Legal recruitment Consultants
Default Sub Banner

Candidate Ownership; Dispelling Some Recruitment Myths.

Candidate Ownership; Dispelling Some Recruitment Myths.

written by James Dawes

Candidate Ownership; Dispelling Some Recruitment Myths.

Having worked in the legal recruitment sector for almost a quarter of a century (my increasing greying hairs are testament to this) there is area of best practice that repeatedly rears itself in both candidate and clients’ conversations. The thorny issue of ‘candidate ownership’.

I really do dislike that term. Ownership.

Where recruiters/agencies can unintentionally clash with their candidates and clients, it’s the topic of candidate representation (there, that sounds a bit more professional) that ignites debate, conjecture, and occasional disagreements about which agency believes is the fastest to send a candidate’s CV to a client.

But let’s step back a bit.

Firstly, as a candidate, how many agencies do you actually need to help you find a new role? If, as a candidate, you believe you’ll have more opportunities presented to you if you register with more than two agencies, then you might be disappointed. But why?

If you spread your candidacy too thinly amongst multiple agencies, then there is a risk of your CV being duplicated for the same role(s). It happens more often than you think, even in 2024.

However, there are several reasons why utilising the services of an established recruitment agency will ultimately benefit you to secure the role you’re striving for:

(1)    Opportunities. Specialist agencies should have the contacts to open doors to roles that may not be actively advertised in the public domain. If they’ve been established for many years, they will have connections with companies that can be matched to an individual candidate, rather than wait for a specific role to be registered.


(2)    Specialisation: Many recruitment agencies claim to specialise in particular sectors, but how deep is their knowledge in reality? Candidates seeking new positions in niche fields, or specialised roles, should benefit from the expertise and industry knowledge of reputable agencies – and such knowledge often sits with individual consultants.


(3)    Efficiency: Job hunting is time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. The analogy that ‘getting a new job is a full-time job’ is often true. Established recruitment agencies streamline the search process by handling tasks such as job matching, application submissions, and interview scheduling on behalf of candidates, saving them time and effort.

Here’s a secret. What is often not seen when applications go via agencies is that although the client’s internal processes are followed, the agencies (again, the good ones) advocate for the candidate and hold the client to account when things need challenging - thus protecting the candidate from the impersonal inefficiencies behind the scenes.

Candidates will appreciate recruiters who aren’t afraid to challenge, persuade and change internal processes with companies to reach a positive conclusion.

(4)    Confidentiality: In some cases, candidates may prefer to keep their job search confidential, especially if they are currently employed. A credible recruiter will maintain confidentiality and discreetly match candidates with potential employers without jeopardising their current position.

(5)    Negotiation Support: Recruitment agencies will assist candidates in negotiating salary, benefits, and other terms of employment with potential employers. They have experience in navigating negotiations and can help candidates secure favourable terms.

Recruiters are not just a conduit but a confidante, an advisor and a battle-hardened negotiator working hard to get the offer(s) you merit.

But in the interests of balance, why do some recruiters garner a negative reputation? The most common traits of sub-par recruiters typically revolve around a lack of communication, managing candidate expectations or simply not having the gravitas to open doors to the right kind of opportunities. Recruiters can sometimes garner a negative reputation due to several reasons:

1. Pushy or Aggressive Tactics: Some recruiters may employ aggressive or pushy tactics to meet their recruitment targets or fill positions quickly. This can include bombarding candidates with unsolicited calls or emails, pressuring them into roles they're not interested in, or overselling job opportunities. Receiving too many impersonal LinkedIn emails is a classic bugbear of candidates.

2. Lack of Communication: Poor communication can also contribute to a negative perception of recruiters. Candidates may feel frustrated if recruiters fail to keep them informed about the status of their applications, provide feedback after interviews, or respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Recruiters aren’t perfect, but communication can always improve.

3. Unprofessional Behaviour: Recruiters who exhibit unprofessional behaviour, such as making promises they can't keep, disclosing confidential information, or exhibiting bias or discrimination in their hiring practices, can tarnish the reputation of the recruitment industry.

4. Inadequate Screening Processes: Recruiters have a responsibility for vetting candidates to ensure they are qualified and suitable for the positions they're hiring for. However, if recruiters fail to conduct thorough screenings or overlook ‘red flags’ in candidates' backgrounds, it can lead to hiring mistakes and damage their credibility. There’s an argument that in this post-Covid world, the hybrid working model prevents recruiters meeting candidates face-to-face as much as they used to do.

5. Transactional approach: Some recruiters prioritise filling positions quickly over building genuine relationships with candidates. This transactional approach can make candidates feel like they're just a means to an end rather than valued individuals with unique career aspirations. Granted, there are some sectors that require speed to market (e.g. IT, Tech, Healthcare) and the temp/contractor market must navigate tight deadlines in an efficient manner every day.


In conclusion, if you’re a legal professional who is looking to change roles and wants to take the hassle out of finding a new position, then pair with an agency or individual recruiter who has a track record in your field.

It’s not about who sends your CV to clients the quickest. Recruitment is about a trusted relationship with a recruiter who can share their knowledge, insight, guidance, and patience to help you – often completely free of charge.


Mutually, we really do share the same goals. We want candidates to feel delighted and genuinely excited by securing a new job.

Pair with the right agency, and the issue of candidate representation naturally evolves into something much more akin to a career partnership.

Ask yourself who you want to be represented by, and then trust the process.