recruitment bun fightAn experts thoughts on using too many recruitment agencies to work on a single position, by Rhys Williams Managing Director of Sigma Recruitment Ltd.

For more than 10 years, I have recruited manufacturing professionals across a wide range of skill sets and industries, within the South Wales area.

One of the biggest issues I encounter is companies involving too many recruitment agencies on each vacancy, below are examples of clients thought processes and my take on the situation.

Many companies utilise multiple agencies for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few of the arguments we hear and why they are fatally flawed:

  1. We spread the net wide by using 4+ recruitment agencies per vacancy. This means each consultant has only a 25% (or less) chance of filling the role, remember consultants are paid on success. In my 10 years plus experience of managing recruitment teams this is a very demotivating situation for a consultant and they don’t produce their best work under these conditions.
  2. We use 4+ agencies to create a balance in the supply chain. A lot of specialist successful recruitment agencies won’t get involved with vacancies where there are 4+ agencies working on the position. Some will be honest about this others will not leaving you to think you vacancy is being worked on when it is not!
  3. 4+ recruitment agencies means lots of consultants scouring the market for me? Probably not, once agencies find out that they are competing against lots of agencies, you won’t get the same level of time and effort spent on your position.
  4. I like to use 4+ agencies because they all advertise on different job board. Some aspects of this can be true but in the main what happens is the same job is posted on the same job board many times, this really puts candidates off applying, creates the impression of a desperate and disorganised company struggling to fill a vacancy (a bit like a house for sale with several estate agents boards on display).
  5. Using 4+ agencies creates competition. This means better candidates for my company. Not in our experience as this situation encourages consultants just to fire out CV’s to beat the competition, quality often goes out of the window and a let’s send them (candidate) just in case mindset comes in.
  6. Using 4+ agencies has worked for me in the past. What are you comparing this to? Have you seen how slick the process can be working with one specialist agency, devoting weeks of manpower to finding you the best candidates on the market without you having to shift through dozens of CV’s.

More pitfalls of multiple agencies:-

How many agencies should you use?

Most of the time it makes sense to select one specialist supplier who has a proven track record of filling the type of position that you need to recruit for.

If you need to use more than one supplier, I would suggest using a tiered structure (i.e. go out to more if the first agency fails to deliver).

I have also written a guide for how to select a suitable recruitment agency; the guide is written for the Cardiff market but applies throughout South Wales. Read the Guide to Selecting a Recruitment Agency


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