Recruitment agencies are wasting company time by sending
unsuitable and under-qualified applicants for interview. Research
by Sophos, the UK's largest anti-virus specialist, found the direct
approach yielded five times as many successful candidates as those
put forward by recruitment agencies.
In an exercise to compare direct applicants with recruitment
agency candidates, Sophos personnel staff found the agency success
rate to be 1 in 60 against 1 in 9 of those who sent their CVs
Almost half of the rejections made by Sophos were due to
exaggerated applicant capabilities from agencies. One, for example,
highlighted extensive C++ programming skills on a candidate's CV
which turned out to be a two week course at university.
"We know there are dynamic and qualified people out there, it's
just a matter of finding them," said Paul Ducklin, head of research
at Sophos. "I'm sure competent recruitment agencies exist, but
unfortunately our experience has been one of time and effort
wasted. We urge candidates to send their CVs directly to us because
we can be much more confident that it is all their own work and
that they have a genuine interest in the job they are applying
"Agency commission can be as much as 20-30% of the candidate's
first year salary, and is, from our experience, generally
undeserved," added Ducklin. "For this amount, surely you have the
right to expect more than a faxshot of a few dozen candidates whose
CVs contain a couple of keyword matches with your job
Other problems emerging from the survey include a lack of
presentation and preparation advice given to interviewees. One
agency also re-arranged an interview four times in one day without
informing the candidate.
Sophos recently announced an expansion programme to create 100
jobs over the next few years.