Ousted IT blogger on recruitment agencies

This is part 3 of our series of blogs written by an IT worker that has lost out in an offshoring deal. Last week the blogger talked about the trouble with jobcentres and this week he describes his experience of recruitment agencies.

See part 1 and part 2

Situation: vacant

by  I.T. Jobseeker

I was taking a break from the ads on Jobserve and CWJobs one afternoon last week. I had already made several applications earlier in the day, and although one or two seemed like good prospects, the rest were purely speculative. My mobile rang.

‘Hi’, said a smooth, syrupy voice. ‘This is Justin of Smarmalot Recruitment.

Is that I.T. Jobseeker?’

‘Yes’, I said, ‘that’s me.’

‘How’ya doin’, I.T.?’, he asked.

Before I could answer, he went on: ‘I’ve got your CV.  Thanks for sending it in’.

I recalled the role that his agency were dealing with. It was a speculative one. ‘So you think that I’m suitable for that role in the city?’, I asked, hopefully.

‘Well, possibly not, but I’m sure that I can place somebody with your sort of skills. What’s your availability?’

‘Yesterday’, I told him, and explained about my redundancy.

‘Well, your skills are in demand, you’ve had good experience and your CV looks great. Well presented. All the right facts in the right places.’

I wondered why would-be employers were not beating a path to my door, only to be blinded by the intense rays of light that must shine from my…   

‘What I am going to do is to ring my contacts in (he listed the names of many FTSE-100 financial companies) and tell them you’re available’, he gushed.

Was this the Simon Cowell of the recruitment industry?

‘Before I do, though, can I ask you a question?’

‘Fire away.’

‘Why have you never sent your CV to Smarmalot before?’

‘I’d never heard of you’, I told him, ‘but don’t worry, I have now.’

‘And you will hear a lot more of us, that’s for sure. Tell all your friends to send us their CV’s. I’ll be in touch soon. Ciao, I.T.’ he said.

‘Good to talk to…’, he had already hung up.

Another day, another agency.  Yesterday morning, Gary of Shaftum Recruitment called to discuss a role I had applied for. Speaking with a patter honed in the used car lots of South London, he told me that he thought his client might be interested in me. He said he could see from my CV that I’d had most of the experience required.

Presumably I could blag the rest?

‘There’s just one thing.’, he said.

‘What’s that?’

‘Your CV. It’s naff. I’m gonna need to change it and reformat it somehow. Then I might be able to send it off.’, he said, condescendingly.

I wonder how Justin is getting on.  





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Interesting blog! I speak to a number of recruitment consultants on a regular basis to find out what's happening in the market from their point of view and most of them seem pretty good. It's a shame you've had a bad experience and that a couple can give the rest of them a bad name :-(

With reference to your CV, we spoke to a number of consultants to find out what the concensus was and we put a few points down on our blog:


We also have guest bloggers, one of whom has written a blog about recruitment agencies but with an emphasis on contractors http://blog.theitjobboard.co.uk/2009/11/the-top-5-market-challenges-for-it-contractors/

Thanks Anna

This is Karl from Computer Weekly. Although the blog is written by someone else I would like to say thanks for your comments. It is good to see that the blogger's experience is not necessarily the norm.

There are a lot of well qualified IT professionals on the market now so some recruitment agencies could differentiate themselves by targeting them appropriately.


This is really interesting & funny - same old story with recruitment agencies. In my opinion 10% are good at networking & undertsanding candidates the 0ther 90% in their monthly sales target.

One point - why does everybody always refer to the same old jobsites for new jobs? They dont seem to have the volume they used to - I have got my last two contracts from .... Technojobs - IT Jobs.


Thanks for your post. Thanks for sharing your successful experience.


For all those IT professionals out there wanting to keep themselves ahead of the game, I thought it worth mentioning that The IT Job Board will be present at the biggest world IT fair - The Cebit.

If you are around Hannover between the 2nd and the 6th March 2010, come and visit us at www.theitjobboard.co.uk’s stand and our consultants will give you the best tips for your IT jobs search.

Good luck!


You missed the bit where the spiv recruiter has heard through the grapevine that a company is recruiting, and is sending every CV he possesses, including yours, to them in the hope of getting a hit. What he doesn't say is that most companies operate a "preferred recruiter" scheme where they only accept CVs from a small number of vetted recruitment agencies in exchange for reduced fees, that he is not on the list, and that your CV will be binned by HR without being looked at by the hiring manager.

Over the next few weeks, as you call him weekly to see how your application is progressing (and so you can honestly fillout your jobcentre search record), he will either be "out of the office" or "on another call", and if by mistake he DOEs take your call, he will promise to give them a call to chase them up, and call you back.

He will never call you back.