Skip to the main content.

2 min read

Employers: What Your Agencies are Saying About You!

Last week we talked about employers top complaints about agencies – check out our post of most egregious cold calling stories ever heard. This week we promised to turn the tables around and today we’re posting the biggest complaints that agencies have about employers.

At BountyJobs – there is no doubt that we see a lot of interaction between agencies and employers. On our platform alone, there are over 5,000 messages pinging back and forth per day between the two. Some of the complaints from Headhunters are the usual, and quite predictable:

  • Fees that are set too low (15% fee for a director level candidate is not going to be worth my time)
  • Unrealistic or vague expectations (I need it tomorrow and poor descriptions)
  • Jobs that are pulled without explanation

Employers: sometimes Headhunters swear it still takes 10 days for information to get across the country via pony express.

But the biggest? Communication.

By far, the biggest problem agencies bark about is little or no communication from employers.

We’ve moved past the days of the Pony Express, but Headhunters say it is hard to tell. Here’s the top 3 things that Headhunters want to know.

What Your Headhunter Wants to Know

  1. Candidate status. When agencies send you a candidate, they are testing you. Get back to them in 2-3 days at most. Take a week, and they lose their candidate. When they think they risk losing candidates, you risk losing them as an agency. Ever wonder why agencies suddenly go dark?

    They didn’t get sucked into a black hole, often it’s because they’ve decided you take too long. It takes time and effort to source candidates, and they are sending them to other recruiters who will spend to them. A good rule of thumb to keep agencies working for you? Get back to your agencies within 48 hours.

  2. Where I’m off the mark. Feedback, feedback, feedback! If a candidate missed the mark, tell them why. Agencies understand if there are some things you can’t say, but just saying, “wrong background” doesn’t cut it.

    The best agencies will tweak their search from your feedback. Plus, providing good feedback will only improve your agency relationship for this job posting as well as future searches.

  3. HM feedback. To headhunters, this is the biggest bummer of all. They’re sitting there thinking, “My candidate was interviewed two weeks ago? What is GOING ON!?!?”. This is where you risk a Headhunter going rogue on you and cold calling your Hiring Manager (yes, the good old “Whack-a-Mole”).

    Newsflash: If their candidates was good enough to get interviewed, they’re good enough to get interviewed at your competitor as well. On BountyJobs we have what we call a “Candidate Wall” where employers and agencies can post messages, viewable only by the recruiter and agency, about the status of a candidate. Agencies actively seek out employers with a 1:1 ratio of messages sent vs. received.

Why it is Worth it to Communicate with Headhunters

In all these situations, it is important to remember that you want the agency working for you, selling the candidate on your job, not against you. The easiest way to do that? Keep them up to date and provide feedback. It will go along way in the moment and in the future of your working relationship.

There are employers that can succeed while not respecting their agencies; slicing fees, long periods of no feedback, and vague descriptions. But as we’ve noticed over time on BountyJobs, they tend to attract poor candidates and an unsavory reputation. Don’t be one of those.

Headhunters, did we get it right? Employers, how do you keep in touch with your agencies? Have anything to add? Post your thoughts int he comments below or join our conversation on Twitter.


From Unemployment to Wage Growth: 10 External Indicators That Drive Talent Decisions

From Unemployment to Wage Growth: 10 External Indicators That Drive Talent Decisions

We all know the feeling in human resources and talent acquisition—the constant need to stay one step ahead.

Read More
Quick Hires, Quality Talent: 6 Ways to Reduce Time to Fill

Quick Hires, Quality Talent: 6 Ways to Reduce Time to Fill

I'm sure this isn't a surprise—filling open positions quickly is super important to your organization, regardless of size or industry. After all, a...

Read More
Top 5 Terms for Every Recruiting Agency Contract

Top 5 Terms for Every Recruiting Agency Contract

Signing a contract is a big deal—especially when you're reviewing or signing on behalf of your organization.

Read More