We’ve all heard the big promises from recruiters: “We have an unmatched network of top talent,” “We guarantee a robust slate of candidates in two weeks,” “Our fees are highly competitive.”

But what if I told you those attractive claims are covering up a less-than-ideal reality? As someone who has worked in recruiting for over a decade, let me pull back the curtain on some secrets agencies don’t want you to know.


The Truth About Recruiter Workloads

Here’s a stat that may surprise you: on average, 75-80% of a recruiter’s work is unpaid. Since fees are only earned if a candidate is successfully placed, much of a recruiter’s effort winds up being for nothing. Now layer on the fact that recruiters rely heavily on commissions. You can see why agencies place intense pressure on their people to take on high volumes of assignments – they desperately need hits to make their numbers.

What does this mean for you? Your role likely receives only 20-30% of your recruiter’s time and attention. Recruiting has become a race against the clock rather than a methodical matching of candidate to company.


Why Recruiting Operates Like a Numbers Game

Given the financial instability inherent in a commission-based business model, recruiting has evolved to prioritize quantity over quality. Recruiters pitch their services with the same generic promises around network, speed, and cost because it’s transactional – they need to stuff their pipeline with as many candidates as possible in hopes that a few will make it across the finish line.


The Hard Truth on Bad Hires

Brace yourself, because this reality may be difficult to swallow. It’s estimated that 25% of new hires leave within their first year on the job. When this happens, companies usually go running back to the same recruiting agency that made the mediocre match in the first place.

So while individual recruiters surely aim to provide candidates with staying power, their agencies actually benefit when placements unravel quickly. Rinse and repeat. There’s little incentive to dig deeper or take more care.


The Question You Should Never Ask

By this point, you may be wondering what drives this misalignment between recruiter and client. And here’s the dirty question that you’re never supposed to voice aloud: could it be that recruiting agencies gain financially when they make careless matches?

Now keep in mind, most recruiters do wish to provide candidates that thrive in roles long-term. But between unforgiving commission targets and overwhelmed schedules, it’s impossible for them to invest time vetting for fit and retention.


The Winds of Change

While much of the recruiting world still operates according to the principles above, there are a handful of agencies bucking the status quo. Instead of resume flooding, these firms build meaningful relationships with both clients and candidates. They customize searches to locate aspirational matches on all sides.

And the results speak for themselves. While average new hire retention hovers around 75% after one year, these agencies see 96% of their placements still engaged and performing.

So when evaluating recruiting partners, look beyond honeyed promises about capacity and efficiency. Prioritize players invested in aligning values and driving enduring partnerships. Your organization and talent pool will thank you.


For more details on our game changing 97% staff retention contact us at

+1 332 600 8926

+44 (0)203 983 4415

[email protected]