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£15 Billion Wasted on Recruitment Survey Reveals

Firstly a big thank you to all 1,569 people who participated in the survey, where I asked “who feels they are in the right job?

The results were quick startling but it has taken me a while to fully appreciate the implications of these results. I have to say I was really surprised.

So what was the result?



So what are the implications of such a result?

Well for one, it means that companies wasted £15.47 Billion with recruitment agencies in 2013. 

Companies spent £26.5 Billion with recruitment agencies in 2013. If 58.38% of people feel they are in the wrong job, then it means that more than half of the time agencies got it wrong.

I don’t know about you but I think £15.47 Billion is a lot of money. Do you think there is a better way to spend that kind of money? I suspect so.

And remember that’s just the money spent with agencies. The chances are that a few more billion were spent by companies dealing with their recruitment directly.

If the direct costs run into tens of Billions, then the indirect costs must be over 100 Billion.

Indirect costs would include, the training costs, the management time, the loss in productivity, the absenteeism etc. . .

What does it mean to Employers

If your people feel they are in the wrong job and that there is something else they would be more suited to, then it’s very difficult to get the best from them. In essence you are looking at lower productivity and performance than might otherwise be possible.

Productivity affects profitability and competitiveness, so it’s downward spiral.

You are also likely to experience low engagement, high absenteeism and high staff turnover.

In short, poor recruitment goes straight to your bottom line.

What Does It Mean To Individual Employees?

Unfortunately this is a Lose:Lose scenario.

If you are in the wrong job then you can’t thrive and prosper. You will struggle to give even an adequate performance, never mind an exceptional one.

It’s hard to get promoted or headhunted when delivering an average performance. stress1

On a day to day basis, you are likely to be frustrated and bored. You may even find it stressful and we know that that stuff can kill you.

So what Should Employers Do About It?

Well quite simply you need to a long hard look at your recruitment process. You need to look at the candidates you are attracting and you need to look at your selection process. I suspect there is a skills shortage and a training need.

Let’s face it, if you just tossed a coin you would guess right 50% of the time. That’s an 8.38% improvement already. However I think you can do a lot better.

This is a billion dollar problem. So invest some money and some time into to solving it.

And What Should Individuals Do About It?

These results echo my own experience of the world and one of the largest problems job seekers have.

Quite simply, stop applying for the wrong jobs and you will stop landing the wrong jobs.

I know it’s easier said than done and I don’t mean to sound insensitive. However it’s a really common problem. Recruitment agencies contribute to this problem by sending you along to completely unsuitable jobs, simply because they need the commission. You don’t need to go to every interview an agency suggests.

Better still take control of your career and actually pursue something that you actually want to do. It takes the same effort to land a crappy job you hate, as it does to land a job you will love. It may require a different skill set and approach but it can be done. Go over to and see where I have helped others land their dream job.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • allison dunne August 14, 2014, 3:56 am

    I think a lot of recruitment agencies are poor and at the end of the day it’s about placing the candidate even if their wrong for the job. I’ve also attending very,very bad recruitment processes lack of information, phones ringing not reading my C/V. People interviewing are poor in quality themselves they are rude and have an over inflated ego..! Ive been very shocked at the poor standard of interviewers one recently turned up in jeans spoke like she was very bored of doing the job ie recruiting for a new position.
    Her tone was bored, flat and she said several times she wasnt impressed with the whole “looking for people, thing” She had interviewed too many applicants and it was clear by the job specifications that no clear process was thought through about this newly created position and they frankly didn’t have a clue.
    It was also a temp contract and the clock had already started ticking into two months due to the fact they didn’t have a cluedo what they were looking for! I had to inform the agency it was a temp job as they didn’t know he also admitted they didn’t have a clue what they were looking for.
    I also attended a job interview for a well known phone company I was kept waiting 40 mins, the second interview her phone rang constantly and she took calls. It was badly structured and the two people running this were dreadful.
    He asked me very poor questions, worded “how would you react to this and that” which was too open ended it was almost laughable. I did inform the interviewer that due to the lack of information I would be unable to answer with confidence but if he wanted me to create a more conclusive question I would gladly answer for him. I did he praised me for my answers, none were asked about the product it was a very poor process.
    They were giggling and acting in a very unprofessional way I found the whole experience fairly shocking that this is acceptable behaviour for representative to conduct themselves in this manner. I later found out they were agist as a recruitment company and it seemed I was just bums on seat despite my research and excellent quality answers to poor ill advised and delivered questions.
    When Ive attended interviews I found some people take the opportunity to be aggressive and almost bullying the candidate its fairly shocking how moor these people are at recruitment.
    I did have one interview with a lady who had read my C/V with a fine tooth comb she questioned my motives and changes in career and gave me a grilling this was for a very HIGH BROW company a name I wont mention. This lady had done her homework, she was tough and she asked some tough questions but I felt she had read my C/V was interested in me as a candidate not bums on seats to justify her role. She actually offered me the job within half an hour of me leaving and more money as it was a contract. She was tough and difficult to work for but I admired her forthsight her inspiring innovation and her methods. Personable she wasn’t the best but she was supportive and tough and shot from the hip and I did admire that, she was a good advocate for me and supported me and encouraged me to get involved with as many projects as I wanted and I did.
    She had excellent judgement and was a strong lady in her own right it was hard and a pleasure to work for her and I produced some very good work as her guidance was exceptional.

    But that was some years ago and a maternity contract I covered until they shut the offices and moved them. But since then Ive been fairly shocked as how bad some of these companies are at recruitment.
    They spend days and long days on assessment centres, tests and interview after interview and do they get the best candidate – well I don’t think so. I find these tests are subjective and the people who dream them up paid an awful lot of money.
    Surely people who recruit people should be savvy enough to know when they have a candidate in front of them that is good they are good!!
    People can have bad days Ive known this when I attended an interview assessment day for a very big world wide computer company I shone head and foot above all the candidates and I breezed the day with everything I was on top form!! It could have all been so different!
    Again due to an agency mishandling the whole contract and lying to candidates people were left high and dry and the contract didn’t go ahead till some significant months ahead without being told the truth.
    I just hate it when agencies lie to you about a job, ie terms and conditions the face you aren’t the strongest candidate and your in a pecking order so that the one person they know fits the bill will look all the better for you being cannon fodder..
    I think recruitment is a mind field I think employers dont invest enough time and choose agencies to do this for them who dont always have anyones interest at heart accept for their own.
    I’ve contracted most of my life being self employed, employed and paye as its called today. I think its good idea to even go to a job interview for a job you dont want its good practice but Im quiet wary of agency recruitment as Ive been treated in a poor way lied to and used to create the best situation for the agency to get paid!
    Do I think companies get the right person sadly it is emotional and subjective and on the day the best person in the room can have a bad day!!
    Think companies need to ensure their criteria is right first off and that their requirements for the job are outlined correctly especially when using recruitment agencies.
    Ensuring questions are good quality questions and relevant and sexist and personal questions which are against the law are not uttered Ive had sexual comments passed to me whilst attending a one to one interview I didnt take the job with the italian guy who felt that joining me on the other side of the desk and sitting so close to me our knees toughed and kept wanting to hold my hand whilst saying we may have to spend some time away from home and be booked into a hotel…!!! was going to make me want to take the job!! surprise surprise he offered me the job! but I didn’t take it …!!
    All in all Ive had a mixed bad of recruitment over my time but I would say all in all it’s been fairly poor. I also have no idea why recruiters are so aggressive and have this looking down on you attitude …!!!???
    Think the whole process is a mind field but I would say the whole process in my opinion has been very poor i’m shocked as too how many companies have no idea how to recruit or even ask questions to glean information or pass to some of these agencies whereby its bums on seats and a numbers game!! very direct sales!!
    Ive had companies say well just alter your cv and put this and that on it. And even say can you just not go to the interview as they would like to meet you … even tho Im not interested in the job im surprised that it is only 50 plus I would say its a lot, lot higher more like 80 percent because ive come across a lot of people who shouldnt be in the roll they are in!!

    • Martin Gibbons August 14, 2014, 4:35 am

      Alison, I appreciate your detailed comment. Thanks for sharing as I am sure what you say resonates with many.

      I invite employers and agencies to reply.

  • recruitment consultant August 7, 2014, 4:36 pm

    At the end of the day because jobs are few and far between people are very focused on finding
    the right person. They provide an open line for communication during the entire process and this increases the speed and
    reliability with which they deliver the services. More than the course of my career as an Executive Recruiter, I
    have labored efficiently with hundreds of candidates and have
    aided them to secure the position that they desired.

    • Martin Gibbons August 8, 2014, 12:15 am

      Thanks Nicole. There are good agents and not so good agents. How would you respond to some of the I issues raised in these comments?

  • Dominic August 1, 2014, 2:30 am

    I am 44 and have a disability , have worked for 20 years in IT and cannot get a job .
    Agencies fall into 2 categories , the bulk version and the more traditional . The bulk version so keyword scans and fire cv’s off the traditional tend to talk and find out more BUT both try to hide as much as they can about jobs to try to prevent other agencies poaching their commissions . This is understandable but it leads to inaccurate descriptions and misleading adverts and wasted time effort and money for the candidates . This is part of the problem but I do believe that its a small part .
    Companies lie about what they want on adverts , either jobs don’t really exist or they are after something else and use the adverts to tempt people in and hope that they are desperate enough to take what is actually offered . Companies wont employ anyone over 40 or disabled and rarely produce honest adverts .

    • Martin Gibbons August 6, 2014, 4:17 am

      Again, I invite employers and agencies to reply.

      My objective is to see employers put the right people in the right job more often. This is good for both employers and employees.

      However if the recruitment process is filtering out candidates over 40 and candidates with a disability, then we are starting with smaller, poorer pool.

  • Dennis Warrington August 1, 2014, 12:16 am

    Hi I have just been reading all the comments that have been left, I am 62 and in the last 10 years have studied for and achieved a Diploma in Mananagemnent with a distinction, all to no avail.
    All I get told by agencies is quote: We didnt get your CV, you do not fit the criteria, you live to far away ( let me be the judge of that ) and nobody has the guts to tell you that you are to old, even though it is illegal. I would rather know the truth.
    There is on agency that told me my CV was not very good, even though it was published by the NationWide Building Society. It took about 2 hours going though it with there agency to produce a top class CV.
    I am now on pensions credit,s and doing voluntary work at the hospital coffee shop near where I live. So you see if your time is free somebody wants you and I get a lot of personal satisfaction from going there at least older people appreciate me.

  • Kate July 31, 2014, 4:05 am

    I am 59, a master in management and training, ad can’t even get an interview, even when a job posting is ideal for me. Recruiters are not getting the right people because they aren’t looking at their whole pool. We baby boomers are very good for the younger generation. We know how to help them grow, and have the maturity to help enjoy their new role or coach them out of it. The work force needs me—and it won’t even look in my direction.

  • John Brookes July 31, 2014, 12:42 am

    I agree with much that has been written. As a mature individual, I have lost track of the rejections that I have had and the poor experiences of recruitment agencies who are full of promises, but you then find that you were just a ‘make weight’ as the recruitment agency were asked to send 4 or 6 candidates. As someone else said, so often the job description does not reflect the job, and having prepared yourself for the job description, you find yourself rejected because X candidate had more experience in whatever, which was not part of the original JD and was possibly not even discussed at your interview! My other bone of contention is the obsession with ‘experience’. As someone once said, “if experience is so important, how did we ever get a man on the moon?”. It is very strange that the Government can put people in Ministerial positions with absolutely no experience, but you cannot get a job as a waiter without experience! 74 years ago, nobody cared about my father’s lack of experience when he was recruited to fly in a Lancaster to Germany and yet somehow we managed to win the war! Good luck to all those who are seeking jobs at the present. It is very hard and much harder than statistics and Government reporting would have you believe!

  • Cee Gee July 30, 2014, 1:23 pm

    I was exploited by a recruitment agency. The agency knew the site was closing and ‘cold called’ me. I was told ‘I was by far the best candidate…’ for a particular role, which was based abroad. My wife and I spent many days working out out how we would both manage the family logistics.

    The interview date came and off I went to Sweden for the interview. This was at my own expense and little did I know that the agency knew they got me, a vulnerable person, exactly where they wanted – no outlay for them, all the risk and expenses on my shoulders.

    Interview went well – got good feedback. I asked about help with the travel and was told I could claim for up to £80. They agency then sent me a quality questionnaire and I responded with ‘good’ in the various boxes. 1 week later didn’t receive an offer or anything else. Week later contacted the agency and said they hadn’t received anything. Week later same again – zilch. I then asked about the expenses and didn’t even get an acknowledgement.
    To sum up: Went to interview at my expense; didn’t receive an offer or even a rejection. Question about expenses was never acknowledged.
    Agency laid out £0. I was literally taken for a ride.
    Now I’m wiser and have dealt with two, reputable agencies; both got me interviews in UK and I took the first offer.

  • Dorinda (Dotty) July 30, 2014, 8:34 am

    I am and expat who has returned to the UK after working in Italy for over 14 years as a Marketing/Sales Consultant and Trainer, and have spent the last two years trying to obtain full time employment here. One of the biggest blockades I have come across in my attempts are age, I am 51 and this obsession the recruiting agencies and large companies here in the UK have for “qualifications” My training experience in Italy is extensive and wide reaching and I have under gone train the trainer three times in Italy working for various educational and training agencies yet none of this matters a jot to recruitment agencies or even training establishments here. I feel as though all the work experience and training I have gained overseas is a total waste of time which makes a mockery of the fact that we are all supposed to be part of a United Europe!
    I have long since given up applying on line, for not only are they extremely time consuming and all it entails for the most part is copy and pasting what is on my CV anyway, but I have found that I am failed at the first hurdle when they ask for my age! Surely this cannot be classed as legal as it is not a requirement to include age now on CV’s. The worst incident of pure ageism being the cause of rejection was for a job I was more that experienced and suited to and one in which I spent the better part of two hours filling out the on line form was rejected in ten minutes!! It can only be on a filter set for age. The filter was set by the agency, the company will never know how suited to the job I was.
    I think that there should be something that agencies should do to ensure that a job seeker who applies for any job applies that job believing that they have the necessary experience to carry out that role and have possibly done so on many times before as in my case are treated fairly and honestly and not have their recruitment process left to computer semantics!!

  • Mike July 28, 2014, 5:11 pm

    Ive just had five months looking for work and could nearly write a book on the often insanely-laughable recruitment process, dynamics, difficulties and flaws experienced. The key points Martin and many of the contributors here make are bang-on. I’ve also talked to ex colleagues in their 50s who, despite un-matched experience have experienced ageism and abandonment. Ive also been on the other side of the interview table and know that cultural fit often sells a candidate more than experience – and unfortunately the whims and fancies of a higher boss can also trump that.
    Recruiters are in that unbalanced position of brokering jobs between the client and candidate. But being paid by the client therefore seem to have a dismissive repect to the candidate unless they are highly sought after. Simple things like responding to candidates if they havent got the job and giving feedback are basic professionalisms that can often make all the difference to someone’s impression about a business. And if the client is not forthcoming enough to the recruiter in providing information for an accurate candidate description then it is surely the job of a professional recruiter to get it.
    The amount of jobs that are readvertised by more than one recruiter and thinly disguised to ‘hide’ the client just seems to waste everyone’s time and client’s money – especially as this process just seems to repeat the same mistakes, attracting the same candidates that were denied/deemed unsuitable earlier. Being put forward by recruiters for jobs that I know are an unlikely fit shows that signing off KPIs is more important than effective job matching.
    And then there’s the riddled employer key selection criteria that could be interpreted hundreds of different ways and gets no closer to really identifying the most suitable applicant. I have experienced job descriptions that do not match the actual job role and it still astounds me how some senior management on employer interview panels seem to be limited to interview process that they learn little about a candidate’s applied abilities.
    It seems to me that time and money is being wasted in the recruitment sector. Most recruiters don’t seem to know their market (that includes knowledge of the client’s sector and equal importance shown to both clients and candidates), ask the real questions and provide follow through. Many employers (and that includes their internal recruitment units) seem to be astoundingly inept at wanting to connect with identifying a successful applicant. It does mean that currently there is heavy reliance on a job seeker to navigate this inherently fickle and often flawed and demoralising recruitment process.

    • Martin Gibbons July 29, 2014, 12:11 am

      Thanks mike.

      This is a very helpful comment because it lets others know that it’s not them.

      This article makes the case that the recruitment process is deeply flawed; something you have also illustrated.

      At PeopleMaps I am mostly trying to help employers make better recruitment decisions.

      Over at I work with individuals to help them discover and land their dream job. It’s mostly about career change.

      • Rob July 29, 2014, 2:23 am

        I get the feeling that you are only interested in replies that put the blame mostly onto the recruitment agencies, then link to your own sites and articles which offer free advice. The survey was too short.

        Plot 2 points on any graph, and you can always draw a straightline between them, establishing a pattern easily, the same applies for cause and effect, if you plot only one causual point and one effect point.

        You need a minium of three points to establish correlation effects, and the more data points the more accurate you can be.

        You seem to be focused on the “used recruitement agency”, “currently in wrong job” and established that as a true cause and effect relationship on weak data.

        I know lots of people that have had great relationships with Agencies to land the jobs they want, or something very close (which in todays world is a major achievement).
        Maybe this is because I am closer to 30, and a lot of people in my industry (digital marketing) are generally between 25 – 40, but recruitment specialists for us are making great choices, being very pro active, offering good feedback and are making the right referrals.

        • Martin Gibbons July 29, 2014, 3:00 am

          Thanks rob, I’m genuinely happy to encourage discussion from everyone involved in the recruitment process: job seekers, employers and agencies.

          Thanks for contributing.

  • Neil Osborn July 28, 2014, 2:01 pm

    From the age of 60, I am now 64, after being made redundant I have struggled to get any interest for any position that I am actually suited to from Recruitment Agencies. I have been left with the opinion that Agencies steer far away from placing older applicants and I believe that’s because they don’t have the confidence that ‘we’, of the older age group, will stick at it for long enough to justify the agency retaining their full commission for the placement. With a skills shortage you would have thought that experienced older applicants would be considered as a positive enhancement to many working groups but Recruitment Agencies don’t seem to want to go down that route. You can’t even apply for a job filling shelves in a supermarket now without submitting an application on-line. In general employers are losing out by not accepting direct approaches. Why do employers want to pay excessive commissions to agencies for filling their vacancies particularly when many of those successfully appointed are not ‘fit for purpose’? From an employer’s perspective that’s ‘a cop out’ as is that for the ‘Recruitment Agency’. All the Recruitment Agency wants to do is ‘make a quick buck’ and move on to maximise their revenue streams.
    I haven’t yet come across an agency that will provide any form of practical feedback – too many applications to reply to? In my view this is just an excuse. An experienced professional recruitment agent should be able to morally accept that feedback is part of the application process. Sadly it all comes down to cost and what is considered time-wasting exercises.
    If you have a great network of contacts I do accept that can open doors but if you haven’t the only alternative system is via recruitment agencies and now always on-line. God forbid anyone trying seriously to apply for positions within different operating sectors to that shown on their CV. Agencies seem to have such a block on considering this as a real option. I feel sure that ‘big brother’, i.e. in this case, a piece of software, is now used to screen out CVs too save recruiter’s time.
    The young actually do want to work, the old want to work, politicians want everyone to work so who is not listening? The recruitment system needs to change and rapidly.

    • Billy August 1, 2014, 12:55 am

      Hi Neil,
      Snap I feel the same way as I was persuaded to retire early at 62, and expected to pick up an executive position with my sales/tech experience via agencies. This has not happened and I am left using my experience on a number of professional Volunteer committees.
      It is projected that 24% of the UK population will be past there sell by date by 2036, due to age.

  • Bazza July 28, 2014, 11:52 am

    For many years, I was jumping from project to project, knowing people already onboard, now after 25 yrs of travelling the globe, working in Asia and Europe, I now find that my decision to settle in a part of the UK where I have no network of IT colleagues has left me 100% at the mercy of the Recruitment industry and I am bitterly disappointed. I have been sent countless emails asking if I feel I am suitable for positions that anyone who has seen my cv would know I am not. I can’t believe they don’t bother to check the cv in their DB before sending out mail ! Also, when I find a perfectly suited position for my experience and I don’t here anything back, I can never get a reply as to why I was not shortlisted, its not like my experience is lacking, I just assume having never had feed back in over 6 months that they are all to busy sending out emails to the wrong candidates ! If I was an employer, I would like to see more than the shortlisted version of candidates the recruiter offers up as I can’t ever imagine the young pups I have dealt with in the last 6 months have any idea what relevant experience actually means. I feel very frustrated by the lack of professionalism in the recruitment industry and hope I can find employment without the need to deal with recruitment consultants as their involvement only hampers employers and employees find each other.

    • Martin Gibbons July 28, 2014, 1:11 pm

      Bazza I am hoping some of my readers from recruitment agencies will reply to your comment. Thanks for sharing.

  • Carlos July 28, 2014, 11:12 am

    Hi Martin,

    I want to contribute to all that has been said already with a recent experience.

    I have gone through an over the top recruitment process with a large multinational in the telecommunication industry and jumped over 5 hoops in two months. By the time they made up their minds and offered me the role I had already received an offer from a SME (15% higher salary) with a much leaner selection process, no HR involved, just the CFO who had the experience, authority and seniority to make an offer to me on the spot.
    My point is that large corporates are so desperate to “probe” a candidate and measure and assess him or her to death to satisfy themselves that they have applied every possible technique in an obtuse manner, without appreciating that good candidates are recruited quickly while they waste time and resources attempting to appear proper to their superiors in the food chain. This cost is not in the figures mentioned above, but it is in my view part of the cost of recruiting someone who will probably do the job but will not be, as it turns out, the right candidate but a second best.

  • Tim Spence July 28, 2014, 10:17 am

    I have been unemployed for over ten years and at 51 am seriously starting to wonder if I will ever work again! I have no family so am free to move and won’t be affected by my kids with a start of term cold. I have 19 years experience in broadcast engineering but nobody will even look at me! Surely an unbroken period of employment must count for some thing. A degree may be a mark of potential but only in the right position – experience surely will count for a lot more!

  • Carol July 28, 2014, 8:47 am

    Hi Martin,

    I agree with your comment ‘It takes the same effort to land a crappy job you hate’ and, dare I say it, yes it is a little insensitive of you too but in today’s climate it is very hard to get the job you ‘want’ to do! One admin job I’m aware of netted over 400 applicants – that’s staggering!

    Today’s candidates are having to make compensations for what they WANT to do. They are being forced to take jobs they CAN do instead. In an ideal world, we’d all love to do what you did and start your own business, but even that is not a guarantee, not today.

    However, I do agree that the recruitment process needs to change and it needs to change now! Degrees are not entirely the answer either, and I’m not saying don’t get a degree here, what I am saying is, don’t expect that degree to instantly transport you into your dream job, management or a top tier job – you need to have practical experience behind you too. Richard Branson didn’t start at the top, he worked his way up from the bottom and look at the experience he gained along the way and shares with people via LinkedIn. There’s another bloke I follow too, (think his name is Martin Gibbons), he started out in other companies too I believe, gained loads of experience and then said to himself something like ‘I can do this better!’ and started out on his own and is now helping others. What I am saying here is, you have to start somewhere.

    It’s taken me a long time to realise and understand what I’m good at, what I enjoy and what I can do with it all. I’m not in my dream job but I am fortunate to be in a job I enjoy. I’m not in a position to go out on my own but I do try to help people by sharing my knowledge with them in the hope it will help them in the future.

    • Martin Gibbons July 28, 2014, 1:14 pm

      Thanks Carol. Yes a little insensitive of me but hopefully I’m forgiven. This article is mostly about the recruitment process and how we might improve it.

      For career development head over to and sign up for the free training.

  • Richard Dennis July 28, 2014, 8:29 am

    Only that I cant even get an interview after so many years working at the MoD?
    I wonder why?
    Despite having graduated as well.

  • Lesley July 28, 2014, 8:28 am

    I’ve been watching this discussion with interest, and I think it only taps into what is a bigger problem. People get bored in the job they do, and would then tend to say its the “wrong job”, when if they were honest, there are many more jobs that would be far worse. Also, there is just not enough “right jobs” around to suit everyone, so a lot of people will end up in positions they feel is the “wrong job”. Also company culture can factor in, as some bosses over-pressure their staff, and end up making them feel bad and undervalued, in what would otherwise be a good role for them. Its not the job thats wrong, but the management dynamic.

    You can take what I say with a pinch of salt though, I’ve now been out the workplace for 10 years. I lost my last proper job when I started treatment for gender dysphoria, and have never had a good experience with recruiters and employers alike since I transitioned. There still a lot of discrimination out there against LGBT and disabled people. And with the way the job market is, there seems to be no point in people like me looking for work. I feel unemployable, and probably am now due to my low confidence and mental health issues after my experiences.

    Just my 2p’s worth. :-)

  • Rob July 28, 2014, 7:49 am

    Hi Martin,

    I actually took part in the survey, and I personally think that not enough was asked for you to be able to form a solid theory on who is at fault, the employee, the agency or the employer?

    To be clear I answered that I felt I was in the wrong role at the time of completing this survery and that was a true answer. However I have been at the company for 6 years, and the role I got when I started through an Agency, was the right role for me.

    Internally at the company however that role over time became impossible to support, we had too high a turnover in that department to maintain the knowledge levels so this “Technical Account Management Team” was merged with the Support Team. At this point my role became much less about proactive client management and consulting on technical services, and became almost a pure support role. This was not the best use of my skills, and as I became the Team Leader for that team I have shifted some of the balance back towards proactivity and consultancy which our clients need, but not far enough I am afraid to make this the “right” job anymore.

    I have recently since completing the survey, been offered a new TAM role with a different company. This goes to back to my key focus which is not just about knowing how to support a product, but how to help clients get the most out of it and how it functions and integrates with 3rd Parties.

    I got this role through a recruitment agency who I have to say were fantastic. I initially had a 1 hour interview with the recruiter on my case, to find out more about me, what I wanted, my experiences etc, this did seem full on at the time but it worked. They got a great understanding of what I was capable of and were able to easily select the right roles for me, and represent me well to get my first interviews.

    Granted a couple of offers from them were a little left field that they thought my skills would suit for and that I might be interested in, but all were well within my capabilities. The agency though always paid attention to my big ” no no” which was that I didnt want a role that only focused internally on a small group. Either it had to be client facing or involved working internally with lots of different groups, this being one of the things that brings great day to day variety.

    Anyway, the interviews I went for I invariably got to the final stage and lost out the first few times due to other people having more direct experience in a technology or client type. This was just the luck of the draw not poor recruiting. By the 4th time I got to the final round I was the best candidate and was offered a role very quickly.

    The company I am going to work for also did great during this time, I was interviewed by several different people, including someone who did the role I was applying for. This gave me a great chance to find out if the job was as advertised as well as getting to know the key groups I would be dealing with in the future.

    In short if anyone stays at a company long enough they might find themselves forced / side tracked into a role that they dont really want, but have little choice to take if they want to make a progression or even in some cases have a job at all.

  • Richard Jones July 28, 2014, 7:48 am

    I am rather different to many. I was early retired at 55 a while back. I knew that things were not going well with the company so had spent ten years stuffing the pension fund with cash! Anyway I went and signed on to get the stamp and was told by the JC that they would have nothing for me and never would have any suitable roles. However, some of the other ‘customers’ were an eye opener. One came in for a 2:30 appointment – the first he went to after six no shows – The reason? He did not ‘do’ mornings. His girl friend and baby suggested he did something else!
    I soon found I had enough family health problems to keep me busy so apart from a few months going through the motions at the JC just to get my stamps, the family became my focus.
    More recently I have coached a few young and aspiring job applicants. The schools and universities had done a woeful job of preparation. With my help; covering how to research jobs and employers, how to follow up after an interview, how to construct a covering letter and the relevant CV for the job. Be accurate, not gushy bring out the qualities you possess that can be shown to be relevant for the role. How not to leave things out (it out looks bad) terse focused explanations are good.
    Interviews have been obtained and translated into job offers to satisfy their needs.
    As a final shot, I know that the JC cannot normally be fun – though it can be intensely challenging if not annoying. Treat this phase of life as a different job, not a career, but a job. Stick with it, evolve a system. Try to get maximum impact for the minimum balanced input, so you do not develop resentment. Above all see what additional skills you can develop that might suit you to ‘out of turn roles’ that you would not have previously considered. – Work out how you can then sell those skills.
    In spite of the above dealing with the needs of a disabled relative has taught me that DWP does NOT stand for Department of Work and Pensions, Deviants, W*&^%$ and Perverts perhaps.
    So there are challenges, but overcoming them makes the victory so much sweeter.

  • Abishek July 28, 2014, 6:49 am

    Besides having 4+Years of experience in development sector including UN I don’t get job wherever I apply most of the time now. I don’t say I’m brilliant but I’ve seen more incompetent people getting hired. These things leave people like us frustrated and negative energies.

  • Ian G Davitt July 28, 2014, 6:38 am

    Another angle is the vast majority of us are not hard-wired to be accountants, IT specialists or HGV drivers; these ‘specialist’ positions are the ‘division of labour’ identified by Adam Smith back in the 18th century. From that point of view, I’m surprised it’s as low as 58 per cent.

  • James July 28, 2014, 6:04 am

    I lost my job around 12 months ago due to health issues having a major impact on my life, and forcing me to completely change the type of work I was looking for. Having only been on Jobseekers for 3 months now, my perspective is that of someone who has looked for work through desire to work, and also desire to keep receiving my JSA!
    A major issue I’ve faced with recruiters is that they can, on occasion, speak on behalf of their clients. One agency referred me for a role, I did all the pre-assessment, was told (by the recruiter) that I was the ‘preferred candidate’, and had pretty much prepared myself for getting the job. Went to interview, felt that I sparkled, and didn’t get the job due to a perceived lack of interest in the role! That experience served to make me wary of any flannel from recruiters in future. On the other hand though, one particular recruiter showed amazing thought and concern for my health by advising (candidly) that the long hours and commute involved with the role I’d applied for would very likely be detrimental. As with anything else involving interactions between people, there are those who do it well, and those who do it badly.
    My REAL gripe is the current ‘Graduate Obsession’: I see SO many vacancies advertised which are little more than entry level roles anyone with some work experience and a little nouse could do, but the recruiter/firm will only consider applications from graduates. As a 35 year old with nearly 20 years of work experience and a sharp mind, it seems phenomenally unfair that jobs which the majority of us could do are denied us because recruiters/employers seem to think a degree magically confers instant competence on a candidate! In addition to that, while I’m on my soapbox, I’ve also noticed a growing number of employers performing a pre-interview/pre-acceptance credit check: Rather than using a persons criminal record (I don’t have one) or conduct in past employment as a measure of their trustworthiness, employment is being offered or withdrawn on the basis of your credit score. Surely all THIS serves to do is keep punishing people whose debt problems may not be due to recklessness or financial impecunity, and who need to work to repay their debts, by making them unemployable?
    Anyway, sorry for going a bit off topic, but I would say that as long as recruitment is a sales-type role with greater rewards for hitting targets, it’ll never be as effective as it should be.

    • Carol July 28, 2014, 8:06 am

      I totally agree with you on these “Credit Checks” James!

      Bad credit history can be down to any number of things that are totally outside a persons control. If a candidate has the ” right stuff”, why doesn’t the prospective employer just simply ask that candidate about their credit history? Surely a conversation on the subject would be better than a flat ” no”! It would give both sides a chance to talk about the problem. Who knows the prospective employer might feel differently and decide ‘ hey, let’s give this candidate a try!’ I hate to think of the number of candidates out there companies have lost over this.

  • Karen July 28, 2014, 5:57 am

    I completely agree with all the above comments at every angle. The situation is basically determined on age/experience coupled with the fact that companies are cutting back by offering jobs at lower salaries to the younger calibre. Those with traditional abilities/ attributes and experience are more reliable, provide good work performance and are people skilled. How an Agency Consultant can assess your abilities and personality within 15 minutes is beyond me!!!

  • A Smith July 28, 2014, 5:27 am

    I remember a few years ago being approached by one agency about a post, but rejected this as it was a lower level than I was going for. Another agency contacted me about a different post. It wasn’t until interview that it became clear they were the same post, the agency had just dressed it up. A waste of mine and the companies time (and money)

  • Stephen July 28, 2014, 5:17 am

    I feel I am in thre right job now after going through one of Martin’s courses and taking a chance of going to work as a contractor abroad to make me stand out from the crowd back in Scotland.

    I don’t blame Recruitment Consultants as they can only put you forward for what jobs are available and you have to have realistic expectations on experience and salary for your market. It also depends on the time of year as roles are taking far longer to come to the interview stage.

    You have to be clear on the role and salary you want and also don’t be afraid to ask for the role profile and salary up front. That way you are not wasting your time or the recruiters. It’s all about building up good relationships with the best recruitment consultants. That way you have a good experience all round. You never know when you might need their services again.

    A few weeks ago I found out my role was being made redundant. I used my social network contacts which consist of recuritment consultants and ex-colleagues. Within a week I had 2 job offers on the table. One offer via an ex-colleague for a daily rate contract away from home. But due to the role being a contract it was taking far too long to deal through an agency being used before they would ‘put me out to work’ due to the paperwork involved.

    The second role was via an agency but I applied via a job site. However, it turns out that the people who interviewed me knew me from another role I had and I will have no problem fitting in to the team. The feedback from the other agencies about this company has been great too. One the agencies what to do business with. Always a good sign.

    I find it increasing important to maintain good relationships in the roles you are in. The job market is a small world. Three roles I have been asked to attend interviews for involved people I worked with in other companies. Even working abroad I found some of the contractors I knew from other roles ealier in my career.

    Stay positive.

  • Eva July 28, 2014, 4:59 am

    I have quite interesting situation- I am looking for a job. Applied for transport logistics vacancy just 5 min a way from my house. After 2 weeks I was contacting them to ask a feedback about my application for that job- they told- sorry, but all drivers are Scottish and will be difficult to understand me. Well…. I am in Scotland 7 years, I finished English courses in College, I finished HNC Accounting and I am speaking with Scottish people every day!!! There is no problem with understanding… Yes, is difficult to write, but with speaking and understanding…. Is it fair that I can not get job only because that I am from abroad?

  • nicole ray July 28, 2014, 4:27 am

    i am a bit rusty for c.v interviews only becuase i want a career change. i applied for a job with a company selling phones. i made a c.v sent it in had to do an online test , passed it with flying colors So then their was the face to face interview i walked in and straight away i got the feeling i have not got this job. Their faces were so dull. Anyway they tested me by putting me straight on the shop floor just to shadow, I did it and even nearly sold one of their products. i got back and they said that i did not do enough on the shop floor. Then they asked me the most stupid question when have gone the extra mile with someone, i go the extra mile all the time for one I am a mum and the second reason, I have done customer care for 6 years there are so many .Anyway i never got the job and was told i was perhaps a little reserved. I was so angry for I nearly sold a product , I thought I was only suppose to shadow stand and watch in other words. Also this job came with full training given. I believe that the young girl before me got the job and there was no intention by that manager to give me it being a lot older it was totally unfair and a complete waste i would have been very good at the job. There are managers that just read the cover of the book and not whats inside. why give me the all the online tests just to meet such a negative manager of a store.

  • Yvonne Smith July 25, 2014, 2:32 pm

    After having been self-employed for most of my working life, I was ill for some time.
    I am now unemployed, nearly 56 years old, walk with a crutch, and sending out so many job applications.
    There are so many unemployed that applying for jobs means that the number of applications for each opportunity is extremely high. As if that wasn`t bad enough, job seekers can be “sanctioned” ( i.e., lose their benefit including Housing Benefit for any given period of time ),
    and so are driven by a need to apply for over a set number of job applications per week… out of fear… more than anything else.
    So… if someone with a specific skill cannot find relevant job opportunities to apply to that week, then they have no alternative but to apply for a variety of jobs which are way out with their job skill or experience.
    I, myself, have been applying for supermarket assistant jobs / counter assistant jobs… pretty much anything. I apply for these through the govt websites, which direct the applicant straight through to Recruitment agency websites… so… the recruitment agencies must already realise that a large percentage of job applicants are applying for jobs they are not suited for, purely because of fear and desperation.
    But, the Government has to take a portion of the blame for this.
    Most jobseekers are genuinely trying to find work, but the increased fear from sanctions imposed by a Government with the sole purpose of saving money, manipulating the unemployed figures through workfare projects and sanctions and general persecution of those in an unemployed position… means that job applicants have NO ALTERNATIVE but to apply for any job they can get their hands on.
    It has to change at Government level.
    They have created a culture of fear.
    The local jobcentre has removed all PC banks, where the unemployed could come in to search for work online. A lot of unemployed can no longer afford broadband, or have access online. They have also removed the telephones where new job applicants signing on for the first time, who. in all likliehood are extremely short of money in the first place, could dial through to the head office, as all new applicants are told to phone. Instead, there are now 0845 telephone numbers handed to people. When you see some poor soul explaining they have no phone, they are told to phone from a call box.
    There is now talk of closing jobcentres.
    The Government is managing to make applying for work to be nigh on impossible for some people.
    I am highly skilled… but right now, I am pretty much prepared to do any job, no matter what it is.
    But, why are there so many people who are in the wrong jobs…? That has to be part of the reason.

    • Martin Gibbons July 25, 2014, 3:19 pm

      Yvonne, I really appreciate you sharing this and adding another aspect to things.

    • James July 28, 2014, 5:16 am

      I whole heartedly agree with Yvonne. I have the self same experience and simply apply for jobs to tick boxes. Every visit to my local job centre full of tragedy when you see what innocent people are going through it is a wonder anyone can get a job. I have visited job centres in other areas and it is the same where ever you go. Some people have to travel to next town just to sign on! I do not think that any Government has ever got on top of unemployment during my entire adult life.

  • James July 25, 2014, 2:56 am

    I would hold recruitment agencies largely to blame for the problems that people have described and posted on here. The applicants job is made very difficult because virtually the entire job market and application process has moved online, and so this means it is rarely the case when you can apply without having to go through a dreaded recruitment agency who post nearly all of the jobs online and won’t tell you the name of the company they are hiring for. Recruitment companies will seldom if ever take a chance on an unknown quantity and so neither will the company they are hiring for. The job seeker has to make an application without the luxury of being able to research to the company in question because the recruiter won’t tell them who it is unless they are short listed for an interview. Yesterday a recruitment agency contacted me through a social networking site, but I am dubious as you never know what you are getting into. I personally prefer to take charge of my own job search and avoid recruitment people at all costs, as they seldom if ever have any true understanding of the job in question. All I ever get are generic form written auto responses to my applications.

    • Martin Gibbons July 25, 2014, 3:14 am

      James, I really appreciate your contribution to this debate.

      Perhaps some of the recruitment agencies who have been participating would like to respond?

  • Ken July 25, 2014, 12:41 am

    Hi Martin,

    I think the problem is not just the recruitment companies but the actual employers themselves who really do not give the right description of the role and especially its future importance to the company. In my experience recruitment companies rarely find out why your particular application has failed – this is important as it may be a simple point in your CV that needs more emphasis. In general I have had better outcomes when I can communicate with the company directly rather than through an agency.

    • Martin Gibbons July 25, 2014, 3:16 am

      Thanks Ken.

      A quick question to agencies and employers; “How many of your applicants do you respond to or give feedback to?”

    • Philip July 28, 2014, 5:46 am

      Have to agree with you Ken. I am highly qualified, have a lot of experience and a lot of positive feedback from employers. I was approached by an agency for a programming job that looked very attractive. The pay was less but other benefits including location made it perfect for me.

      I got the job. Except I didn’t get the job described on the contract. They wanted a project leader who could write programs. Eight people were recruited at the same time as myself. I was the last of the eight to leave some months later.

      This was not a case of confusion between the manager and HR, this was a deliberate recruiting policy. Yes I could manage a team of four people and do the programming but on learning the other seven had also been given ‘bum deals’ I decided I didn’t want to work for them.

      But it didn’t end there: People were being headhunted for specific skill-sets for a current project. That is people getting tempted out of good stable jobs for what they were being sold as a ‘positive career move’. Once the project was complete then you get moved to another project where it was ‘sink or swim’. I saw too many good people sink during my six months. Nothing illegal but certainly questionable ethics. ‘This is a full time job with a well planned career progression in mind’.

      I have to be light on detail here but for me it is a symptom of the employee being viewed as an easily disposed of resource.

  • Ildiko Scurr July 25, 2014, 12:08 am

    Any decision taken through fear or compromise tends to have an unsatisfactory result in the long run. A denial of true needs and settling for something less can lead to a huge amount of stress, just as you say and then eventually into illness if we are not careful. It is much better to decide on what interests you, makes your heart sing and satisfies your calling and then view all situations through a lens of positive anticipation that an opportunity will open up to fulfil your requirements. Many opportunities are missed because our minds run on our self-limiting beliefs and stop us from taking advantage of those opportunities. Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich teaches us that even in the middle of the 1930′s depression certain people thrived because of their mindset and way of creating possibilities in their environment. We are all able to do the same.

  • LDL July 24, 2014, 1:36 pm

    I wouldn’t completely put all the blame on recruitment companies. The past 2-3 years have not necessarily been flooded with job offers so people looking for jobs may not have been totally honest about what they want mainly because in the current economic climate it is better to have a job than not.

    • Martin Gibbons July 24, 2014, 3:42 pm

      It’s a fair point and one I would agree with. When our back it up against the wall we do what it takes.

  • Kevin Chamberlain July 24, 2014, 8:49 am

    Good recruitment companies know their clients and their candidates. A candidate might be well qualified for a job but the recruiter will know that there will be a personality clash.
    Employing companies often use tick box questioning to ensure they cannot be sued around the recruitment interview. I worked with a major bank who had an exhaustive interview process with KPIs and notes that provided a wonderful audit trail but none of the interviewers could tell when the candidate was lying. In the first role play the lying candidates were delighted with their ability to fool the employers, in a later role play the liars were reversed and the interviewees couldn’t tell when they were being lied to either.

    Employers who substantially change an employee’s job should of course re-write the job description, if for no other reason than it avoids employment tribunals.

    I work with professionals and even doctors get burnout as systems demand more performance and audit able evidence. Take control away from intelligent people and they tend to burnout. University education is an expensive investment in learning how to think and experiment/explore hypothesis. Employers often think that they value university graduates but their cross checking systems and punishment of mistakes suggests otherwise.

    I have two roles, one is working for employers coaching their staff by helping them to work with their career development and the other is dealing with professionals who burnout; I hardly ever work with burnout with any of the employers who I coach with. What I am giving the employees is some time to think and feel valued, that’s all. Managers no longer have time to sit and really listen to their employees, shame but it keeps me working!

  • Bob Clarke July 24, 2014, 12:49 am

    I agree in part with the results; however, I do think employers are being ‘less than honest’ when it comes to what they ask for. My current role is nothing like it was advertised! I was advised that the role would involve staying away from home once a month, and that I would do a maximum of 25000 miles per year; in 2 months, I have already spent 10 nights away, and have travelled some 8000 miles!

    • Martin Gibbons July 24, 2014, 3:16 am

      Hi Bob, This is a very good point. Too many employers and agencies are mis-selling their jobs. This is bad news for the employee and for the company as it makes for dissatisfaction and high staff turnover.

      Has anyone else experienced this?

  • Gina July 23, 2014, 7:26 am

    Thank you for sharing your results with us :) I’m not remotely surprised to learn that so many people feel ill placed in their work. With a generation of graduates In the uk struggling to find any work at all, including myself, it’s not surprising that desperation can take over and lead to questionable application choices. Employers too seem to find it difficult to turn away over qualified candidates, thinking they will get more for their money, which as you described above is not the case. It’s a difficult one to fix when employers and councils alike are trying to cut back wages and people are so desperate for work.

    • Martin Gibbons July 24, 2014, 3:17 am

      Gina, I think you speak for most graduates here.

      WHat would you recommend employers do differently?

      • Gina July 31, 2014, 1:35 am

        Personally I think the problem is a deep set issue to do with greed and inequality. I have. worked across several industries on the bottom rung of the ladder and struggled to make ends meet despite working full time. I always build great relationships with my employers and am capable and trusted. As a result of this I am often given extra tasks and responsibilities which are good experience for my cv and make my day more interesting. But it backfires every time with this changing the company’s expectation of the role. These new tasks become normal and expected for my current wage level and there is no option for progression. Hospitality is particularly bad, expecting staff to run entire departments during long shifts alone with minimal training and paying minimum wage for the pleasure. And often not meeting minimum legal requirements for lengths of time between shifts or ability to take breaks. Also 0 hour contracts are everywhere. I find it a challenge to feel motivated and passionate about my work while working in these conditions. Especially if I know the level of profit the company is making at my expense. I don’t believe many companies see their staff as people, so it’s no wonder they’re not great at matching the right personalities to certain roles. Human rights and employment law are seen as an inconvenience and myself and my colleagues are left feeling deflated and dissatisfied at work. Many of the issues and dissappointments I have faced in my career have linked to these issues rather than the tasks of the jobs themselves.

  • Michael July 22, 2014, 8:49 pm

    You can’t really blame it on the recruiters. Many companies are desperate to keep projects on time. Sometimes they will attempt to “make the job sound sexy” by throwing in lots of buzzwords. Sometimes the recruiter will do this. Sometimes they list the skills equivalent to the work they are doing. Then you have candidates who list every skill they have ever used. Then the recruiters just use a keyword search engine to match the two. You just have to see the churn levels at so many companies to see that this isn’t working. Add to all of this, employers who won’t consider someone who is unemployed, or people desperate to find a job in order to pay the rent. Then employers might not want to pay what the going rate is. Other employers may not consider someone to work on desktop systems unless they have already worked on mobile or another desktop systems company.

    • Martin Gibbons July 22, 2014, 10:15 pm

      Thanks Michael. You are right, this is not simply the fault of agencies. All parties have to take their share of responsibility.

  • Stuart July 22, 2014, 12:39 pm

    OK, got on to reading the rest of the article and in regards to your point about flipping a coin and having a better success rate, this would be true if only 2 candidates applied to every job (assuming your stats are real & accurate) so I have to disagree here but hey, a bit of exaggeration and sensationalising never hurt anyone right ?

    I do however strongly agree with your comment “stop applying for the wrong jobs and you will stop landing the wrong jobs.” Don’t get me wrong, it IS the recruiters job to filter these irrelevant applicants out of the recruitment process but I couldn’t tell you how many times I have received an application from a fork truck driver or chef for a Vehicle Chassis Design Engineer role (I mean no offence to Chefs or Fork Truck drivers by the way – both are just as important occupations in the bigger picture, just not what is required in this case).

    From my experience, many (if not most) employers do not provide a genuine job description (if any at all) I’ve even dealt with some hiring managers who seemed to treat it as a little game & test, add to this the fact they put several agents to work at once all in competition which seems a great idea on face value, (you know, create a bit of competition, more people looking etc…) the pitfall however is it now becomes a race against the clock rather than a process to find the right person. Retained recruitment services would be one way to remove this issue however more than this needs to be done IMHO. For a start, recruitment agencies need to focus on maintaining their databases better – I have only worked in one agency where the database was managed properly and it was me who implemented the process, elsewhere it has been a culture of if the candidate is not of use right now, then why waste time recording data when I can just move on and look for someone else with those valuable seconds – this all stems from pressure from managers to hit irrelevant KPI’s – another article perhaps.

    Overall, I feel the recruitment process could be greatly improved for both the candidate and employer if companies stuck with one agency maybe only bringing in a second if the first has no success in 2 weeks. This would reduce the extent of the KPI’s we see in many agencies as they would be focussing on the jobs they do have rather than collecting as many as possible so they can’t fail to get at least one right.

    Now I must add, there are some very good recruiters out there it’s just to keep in line with the article, I have just described a bad version of recruitment agency which would not be hard to find if you started looking. The trick is to find an agency that uses a careful and considered approach by taking time to understand your needs – that goes for both clients and candidates. I could go on but….

    • Martin Gibbons July 24, 2014, 3:21 am

      Stuart, Thanks for such a detailed response you have covered some very interesting points here.

      My primary interest is in behavioural psychology and what you are describing is an environment that makes people behave one way, when everyone would rather behave in another way.

      I think your suggestion is very practical and that no one benefits when an employer engages a number of agencies at the same time. Nothing good will come of this and as we are reading here, there are plenty of downsides.

    • Dave Zalewski July 28, 2014, 7:03 am

      A professional laboratory scientist with over 20 years experience, I have wasted incredible amounts of time over the past few years on recruiters. In general, they almost never know their market, know even less about the employers and almost nothing about courtesy.

      I’ve had about two out of one hundred good experiences with recruiters in my career.

      As a rule, I will not speak with them unless they have a very specific opportunity, and very sincere interest from the principal.

  • Stuart July 22, 2014, 12:05 pm

    A bit harsh to blame recruitment agencies (unless you have an agenda of course).

    More often than not, people find themselves in the wrong job because they stretched the truth and so to did the employer. Quite often people are promised progression opportunities that do not materialise, investment that does not happen, support that is non-existent. There are a whole number o f reasoons – I could write a book.

    If you think “more than half the time the agencies got it wrong” you are not being honest with yourself.

  • Andy Taylor July 22, 2014, 10:08 am

    Personally, it wasn’t the recruitment firm that made the mistake, as I felt at the time I was the correct person for the specified job. However, companies need to learn to specify correctly, as the job I believed I was taking on and the job title was the correct title for the position, it soon became apparent that the company did not understand what the job and its title actually meant. I this has continued acquisition after acquisition, manager after manager. Be clear about what you want and be clear to the job candidate what is expected in truth and not what is ideal but will never be implemented.

    • Martin Gibbons July 24, 2014, 3:23 am

      Andy, this is a very useful point.

      Employers need to do a lot more work on their job specifications.

      The most common complaint I hear from Recruitment COnsultants is that they can’t get a decent brief from the employer. The knock on effect is enormous and it always ends badly.

      Anyone else believe that more needs done at the specification stage?

  • Mauro July 22, 2014, 6:49 am

    Well, 58% of people are in the wrong job? Who recruited them? poor recruiters! I would suggest that they should be the first ones to go for further training in a specific field considering that they do not know and can’t recognize any specific information for the jobs they are advertising. Companies should recruit people by themselves instead of handing it to incompetent and sometimes arrogants people…namely most of the recruiters.

    • Martin Gibbons July 22, 2014, 7:03 am

      Good point. There is a training need for sure. Can’t abdicate responsibility to agencies either.

      • Mauro July 22, 2014, 7:37 am

        The point is that they should attend a specific recruitment training in a certain field and preferably gain some experience in that field. Most of them are just “specialist recruiters” ok, fine in what field though?
        I mean it’s like if I attended a course that allows me to master teaching tecniques but then I do not know any subject…..will I be a competent language teacher (any language you prefer :-) ) if I do not know that language?


  • Jerry July 22, 2014, 6:33 am

    Quite right Martin, I can say with a 100% confidence that some people are definitely in the wring jobs. They say it , they act it. In addition I also believe that job interviews can be improved to select the best candidates for the jobs. However, would not go full pelt and blame the recruitment agencies because more often than not, the right person is selected for the job, albeit not necessarily always the best. Now, on your stats, I wonder if it shows you how long it took the employees to realise that they were in the wrong job, after one to six month, one year, five years, ten years? I believe that the time of realisation would enlighten us on the real reason for discontent. And may also help us learn more about the part the recruitment agencies play in this.

    • Martin Gibbons July 22, 2014, 7:06 am

      Thanks jerry. You’re right. It’s not enough to blame agencies. I work with pretty good agents. Employers often give them an impossible task and a terrible brief.

    • Martin Gibbons July 22, 2014, 10:21 pm

      Thanks jerry.

  • Flaming Tit July 21, 2014, 7:42 am

    What if you’re stuck in a welfare trap? I’d go to work but I can’t afford to because if I start working, I lose all my benefits which would cost me the toil of working with a scant pittance for my time wasted after the fact

  • steve bushell July 21, 2014, 6:39 am

    I tend to agree with your findings. I’ve been nursing for 30 years and have felt frequently that I’m wasting my time as I am unable to get job satisfaction but have been reluctant to change due to financial constraints. Those constraints have been partially resolved, so I’ve left nursing to become a footcare practitioner and, although the pay is rubbish compared to that of a staff nurse, the job satisfaction and support I get more than makes up for it. The bottom line seems to be, think very carefully before you opt for a career as, 30 years later you may feel a large portion of your life has been wasted.

  • Chris Southcote July 18, 2014, 4:17 pm

    What a biased article full of assumption and ridiculous speculation. The conclusions make me feel that my time in completing the survey was wasted.
    How can you directly attribute whether or not people think they are in the right job to recruitment agency cost? It is, unfortunately., not that straight forward and tangible. It would be stupid of an organisation not to take into a consideration the many many MANY theories and studies of employee engagement and staff retention.
    The just seems like an article which is unfairly damaging to a hard working industry where everyone shouldn’t be tarred with the same ‘cowboy’ brush because of pre GFC mis practice.

    • Martin Gibbons July 19, 2014, 6:40 am

      Chris, Thanks for raising these issues. The article isn’t blaming the recruitment industry. If someone goes into a shop and buys the wrong thing, you can hardly blame the shop. All I am suggesting is that there is a problem with recruitment in general and that there is probably a training need. If there weren’t, then we wouldn’t have nearly 60% of people feeling they are in the wrong job.

      The survey had over 1500 people participate, which is pretty significant. It isn’t pretending to be scientific. It is merely raising an issue for discussion and raising some questions.

      For instance, one question could be, “Is the recruitment process working well enough for both employers and candidates?” Chris, I’m delighted you are participating in the conversation and please do not take this as any sort of attack on recruitment agencies.

      • Stuart July 22, 2014, 12:07 pm

        Hi Martin,
        The article clearly is blaming rcruitment agencies.

        “If 58.38% of people feel they are in the wrong job, then it means that more than half of the time agencies got it wrong.”

        • Martin Gibbons July 22, 2014, 10:20 pm

          Thanks for contributing Stuart. I feel the article does more than just bash agencies. For while some agencies deserve a little bashing, they can’t be held solely responsible. I think everyone wants the same thing – more of the right people in the right job. I think we all need to tackle the problem.

          • Stuart July 23, 2014, 4:35 am

            OK, but just to be clear, the article does blame recruitment agencies despite you responding to Chris Southcote claiming you didn’t blame the recruitment agencies.

  • john July 18, 2014, 9:26 am

    the article would be a little more credible if provided the source of your stats

    • Martin Gibbons July 19, 2014, 6:45 am

      Hi John, over 1,500 of my readers participated in a survey I sent out a few weeks ago. It’s not a Mori Poll, but it is the beginning of an interesting conversation. Are we all happy with how effective the recruitment process is? Do we see any room for improvement? What would we change? Do candidates get a fair deal? Does the recruitment process that is commonly used actually find the best candidates?

      My readership is made up of job seeking individuals and of recruiters. I see these as two sides of the same coin.

  • Christopher Bird July 18, 2014, 8:27 am

    The market determines what people do. Employees do not have a choice if they want to pay the rent and put food on the table they have to do jobs they absolutely hate.

    • Martin Gibbons July 18, 2014, 8:40 am

      Thanks for contributing Christopher. I see this as a problem for both employers and job seekers. Presently it’s a lose:lose.

      But neither party is blameless, though I would like to see recruiters taking a fresh look at how they recruit. I work a lot with job seekers via so I feel I can also say that job seekers have more influence over their career than they realise. Often they lack job hunting skills which is understandable because it’s a bit of a black art.

      Through PeopleMaps I want to help employers make better hiring decisions. Through CareerPsychometrics I want to help individuals discover and land their dream job.

      • Andy OCallaghan July 22, 2014, 8:14 am

        I’m not sure that addresses Christopher’s point, Martin. I don’t think it’s valid to target the recruitment process as the primary, or even the principal, reason that people aren’t happy in their jobs. Such an analysis strongly implies:
        - All jobs are (at least potentially) rewarding and fulfilling, when they’re not.
        - There’s some sort of an abstract match between the number of jobs of type X and the number of people who want to do a job of type X, which seems optimistic at best.
        - The economy is geared towards full employment, which it isn’t.

        If you accept these premises then improving job satisfaction simply involves perfecting the process of matching people to jobs. But I don’t think the premises are valid and that means there are much bigger issues affecting individuals’ happiness with their work.

        • Martin Gibbons July 24, 2014, 3:29 am

          Andy,m you have raised a lot of important questions here. I don’t think I can do them justing in this reply but I think we will raise these in further posts and talk about them there. I appreciate your contribution.