RateMyAgency NZ - disturbing or brilliant?

Recruitment agencies often get a bad rap.  Many New Zealanders would rate them alongside real estate agents and other sales professionals in the popularity stakes.  My own experience has been varied, both from the candidate and employer side.  I have come across some great recruiters and some scum of the earth and/or incompetent ones.  On occasion, those “scum of the earth” ones actually delivered the results.

Getstaffed, developed by two Wellington guys, provides an online platform for businesses to connect directly with a pool of contractors, with no recruitment agency anywhere in sight.  Also check out Crackerjacks, which recently launched with a similar proposition.  Though this model is interesting, this post is not about the pros or cons of this concept or a review of these providers.  Specifically, this post is about the RateMyAgency page on the Getstaffed website.  

Warning: If you are one of the IT recruitment agencies mentioned on this page, take a deep breath now and maybe pour a glass of whiskey before you click through.  You may have fared well, but there is a high chance that the ratings and comments on this page may send you straight to the therapist’s chair.

Have a glance at the comments and ratings, including those directed at Getstaffed themselves (good on you Getstaffed for listing the feedback received from your service users).  Obviously RateMyAgency is providing jobseekers with an outlet to voice their views, whether positive or not-so-positive.  Quite possibly employers and candidates may think twice about their dealings with an agency after viewing RateMyAgency.  

A few things concern me however, as follows:

  1. Is it really appropriate for Getstaffed to operate this page?  Their service offer does not include recruitment agencies, and it’s not really in their best interests for agencies to be seen in a positive light - is it?   Would it be more balanced for say the RCSA or ITCRA to manage such a site?  
  2. I would predict that the visitors to this site may not necessarily be that endeared to recruitment agencies, possibly because they have had a negative experience.  This would negatively skew the feedback. 
  3. Sometimes, when a recruitment agency does a professional job throughout the whole recruitment process, an unsuccessful candidate gets annoyed and blames the agency and consultant.  Are we looking at some of these candidates on RateMyAgency?  Conversely, candidates that are successful at the end of the process are typically well-disposed to the agency.

Another approach to assessing the candidate experience is for the employer to ask a candidate directly.  This could be done at the interview stage or later stages of the recruitment process.  Questions could include:

  • What’s your recruitment experience been like thus far with the recruitment agency?
  • Have they been professional?  Responsive?
  • Have they worked hard to present you in the best possible light and find the best possible job match?  
  • Have they tried to understand you and your experience, skills, qualities, career interests?  
  • How would you rate them?  What would make them exemplary in your eyes?

There’s nothing to stop the employer asking an unsuccessful candidate (presented by the agency) about their experiences.  Questioning may provide some interesting insights.  Better still, incorporate the “candidate experience” into the Service Level Agreement documentation.

What do you think of RateMyAgency?

Paul Jacobs

59 Responses to “RateMyAgency NZ - disturbing or brilliant?”

  1. Suzanne Kendrick Says:

    It’s only a matter of time before all staff in all business will be able to rate their companies. http://www.glassdoor.com - has the tag line “Company Ratings, See what your Employees are Saying”.

    Web 2.0 and Social Networks will see this sort of information became more prevalent rather than less.Moral of the story,-do a good job!

  2. Paul Jacobs - Engage Says:

    Thanks Suzanne for that glassdoor link - I wasn’t aware of it. One thought re the CEO ratings is that one could be a very unpopular CEO but excellent in terms of driving the business - or vice versa. Does popular necessarily equate to effective?

  3. Jason Kemp Says:

    All these ratings need to be taken with the invisible strings attached. Yes they are self selecting samples - but that is how opinion works. The http://www.vault.com/ has been around for quite a while. I remember working for a large organisation and wanting to know about specifics of offices in actual locations - vault was where I looked for that inside info.

  4. Andrew Kissling Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your well reasoned post.

    In response to your specific concerns :-

    (1) We created RateMyAgency because nothing like it existed. We’d be really happy to have someone else operate this service. Any takers?

    (2) Agreed. I think it’s a human tendency to complain more vociferously that it is to offer kudos… which is a pity. As Jason mentioned, it’s how opinion works in the 21st century. And Suzanne’s advice is sage: Just do a good job!

    (3) This is similar to your point 2. Reading the RateMyAgency posts suggest that there is wide ranging dissatisfaction with the performance of many agencies. Poor communication seems to be a common theme. The good news is that this is easily fixed.


  5. Mel Frydler Says:

    RateMyAgnecy is great way to help weed out or to publicise the activities of the cowboy or cowgirl recruitment operators that seem to be popping up like mushrooms. We have seen a proliferation of junior “recruiters” who offer very little except for a laptop and mobile phone, orworking from a shared office space. Worse are the newbies who advertise jobs that dont exist, or those that dont actaully have any employer clients, who are “trying to get feedback about this industry”. RateMyAgency is a usefulltool in helping to expose these imposters. With RateMyAgency some of the scrutiny can now be focussed on those who claim to be professional scuiteneers!

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