The Secret Marketer has a bone to pick with recruitment firms

As the icy chill continues to depress my journey to and from work, the recruitment freeze that has hamstrung our growth for the past few years is finally showing signs of thawing.

I have official clearance to at last expand the brand team and I plan to fill my boots. However, it is important to understand that this hiring blitz will only restore the size of my team to pre-credit crunch levels, so I can not yet be accused of seasonal over-indulgence.

The team definitely deserves some additional hands on deck. They have done a sterling job this past 12 months, but I am genuinely worried that one or two of them are seriously tired. As a manager, you can’t ask more than a team who go the extra mile, but I am very aware that our recent workload is unsustainable. If there is one thing that this recession has done, it is to make people work harder. Combine this with the 24/7 nature of modern day communications and it makes it very difficult to escape the pressure cooker.

There has certainly been no room for passengers and I suspect many of us in marketing realise that we can no longer take job security for granted.

“Many of us in marketing realise that we can no longer take job security for granted”

In light of all this I really want to get the recruitment choices right and make good use of the precious extra headcount that is now available. It would be a disaster to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by rushing to put bums on seats who don’t fit in with the rest of the team.

I have enlisted the help of a well-known marketing recruitment firm to help with the search. This is meant to take a lot of donkey work out of the process because they allegedly sort the wheat from the chaff and produce a shortlist of appropriately filtered talent for interview.

Well, that’s the plan. But having just completed the first round of interviews, I am seriously disappointed with the quality of some of their recommendations.

Reading the consultant’s appraisals for each candidate, you could be mistaken that each and every one of them was destined for superstar status. Sadly that is a long way from the truth. I guess it’s a bit like buying a house. Estate agents, ooops I mean recruitment agents, are incentivised to move stock. I can live with this dynamic, though elaborate turd polishing tends to be rather a waste of valuable time for all concerned

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here