Candidates beware! Unscrupulous recruitment agencies targeting jobseekers

Recently, shocking reports featuring so-called ‘recruitment agencies’ have been making the news as scammers have been targeting job seekers promising candidates their dream job for them to be left with nothing but dashed hopes and a massive phone bill.

Scams operated by unscrupulous firms masquerading as a professional recruitment agencies seek out candidate CV’s online, fabricate a ‘dream job’ and contact the candidate asking them to call them on what unknowingly to the individual, is a premium rate phone number.

After lengthy discussions over the phone, no job ever materialised and candidates are shocked to then receive a huge phone bill.

As the Managing Director of a successful and ethical recruitment consultancy, this really made my blood boil. Not only are the people behind these scams taking advantage of candidates seeking work, but they have also damaged the reputation of the many honest, reliable and hardworking recruitment agencies who dedicate themselves to providing a quality service to both candidates and clients.

To prevent any further candidates being misled by cowboy ‘recruitment’ companies, here are my top warning signs to look out for when dealing with a recruitment company.

Should you get an email or call from a recruitment agency, it pays to ask a few questions at the offset. Are they local? Have you heard of them prior to the initial contact? How long have they been in business? Do they have a physical premises? Established recruitment agencies often have an office, however there is a number of online only companies coming into the industry. Do your homework before you decide to deal with any recruitment agency.

Charges for services
A reputable recruitment agency will NEVER charge you for their services as costs are recovered from the employer’s side. Be wary of any recruitment company that asks you for upfront fees for finding you a position, interview training or CV rewriting. This is all part of the service recruitment agencies offer to candidates free of charge so do not be persuaded to part with cash at any point.

Premium rate phone numbers
Premium rate phone numbers aren’t so easy to spot as they used to be, so just be wary if the number you’re asked to call isn’t a local one. A good recruitment consultant will arrange to call you at a convenient time to discuss any suitable roles.

Also be on the lookout for recruitment consultants that seem unwilling to talk on the phone or meet face-to-face as this can often be a sign that not all is as it seems.

If you’re still concerned about the reputability of a recruitment agency, you can contact the Recruitment and Employment Confederation to see if they are a registered member. The REC ensures that each of its members follows strict legal and ethical guidelines and you can be assured of a quality service.

If you’re currently seeking your next career move, why not check out our latest jobs here on our jobs board or email your CV to and an experienced and REC accredited recruitment professional will get in touch.