Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Tuesday January 15th 2019

Employment Agencies – How Effective Are They?

Employment Agencies – how effective are they? (Article published in Today’s Voices – 12 June)

Written By: Gilbert Goh

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I have seeked out employment agency’s services for jobs but so far they are disappointing to say the least. Some who bothered to respond always ask you to lower your salary range to ridiculous level or check whether you are willing to do something totally different. Most offered part time clerical work at around $5.00 an hour at that time. Many simply do not respond to you at all after asking you to send your resume. Even if you attend their interviews, many simply do not get back to you unless necessary. To me, employment agencies here all lack the personal touch and professionalism. They merely are interested to get the sales done up oblivious to the feelings of the jobseekers. As employment agencies are all very hung up on sales many employment consultants move on when they could not cope with the sales target and there is also no continuity of service here. One can often get a few consultants serving us over a short period of three to four months.

In Australia, employment agencies all operate very differently. They will email you back if you have any enquiry and will keep you updated on anything that matters to you.  They will also call you back if you have left behind a message on their answering machine. Their service is top notch and very personalised. I feel that they have my interest at heart. The same can’t be said of our own agencies.

The recruitment consultants here are mostly in their 20s and could hardly empathisize with those jobless workers who are in their middle-aged. They also could not understand the struggles a middle-aged worker has and could be insensitive when they coerce someone to go for another field of work totally different from his experience. AS their salary is tied to the correct matching of a potential jobseeker to company’s staffing, it is not surprising to see that a jobseeker is being treated as a figure rather than a person. Maybe there are too many jobseekers then and too few jobs available for matching. I am not sure but so far I do not have good impression of recruitment agents.

A majority of them also do not bother to reply or respond to your email and you are often left wondering whether you are being selected or not for any job interview. Messages are also left unanswered on the answering message. There is simply no service or lousy service if any.

It is timely perhaps for employment agencies to provide a more professional service to prospective job seekers out there. For starter, a formatted response should be provided for each email to any job opening. This is only rightful and is pure simple professional courtesy. Most simply do not respond and you wonder whether your email to job openings are received or not. After a few months, I have given up totally on relying on employment agencies for jobs.

Some recruiters who asked me into their office for interviews also were distasteful and unprofessional. They were dressed shabbily and some even in jeans. With the mushrooming of small recruitment agencies in town area, this industry certainly needs a shaking up so that job seekers do not waste time sending emails and going for unfruitful interview.

However there was one positive experience I had with a lady recruiter from a small recruitment company. Not only did she exhibited understanding and provided encouragement to me, she also took time to go through my resume and suggested some changes to it so that it appeared more professional in outlook. Though she did not managed to get me a job, I remembered her after all these years as she is the rare few that stood out from the many recruiters who did their job stoically but bereft of any emotions and compassion.

As I wrote all this based on my personal experience, some people out there may have a more positive experience from recruitment agencies than me. I am also not here to run down all employment agencies. I am sure some are well run and are professional in how they discharge their duties. I urge all job seekers to try all resources before they decide which ones are the more reliable vehicles for them to use when they job search. Remember to spread your resources around so that you can reap from several job search vehicles.

When you look back at the anguish, suffering, and traumas in your life, you will see that these are the periods of biggest growth. Many years later, you will be able to look back and see the positive things – togetherness in your family and faith that came out of your pain. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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19 Responses to “Employment Agencies – How Effective Are They?”

  1. Daphne Maia says:

    great article! u r definitely right in that a lot of recruitment agents are only in it for the commission, n matching the right person to the right company and right job isn’t really a priority for them, as long as they can convince the company that this is the right person for them, and they can convince the candidate that this is the right company n job for them too.

    that said, a lot of HR people out there don’t have sound recruitment practices either. i’ve seen my fellow HR teammates do things that i really have to shake my head at. but i really couldn’t say anything bcos they are more senior than i am, n i’m not doing recruitment.

    well, i think HR is something that is prone to a lot of bad practises simply because it’s subjective n depends on the HR practitioner’s (or recruiter’s) personal bias. can’t help it.

  2. admin says:

    Hi thanks for your post.

    I tried to email you but couldnt.

    Can you email me please?

    Thanks.

    Gilbert

  3. [...] is the original: Employment Agencies – How Effective Are They? Share and [...]

  4. Davidsiabs says:

    Yeah, Gilbert. It’s time that we bring some of these agencies to SHAME !

    Some so-called recruitment agencies are doing recruitment exercises for a totally unrelated purpose. Selling circulation details is one of them. Many years ago, I realised much to my anger during an interview at an office located in an upmarket complex that the agency was subtly promoting commodity trading under the guise of explaining the company’s profile to me!

    Incidentally, I’m of the view that many of us could actually come together to form co-operatives to operate some viable businesses in Singapore. Togetherness is strength. The fallout, if unfortunately so, would be minimal and affordable on an individual basis. I strongly believe that many unemployed out there have the talents that could be pooled together to turn ‘unbridled’ energy into a critical mass of unrealised strength and effectiveness. I wish to be counted if others share the same vision.

  5. BH says:

    I agree with the article. There is declining professionalism in the recruitment industry over the last decade as fiercer competition has led to increasing sales orientation amongst the industry’s practitioners. On not a few occasions I have been called, given flimsy job descriptions of a potential opportunity and have my expected salary haggled down ridiculously, and then not reverted to probably because the recruitment agent dropped me as quickly as he spotted me. In the whole process, one is made to feel like no more than a commodity devoid of feelings. What used to be an industry of consultancy calibre with all associating qualities such as professionalism, career guidance, patience, people skills, etc has now become more of a sales industry.

    We are all in a way commodities in the labour market. However, human capital deserves some basic respect and etiquette.

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  7. Lucy says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  10. mikki says:

    Recruitment agencies are only good at getting temp or contract jobs. Although I must say one agency I used last year got me a contract job for about 4 months actually paid me the same salary as my previous company before I was retrenched.

  11. silvia says:

    Insensitive and unprofessional HR personnel (including those from recruitment agencies) also add to the woes of job seekers. They lack compassion and understanding (when those unemployed need it most). I personally know a HR Executive who wears funky eyewears and dresses in loud and bright colors in the office. She looks more like a professional clown to me than a professional HR Recruit.

  12. DanK says:

    Hi Gilbert…

    Indeed as what you have rightly pointed out, the personal touch of professionalism is DEFINITELY lacking to an extent… As a service provider, there must be a listen-&-respond attitude instilled in the professional consultants. In this current era, many job seekers are unlike the last century, whereby they will employ the sit-&-wait for the consultant’s response as compare to the current waiting-for-your-commitment as to how soon the consultants can respond to them.

    Sadly to say, the personal touch of follow-up is seriously lacking or in fact, absent. However, its heartening to know that there are still some recruit firms who still practiced the follow-up trend faithfully & professionally with a added personal human touch.

  13. krity says:

    You guys should try out EPS Consultants Pte Ltd. They give excellent services and i’ve got my job thanks to them. Their Main company branch is EPS Computer Systems.

  14. Shawn Richan says:

    Intriguing Post…I had to take a look at it a few times,as i had many different views on the issue,and it would be interesting to see what others thing on the subject

  15. Philip says:

    Recruitment staffs are too young and they are a bunch of inexperience people.
    Many of them have bad attitude and bad manners.
    A real bunch of idiots.

  16. Kaley Telega says:

    This made me smile and hopefully after your last post it will do the same for you:

    Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen. :)

  17. Mae Parker says:

    Not only have you spoken out, but you have done so eloquently. If this is how you were treated, then those companies have hardly provided a service to you. Staffing agencies are in a great position to help both staff and employers. If they are not, they are missing a fantastic opportunity.

  18. Talented workforce today is the key differentiator that separates outstanding companies from the mediocre.

  19. caramello says:

    Japanese recruitment firm are the most professional of the lot I would say, they are polite and have a touch of personal wellbeing and I have seen lots of this Jap recruitment firm not charging candidate any referral fees at all and yet they provide a very good service to both the candidate and company, ensuring both parties will be satisfied with each other.

    Have used the service of this recruiters before and they provide wonderful service not just to the company but also to the candidate.

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