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The Importance of Using a Reputable Legal Recruitment Agency

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The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 states that neither an agency nor an employment business may introduce or supply a work seeker to a hirer unless it has obtained confirmation -

1) of the identity of the work-seeker

2) that the work-seeker has the experience, training, qualifications and any authorisation that which the hirer considers are necessary, or which are required by law or by any professional body, to work in the position which the hirer seeks to fill; and

3) that the work-seeker is willing to work in the position which the hirer seeks to fill

Despite this, it is becoming prevalent for reputable legal recruitment consultants and candidates to fall victims of underhand tactics deployed by some legal recruitment agencies.  And, of course, this issue has only been augmented by a tough legal recruitment market and heightening competition between legal recruitment agencies.

When a candidate has submitted their CV to a legal recruitment agency, it is usually for a specific legal job that they have seen advertised. However, the issue of less reputable agencies sending candidate's CVs to vacancies other than the one that the candidate had originally applied for (without consent), is becoming more and more widespread.  In some cases, legal recruitment agencies in question may have even sent the candidate's CV to law firms on a speculative basis, despite the firm not actually having a legal job opening.

Unfortunately, there are two people who suffer from this devious approach; the candidate, and reputable legal recruitment agencies that abide by the law. If an employer receives an application more than once, a conflict of trust arises between the legal recruitment agency and the client, the agency and the candidate, and most regrettably, the candidate and the prospective employer. One of the most upsetting consequences could be that the client rejects a candidate who is perfectly suited to the role.   Often legal recruitment agencies playing by the rules will miss out on a fee, as in the time that they have been waiting to obtain a candidate's permission, another agency has already submitted the candidate's CV to the firm without consent.

Many law firms and legal departments operate a PSL (preferred suppliers list), in order to cut down on the number of legal recruitment agencies that they use. Unfortunately, many blindly trust that the agencies are following the law and have the interests of all parties in mind, which is not always the case. The best method for combating cow-boy recruiters is for law firms and legal departments to use legal recruitment agencies with a good and trustworthy reputation.

It is always advisable for candidates to call the agency before submitting their CV - reputable legal recruitment agencies will be delighted to discuss the candidate's requirements and advice of their policies about sending out CVs. It is not recommended to use more than one agency, as a well-reputed legal recruitment agency will have a thorough knowledge of all the available legal jobs on the market, and will be able to apply on a candidate's behalf to any that are suitable. This will help the candidate to keep track of where the CV has been sent, and will help avoid duplicate applications.

Judicial Review
19th February 2009

© 2009 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Image: Shady Mile Pumpkins 2008 by Kam's World

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