Posted on October 28, 2016 by staff

Recruitment agencies are ‘worse than football agents’


The boss of a fast-growing software company has compared some recruitment agencies to football agents and pledged to stop trying to use them.

Andy Kent is the CEO of Liverpool-based Angel Solutions, which has grown its workforce by a third in 2016 to 35 to meet demand.

The entrepreneur wants to make at least three more additions to his team before the end of the year but intends to do it without using expensive recruiters.

Kent said: “The tech sector is thriving at the moment and that’s made it a target of some unscrupulous recruitment agents.

“I’m not tarring the whole sector with the same brush but some are acting like football agents who are looking to ‘transfer’ their clients to other employers to make money themselves.

“It can’t be right that a recruiter will place a candidate into your business for between £5,000-10,000 only to phone them up two years later to get them to apply for other jobs, where they would get more commission. Where’s the loyalty?

“We’ve had examples of recruiters playing us off against rivals to create a bidding war. It’s a bit like going to a restaurant and being hit with a 10 per cent service charge for a shoddy experience.

“That’s why I’ll avoid using recruitment agencies in future because I’d rather spend the money on staff training.”

Kent says the award-winning Angel Solutions has been a victim of its own success, which saw it win the prestigious Liverpool Echo Business of the Year Award (for up to 50 employees) earlier this year.

The company, which started in 1999, specialises in creating web applications for the education sector and its products are used by every local authority in England.

Turnover is expected to increase by 50 per cent to £3m this year, with profits predicted to rise to £750,000 –  more than double the £340,000 figure from 2015.

Kent said the company preferred to use “word of mouth” to fill their current vacancies, which include software developers and a support technician.

“Junior roles are fairly straightforward to fill but the more senior roles, which require experience, continue to be a challenge,” he said.

Kent said the company’s reputation for converting their Mount Pleasant office into a circus, complete with ball pit, big top circus tent, gypsy caravan, popcorn machine and hundreds of balloons, is a big plus when recruiting.

“It certainly sways decisions,” admitted Kent, who describes himself as the ‘chief executive and ring master’ on the firm’s website.

“We have had people come for interview who have subsequently turned down other interviews to choose to come to us. It gets people thinking more creatively about their applications.”

Kent said Angel Solutions was sharing some of its success by sponsoring North West-based girls football team Academy Juniors U14s.

“Businesses need to step up and play an active role in impacting their community,” he said. “It shouldn’t all be about the money. We love supporting organisations or people that may not always attract high-profile funding.

“We also believe it’s important to cultivate aspirations at an early age and foster a sense of innovation and creativity early on.”

Kent spoke at a BusinessCloud conference this summer where he said Big Data is only useful if it is presented in an easy-to-read format that people can understand.