Dear Future Employees

Tokyo is hiring for a few roles at the moment.

It makes sense to publish the jobs on various websites and social platforms.

The downside is spending days fending off recruitment agents — hounding us by phone, email, Twitter, LinkedIn, acting as if they’re the first recruiter to ever get in touch, rather than being the twenty-fifth trying to pitch their wares that day.

Slapping about the recruiters and their bullshit tactics is far too easy, so instead lets focus on you — the candidate — and highlight why it’s such a bad idea to use these agents (in most cases).

1. It makes you look like a lazy bastard

Unless you’re CEO of a global company and retaining the services of a niche head-hunting agent to land your next £1m salary, you should have no reason to outsource your job-search to a kid in a suit (ok, I’m generalising). If you really want a job at a creative agency, send in your own CV, maybe even spend five minutes telling the agency why you’d like to work there. Do this for each application you make. It’s worth it.

2. You are obliterating your chances of working anywhere decent, if anywhere at all

You will only get interviews with companies that use recruiters. Narrow it down further — you will only get interviews with companies that use recruiters and are prepared to work with your specific agent. I’m going to be kind and suggest that you’ve unwittingly limited your job search to 1% of the overall market before you’ve even started.

3. Recruiters care about money first, their career second, your career third

Most of the recruiter spam we get starts along the lines of “I am representing an exceptional candidate that would be perfect for your agency blah blah”. Let’s take this at face value: You are talented and you would be a perfect fit within our team; maybe you’ve even mentioned our company to the recruiter specifically. Problem is, we don’t want to pay this guy eight grand to give us your non-redacted details. So off he goes to the next “perfect agency” (perfect, providing they stump up the cash of course).

4. It can be kind of risky

If you’ve worked in the industry for a bit, you’ll know that creative communities can be small (and quite nosey) — even in large cities. Outsourcing your job search is also outsourcing the manner in which your CV gets bandied around the place and who gets to find out you’re maybe not all that happy where you are. Most agencies can tell stories about receiving unsolicited CVs and immediately knowing who the candidate is. At my last company, we received recruiter spam with a CV attached of someone that worked for us at the time, sitting opposite me (poor guy). Apparently the recruiter clicked the wrong button. You would not have clicked the wrong button.

5. You can do this!

It’s possible you’ve been told that you need the recruiter’s help with your CV and interview techniques. Maybe you need the recruiter’s network to get a foot in the door? You don’t. If you feel you need advice, ask friends and family. Reach out to industry people over Twitter, or email someone you respect with a question or two. If you do get an interview with an agency (after directly getting in touch yourself of course), just be real; be yourself. We can see through bullshit techniques and stock answers. They’re not helpful.

Disclaimer: There are no doubt some very nice recruiters that don’t act in the manner described above and I’m sure you’re about to let me know. My views are based on 15 years industry experience dealing with the thousands that have contacted us in this time (I’ve even used recruitment services in a previous life — it didn’t end well). Blame your peers folks, not me.