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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Recruitment Agencies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As some of you may know, I'm currently back in the job market again (a long story which I won't go into now - see the last few blogs if you're interested).  Anyway, that means getting the CV and cover letters up to date and customized for each job, applying for the type of jobs that I really want, and then trying to sell myself (which I hate) by going for interviews.

Depending on which way you look at it - fortunately or unfortunately, a lot of jobs out there are advertised through Recruitment Agencies. 

You'd be surprised as to how many of these agencies are out there today, it's a very competitive industry if you're thinking of starting your own little recruitment company. Sometimes there are two or more recruitment agencies competing to secure a candidate for one specific position.  I've worked at three agencies and I know a little about what goes on behind the scenes, and having recently been to a few recruitment or personnel agencies for interviews, I thought it would be interesting to compare a few of the best and worst in my opinion here!

The Good...

Kelly Recruitment
The only way to get your CV to this huge agency, is to apply for a job that they've advertised. You will get no where if you just send your CV and hope to get onto their database. You can fill in your CV on their website though. When I went there for an interview a few years ago, I was treated with respect, the receptionist was professional and friendly, and they had an organised centre set up for tests. The person who interviewed me was great, asked good questions and placed me with a big company.

Bridgena Barnard Personnel Group
What I like about this agency, is that you are personally met at the door with an application form to fill in. The agency is set up in a large double story house, so it is a pleasure waiting in the reception room (the lounge). Another nice thing about this agency is that they get back to each and every candidate who has applied for a position. Nothing better than getting an e-mail to let you know exactly where you stand, even if you were unsuccessful.

The Bad (Need improvement)...

West Coast Personnel
This company has a great website and I was very impressed with the way they presented themselves through it. However, this was not the impression I got when I went there for an interview recently. The reception I received was not very friendly at all, in fact I didn't even get a smile. The reception room lacked a lot, flowers would have been a nice touch, and then there was that big camera aimed at us waiting for interviews, and I had to wonder - were we being watched while we waited? Eerie. The person who interviewed me was extremely rude, he took three phone calls during the interview, was late and typed on his computer while I was speaking to him for 80% of the interview. By far the worst agency I've been to so far. Their personal attitude needs to match what they portray on their website.

Key Recruitment
Big plus to them for having a great Receptionist who offered me a glass of water, was very friendly and just the right amount of chatty. The reception room was nice, art work on the walls and magazines to read. I had a great person interviewing me and I got through to the client interview. Unfortunately, that's as far as it went - empty promises to get back to me after wards to see how it went, and after leaving a message she never got back to me. Not very professional, and quite disappointing to say the least.

The Ugly...

Now you also get the dodgy "recruitment agencies" out there who like to scam people by asking you to send in your full CV (usually by fax to an 086 number), get your details and never get back to you.  These are a few I've picked up on and

National Champs Services
DO NOT send them your CV. Unfortunately I think this is why I have been getting so many spam smses after I sent them my full CV a few years ago. I believe they are one of those agencies that sell off personal details...not good at all. This is not a company, they don't even have a website. You can't phone them as there is no contact number advertised, as well as no physical address. Ding, ding, ding!

RRR Link
Their adverts on gumtree come across so well, they almost seem too good to be true...and that's because they are! When they call you in for an interview,you are made to sit in a room with other people looking for jobs as well and listen as someone tells you how you can increase your chances of getting a job through them by referring more people! And then, you need to pay them a fee as well. What a joke! They advertise themselves as being an advertising agency in Durbanville mostly, located in Marais Street.

Finally, are these recruitment agencies for real?

I'm not sure about these two recruitment agencies. I've almost applied to quite a few of their jobs advertised on - again, they almost seem too good to be true. But, take a look at the sum total of their contact details and both of them don't have websites. If a recruitment agency does not have a website, it sends off big warning bells to me. Take a look...


Address:P.O Box 2971
Western Cape
Company description:  Southern suburb Cape Town based human resource services.


Address:PO Box 1815
Western Cape
Company description: General personnel agency.

Doesn't say a lot about them, does it?

Don't get me wrong, I have the greatest amount of respect for legitimate Recruitment Agencies - as I've said, I've worked for three of them and I'm actually very keen to get back into the industry. I just don't appreciate the false promises most of them seem to make, the ones that are only out there for that big commission and don't care at all about the candidates, and those scam artists out there who get people's hopes up and then make a fat profit from selling off personal details.  My advise is to just be careful with who you deal with, check contact details and make sure it's a legit company before sending any details. Check out their website and phone them.  I don't even put my ID number on my CV - just my date of birth. I give my ID number out at the interview. 

We all have to make a living and it's a very high presurrised industry, but there's nothing difficult about fulfilling a promise or being as professional in person as you claim to be on your website.


  1. Avoid the "recruit other people" places like the plague!!! My sister worked for one for a few weeks - it's a pyramid scheme thing. VERY DODGY. Shame hun, Have your tried Datafin yet? Good luck!!

  2. Thanks Cath, yes I agree fully - if you need to pay ANYTHING in order to submit a CV or get get a job, then it's a definite no no. Will contact Datafin, haven't tried them yet - thanks! ;)