Breaking the cycle: Recruitment expert James Vizor reveals why so many recruiters settle for less

“My advice for recruiters is to listen to their own advice. Too many recruiters don’t use their heads to gauge if they are in the right recruitment agency to get them to where they want to be.”

James Vizor
Director of RULE Recruitment
James Vizor on why do recruiters keep settling for less


The transformative power of recruitment

Recruitment is an industry that can change lives. Not just for the people we place but for the consultants who work in the sector.

It’s an industry that rewards hard work, offers ‘black and white’ career development, and the ability to control your earnings.

When I first embarked on my recruitment journey in 2004, earning £100k was the ultimate dream. It was the benchmark that every trainee strived for and the figure every manager presented as a realistic ‘possibility.’

Fast forward nearly two decades, and we now see recruiters achieving seven-figure incomes. While they are admittedly few, they do exist, and that elusive six-figure salary is earned by many within two to three years of leaving university.

The recruitment industry has also undergone a significant transformation, both in the way work is conducted and in the environments where it takes place.

Back in the late nineties and early noughties, it was common for recruiters only to be allowed to sit down when they had transacted a deal for the month. Today firms can’t provide enough beanbags for people to sit on!

As someone who has collaborated with thousands of recruiters across hundreds of agencies, I believe I’m well-positioned to assert that the recruitment industry has evolved for the better.

The dark side of recruitment

Many agencies provide genuine opportunities for people to build exciting, lucrative, and rewarding careers and even offer supportive and sustainable cultures.

Yet, hundreds, quite possibly thousands of recruiters work for agencies that treat them like s**t.

Agencies that offer barely more than 10% commission or firms that still expect their consultants to work excessively long hours, as if they were miners laboring in the pits for 12 hours a day.

We encountered a candidate who shared that her boss deducted half of her monthly commission simply because she didn’t meet her call time quota. Considering she was a £350k contract biller, the situation was truly baffling!

Another was not allowed to WFH to avoid the recent train strikes. They had to travel over two hours each way to get to work. Again, they were a seasoned recruiter with good numbers to their name.

I always ask the people who worked at these agencies, “Why did you stay there so long”? The answer is always the same… “We were brainwashed.”

Recruitment directors are very good at telling their teams what their competitors don’t do and how good they have it.

Speaking to a candidate from one of these ‘old school’ firms we go on to place is always frustrating. “I can’t believe how much better it is,” they say.

What can recruiters do to get what they deserve?

My advice for recruiters is to listen to their own advice. Too many recruiters don’t use their heads to gauge if they are in the right recruitment agency to get them to where they want to be. 

1. Evaluate your current situation

Take a step back and evaluate your current agency’s incentive structure, benefits, and culture. 

Determine if you are receiving fair remuneration for your efforts and whether there is a transparent career progression path in place. 

Ensure that the work environment is conducive to your mental health and well-being.

2. Listen to your instincts

Listen to your instincts and be willing to consider new opportunities that align with your career aspirations and personal values. 

Don’t let fear or complacency keep you from exploring different options that could potentially lead to a more fulfilling and rewarding career.

3. Do your research

Research competing agencies and speak with recruiters who have made the switch to understand the advantages and challenges they have encountered. 

Be sure to examine the company’s culture, values, career progression opportunities, and any other relevant factors that could impact

4. Set clear goals

Set clear career goals and determine what you want to achieve in your professional journey. Identify the skills and experience you want to acquire, and look for an agency that can help you achieve those objectives. 

5. Don’t settle for less

Are you in a firm that pays you a third of what you bill (base included) with a transparent career progression? 

Are you part of a firm that treats you well and provides the environment to evolve and develop? 

Does your agency see you as a number, or does your boss truly value and appreciate your efforts?

For the most part, agency recruiters perform similar tasks across the board. So why not choose to work with a firm that offers you greater benefits and support? After all, there’s no shortage of exceptional agencies out there.

The industry offers immense opportunities for growth, success, and fulfillment. Embrace the possibilities and make the most of your potential – you deserve the best.


James Vizor

James has worked in the R2R market since 2004. He has supplied over 500 agencies with candidates across Executive Search and Contingent recruitment. Although he focuses most of his time on the London market, he has delivered across various global locations, including the USA, Asia, Europe, and Australia. 

James is a Director of RULE Recruitment, an agency that supplies the recruitment market with both graduate trainees right through to Director level candidates.


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