Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

The Top 10 Ways to Irritate a Recruitment Consultant (and sabotage your job application).

By Anthony Hughes | Aug 11, 2015 | Candidate Tips

It’s true, for many years, the term ‘recruitment agency’ struck fear into the hearts of hiring managers…but that’s begun to change.

Why? Many reasons – all of which you can discover in our blog 10 Reasons why Hiring Managers are using Recruitment Agencies Again – if you’re remotely interested.

However, what’s more important for you, as a job seeker, is knowing how to impress those recruitment agencies.

Our clients listen to us, trust us and value our opinion and they certainly take our expert advice on who they should interview, assess and eventually employ.

If you can get the recruitment consultant on side, then that’s a VERY powerful weapon… and that’s where this blog comes in.

Below, discover our countdown of the top 10 most common ways you can irritate a recruitment consultant (and possibly sabotage your entire job search).

10. CV Blasting in Desperation.

A (good) recruitment consultant will seek out only relevant, passionate and committed candidates for each vacancy.

It may sound a little harsh, but receiving your CV 20 times, for a variety of different roles (none of which seem relevant) will just make you appear desperate and you’ll lose credibility.

Recruiter Pro Tip.

Just because the recruiting company isn’t revealed doesn’t mean that you can’t personalise your application for each vacancy.

The more tailored your cover letter and CV (or form) are, the more appealing you become… and the easier it’ll be to sell you as the candidate of choice!

There are 19 other crucial CV mistakes you could be making… check them out here!

If you’d like to find out more about how NOT to look desperate, check out our recent blog: 10 Steps to Avoid Looking Desperate During a Job Interview.

9. CV Clichés.

Woman rolling her eyes gifIf you didn’t noticed from our previous blogs “8 tips for developing a killer personal USP” and “10 soundbites that could ruin your CV” clichés and buzzwords are a complete turn-off for recruiters (agency and in-house).

The problem is, they often don’t actually mean anything.

“I have a strong work ethic,” “am a team player” and “am also self-motivated” doesn’t add anything fresh to the conversation.

Other candidates are hardly going to email over a cover letter admitting that they’re ‘lazy,’ ‘unfriendly’ and ‘in need of a kick up the backside to get anything done.’

Words that are used too often lose all meaning and influence.

8. ‘Creative’ CVs.

Stand out from the crowd CV cliches irritate a recruitment consultant

khunaspix at

Take a second to consider how many CVs, cover letters and application forms that recruitment consultants sift through each year… a lot, lets put it that way.

It’s pretty difficult to stand out from the crowd and when you do, you’d better hope it’s for good reasons!

Sometimes, the more “creative” candidates get it SO right – like the geniuses in our recent blog “23 of the World’s Most Creative CVs.”

However, most of the time, these creative attempts seem to miss their mark – like the poor sods in our recent blog “23 Cover Letters, Gone Wrong.”

The point is, recruitment consultants will have seen it all before, so unless you can really pull off a bobby-dazzler, no expense spared, a nice simple CV will do just the trick!

PS. On the subject of ‘creative CVs’ – it’s also just a little bit weird when you attach a headshot. It’s definitely not necessary, it comes across a little bit arrogant and we’re going to take a look at your LinkedIn profile anyway, so chill out.

PPS. If you want to learn how to ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch, check out our recent blog post: 12 Rookie Mistakes You’re Making on LinkedIn (Probably).

7. Chaotic CVs.

It’s SO frustrating when you find the perfect candidate and then they turn out to have a crappy CV…

Usually for one of three reasons…

  • It’s not structured in a chronological or sensible order.
  • It doesn’t include all of the necessary information.
  • It’s riddled with spelling mistakes and typos.
chaotic businessman

Prakairoj at

Most of the time, recruitment consultants won’t even bother to contact you, especially if they’ve already got a long list of candidates interested.

Sometimes, if they see a glimmer of potential amongst the chaos, they MIGHT make an exception to the rule… but is it worth the risk?

Check out this recent blog to find out the: 6 vital CV tweaks that could help you land an interview.

PS. Please stop talking about yourself in the 3rd person… that’s also a real pet-peeve!

6. Dishonesty.

Pinnochio gif - nose growingA good recruitment consultant will work their arse off to get you the job you deserve… but you must be straight with them.

No surprises, no shock confessions, no bullsh*t!

If there are lies on your CV or you’ve withheld any important information then recruitment consultants are pretty good at sussing it out (it’s what we do) and obviously they’re not going to be happy.

Think about it – it makes them look bad too, for backing you in the first place.

5. Lack of Communication.

This is an biggie…

If a recruitment consultant can’t get hold of you, via email or telephone… they’re not going to chase you forever.

You’re clearly just not interested in the vacancy.

If you can’t get to the phone because you’re at work then, at the very least, call them back at lunch or pop over an email to let them know.

Recruiter Pro Tip. 

If you do feel like you’re being hounded by a recruitment, then it could mean one of two things…

a) You are a rare and sought-after job candidate that they’re not willing to let go.

b) They are not having much luck with the vacancy.

In both cases, congrats, you have the power!

But remember, it won’t last forever; eventually they’ll get sick of you stringing them along or failing to communicate.

If you DON’T want to annoy a recruitment consultant, then DON’T go above their head and contact the advertising company directly (without permission).

The hiring manager has hired an agency for a reason, so emailing them is just likely to piss them (and your consultant) off.

4. Not Dressing to Impress at Interview.

woman in very casual dress

artur84 at

After all of that hard work getting you to the interview, there’s nothing more frustrating than learning that a candidate showed up in scruffy, inappropriate attire.

It’s like one huge act of self-sabotage, seconds before the finish line.

And they WILL find out; most recruiters will build up a great relationship with their clients, so if you turn up not looking the part, guess who they’re going to call…

This sort of behaviour shows that you’re really serious about finding a job and to be frank, it’s just rude.


3. Not Preparing For Interview.

Man looking confident with notes during an interview

photostock at

OK, perhaps some recruitment consultants will forgive you for a minor error in interview attire.

Perhaps you misread the company culture or haven’t read any of Coburg Banks’ interview tips?

But lack of interview preparation is another kettle of fish altogether.

Everyone knows the importance of doing research before any interview… it’s common sense!

Showing up and appearing just a little bit clueless is a waste of the hiring manager’s time and again, it makes your recruitment consultant look bad for recommending you in the first place.

(They won’t be recommending you again, put it that way).

2. Randomly Changing Your Salary Requirements.

Fry from futurama with caption saying 'shut up and take my money'So… you’ve got ALL the way through the process, there’s a job offer on the table and suddenly, out of nowhere you decide you’d like more money.

Why? Why? Why?

(Good) recruitment consultants will be so meticulous on this point…

They’ll make sure that they know your salary requirements at the beginning of the process and they won’t put you in for any jobs that don’t match those requirements.

By changing your mind at the last minute, you’re putting the consultant in an awkward position, probably really irritating the hiring manager and completely losing credibility yourself.

Just be sensible and honest at the start of the process!

1. Accepting a Counter-Offer

really frustrated woman pulling an angry face gifThe winner, the biggest pet peeve of all recruitment consultants: candidates who accept a counter-offer.

Honestly, this is just so frustrating for recruitment consultants and it happens all the time.

It basically amounts to a complete waste of our time, energy and resources.

Fair enough, if your current company surprisingly offers you a salary increase to get you to stay – although you should really consider why you wanted to leave in the first place – are you happy?

But if you had no intention of accepting a new job and were merely attempting to leverage a salary increase, you can seriously expect to be blacklisted.

Why not just ask your current employer?

For guidance, check out our recent blog teaching you how to negotiate a higher salary from your current employers.


The truth is, there’s not really that much I can say to persuade you NOT to irritate your recruitment agency…

But you should remember; you never know when, during your career, you might come across a company you spurned or a recruitment consultant you left high and dry.

(One day, you might end up needing them on side!)

Recruiter Pro Tip.

No one likes a time-waster.

In fact, we wrote an entire strategy for our clients detailing how to avoid getting strung along by job candidates.

If you’re serious and you want to make a good impression with your recruitment consultant (who really does have the ability to speed up your job search) and your hiring manager, then I urge you to avoid the behaviours outlines above and read our 10 top tips for dealing with recruitment agencies.

Remember we work with hundreds of other candidates and clients and we might have the PERFECT role for you… but you’re going to have to stand out from the crowd (in a good way).

So, that’s the top 10 ways to irritate your recruitment consultant – please don’t use it against us!

Good luck job hunting!

- Anthony Hughes

Anthony Hughes

Anthony is a recruitment veteran of 18 years and is also one of the original founders of Coburg Banks. He now trains recruitment consultants on the best methods to utilise when sourcing and assessing applicants for their clients. 


> More blog posts by Anthony Hughes

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