhunter Reply
  105. A rolling stone is worth two in the bush, thanks to this artlice.

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