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How to identify an unethical recruitment consultant

Recruitment consultancies have an unenviable reputation

They have a necessary role, which is generally to do most of the leg work for businesses; however, for some recruiters, the main aim is to send people for interviews or place them in jobs so that they can receive the commission, regardless of a candidate’s suitability for the role. Here we look at how you can ensure that you are using the most ethical and – more importantly – the right recruitment consultant for your business.

Professional membership

Within recruitment, there are industry bodies whose role is to monitor recruitment businesses. They conduct audits across a wide range of areas, including staff development and customer service. If a recruitment agency is not a member of such an organisation, this is not a good sign.

Take up references

It is vital to get references about a recruitment consultant before you decide to use them. These should be unbiased and should include companies within your sector so that you can see whether they are successful at recruiting within your area of business.

Understanding your business

It is very important that any recruitment consultancy you use understands and has experience of your business or area of work. Knowledge of your industry is vital and will ensure that you receive the best candidates, as the recruiter will be aware of the skills and qualifications required to work in your sector.

Service level agreements

Once you have decided on a recruitment consultancy based on references, industry memberships and knowledge of your sector, you will need to enter into a service level agreement to ensure you will be provided with the best possible service. The consultancy will need to make sure it has an excellent understanding of your business needs and the agreement will help to ensure that it will meet these needs.

The level of service being offered should be monitored regularly. If a consultancy has ethical credentials, it should have a person in charge of ensuring that potential candidates are experienced, skilled and qualified to work within your industry. This could include interviewing potential candidates face to face, which is something you might want to insist upon before a candidate’s CVs is sent to you.

Regular contact

Any recruitment consultancy worth its salt should be contactable by you at all times, especially if things have not gone well with a candidate. It should be willing and able to speak to you throughout the working day, and occasionally out of hours if required.


However much you trust your recruitment consultancy, it is always a good idea to check any adverts placed on your behalf before they are submitted to websites, newspapers etc. Some consultancies will exaggerate, omit key information or simply lie in adverts to try to exact a good response rate, which is why it always pays to check.

Following these tips should ensure that your business is using a recruitment consultancy that is a good fit and one you are confident you can trust and rely on.

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