We do not really like (graduate) recruitment agencies and to be honest – besides these agencies themselves – we’ve never met someone who does. For one, because most of them are aggressive. But that isn’t really the problem. Here’s what’s really the problem.
1. They build barriers
Many recruitment agencies claim to build bridges between talent and opportunities. However, what they are actually doing is building barriers. It’s in their business DNA. They get a fee, often 20-25% of the salary, when a firm (their client) hires the candidate they introduced to them. In other words, when a firm wants to hire the agency’s candidate they have to pay (at least) a couple of thousand euros/pounds into the agency’s pocket. That creates a strong financial barrier between a (dream)job and a (dream)candidate. Put differently: the only bridge that they are building is the one that has big trucks filled with money driving over it… their way.
So, recruitment agencies are expensive. And from our own experience we can tell you that everything that is expensive, is everything a startup does not do. That – by the way – also goes for a lot of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and even large corporates. In other words: only a very small (“0,01%”) number of employers have the budget to afford hiring a recruitment agency. Chances are thus high that they will not connect you to that company that you would really love to work for, but rather to a company that has a sizeable recruitment budget.
3. They have the wrong incentive
Recruitment agencies are paid by employers and not by students (or candidates in general). That means that their interest is not aligned with those of students. This is also one coming from our own experience. This time as university students: One of our co-founders was enrolled in the talent pool of a recruitment agency and had no interest (at all) to work in investment banking. Nonetheless, the recruitment agency kept on (aggressively) pushing him to intern with an investment bank. No wonder… then they would have gotten a nice fee. This clearly uncovers their disregard for a student’s interests as opposed to their own financial gains.
Now, we might not like recruitment agencies: they do not like us either. Why? Because we have been disrupting their industry with our deep rooted philosophy that empowers students to explore and unlock their potential rather than sees them as walking resumes or a financial opportunity – a philosophy that does not contain barriers between the perfect candidate and a dream job or internship and a philosophy that allows students to connect with any company, whether this is a startup or multinational.