Never use a Recruitment Agency!-please read and dont fall into traps!



Hi Friends,

First I hope Wiki wont delete this!!! Please read further…its worth reading…

This is just to share my unfortunate experience which was so devastating that I do not want anyone to come across such a situation. I have had applied for the position of Financial Ombudsman Adjudicator. First, I got a mail from an agency (they saw my CV n some website) regarding this job about the same time I discovered about this job advertised by the FOS directly in the milk round. I replied happily to the agency saying I am inetersted to apply for the post as it was something which I was really looking for. Infact, it was so cos I had done my PhD proposal on that which I cudn continue due to non availability of funding. They asked me whether I am happy if they represent me. I thought they may know more about the whole procedure and would represent me properly as they will get money. So I didn apply to the FOS directly thinking that why should I bombard them with my application from different sides.

Anyways, I did the SHL test which I passed and went to London all the way from my place (three hrs journey by train) to take the letter writing test and the SHL verifying test. First, I took the verifying test and then they came to me with the letter writing siatution. I took the test and I was very confident about the whole thing that I will get the position as I know the FOS, FSA and all in & out. I knew well how to handle the letter writing situation as I was well prepared and wrote a proper letter. After that, the person who guided me there told me that he will send my aplication along with the letter to the FOS and they would get back in a weeks time or so. This happend on last thursday. I contacted the agency thru email to the lady who was dealing with me, (i called them many times but they didn put my call to the person dealing with my matter) whether they have heard anything from the FOS for which they replied they have not yet and it is still under process.

I contacted them again yesterday for which I got the reply that the FOS contacted them with the pass and fails and unfortunately my letter was not accepted. I could not believe it, bcos I know how I did it, how well I handle the situation and give a good shot (i know somtimes it happens that you may be confident yet u wudn get thru, but this time it wasnt just so). I thought I should get the feedback, I cant do anything better ever in my life and that means I will be jobless for ever!!! I contacted the agency and asked for feedback . After a long time trying them, a person (not the lady who delas with my matter) contacted me and said they cannot get feedback as FOS would not give considering the large number of applications. I tried to make them understand why I feel I should get a feedback. After all I am a lawyer atleast I should know my right!

I contacted the recruitment section of FOS directly and asked for feedback and I told them I am contacting them directly cos the agency told me FOS will not give feedback. The FOS took my name and the name of agency and informed me they will give the feedback for my appli to the agency who will contact me as that’s their policy. I thought fair enough! I wrote to the lady of the agency with whom I was corresponding that I had asked for feedback and you will get it and please send that to me as soon as you recieve it. Minutes after that I got a call from the Agency again, just to inform me that MY APPLICATION WAS NOT SUBMITTED. I asked him why, he said I didn pass the verifying SHL test. How on earth can they tell me so after being so long saying that my application has been submitted and is waiting for response. If I hadnt passed the verifying one why did I do the letter writing? they cud have checked then and there the result of the test before proceeding to the next stage. And I was the only person who was there to take this on that day afternoon, so it was not like there were 10’s of ppl and they cant do it for everyone. It was just me there on that day after noon. And I dont believe i didn pass the SHL, cos whenver I do the vrbal reasoning I do score more than 60 or 70 all the time and also apart from online test, i was preparing with the GMAT questions. I just don believe it and I have mails from them saying I passed it and they have nevr till that call told me that my application was not submitted. I could not talk to the agency again after that when I recovered from the shock as it was after 4.00pm and they had finished for the day.

If I had applied directly, this would not have happened to me. I trusted the agency and did not do my appli directly. I do not know whether the FOS has closed the date. I am waiting to check with them on monday. I saw this job still advertised by this agency and another one. But I no more trust the agencies. They just need money and it may not be through you (even if you are the best candidate) that they make, so they dont have to care that. I pity the employers who use them!!! I feel sad for those like me who had not got justice or what they deserve for no fault of ours.

I know what to do and how to deal the matter with the agency…they are supposed to be career makers not career breakers!!!..but I would be happy if you can give your thoughts on this.

Further, just a piece of advice if this helps anyone out there…

If ever any agency contacts you with any job…google that first you will see the detilas how to apply to the employer directly and do that…you can be at peace later!!!

I am not generalising with my experience but there are some situations which are avoidable…after all you learn from your experiences but there are certain things that you can learn from experiences of others also!!!

Thanks for reading!!!


Thanks for your input! It sounds like you’ve had a rough time, and the particular agency you were dealing with are pretty awful!

However, I think it’s important to point out that all recruitment agencies are different and that although there are some very bad and unscrupulous ones, there are also so very good, high calibre ones too.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that recruitment agencies only get paid if they place a candidate in a job at a firm, so there is no reason for an agency to mess a candidate about, as they have with you. The only reason this would happen is if the agency or particular recruitment consultant in question is disorganised or just not very good at what they’re doing.

However, in my opinion, what seems to be going on here is that after you submitted your application to the recruitment firm, the FOS decided that they had enough candidate applications and probably told your recruitment agency to stop sending any more through. This could be why yours was not sent. The agency may have continued testing you because they thought that if the FOS changed their mind at a later date and decided they wanted more applications, they’d be able to send yours through straight-away, including results from the tests.

In your position I would contact FOS directly. If they have stopped accepting applications, explain you situation and how much you want to work there and they may still let you apply.

Good luck and keep us posted!



Hi Redsuperted,

Thank you very much for the comments. Yeah you are right and i realised that in my case exactly this has happened because otherwise they dont have to lie to me saying my application has been submitted and they got the pass and fails, and mine got rejected. But I regret for not applying directly!!! There may be good agencies and thats why i said am not genaralising :slight_smile:

Also, I am planning to contact FOS directly to see whether they are accepting anymore applications, just to try my luck!!!


Hi Philip, I think we have used the same appalling agency, I didin’t get through either and the lady dealing with my initally refused to take my call when I called up to find out what happened with my application also !. Email me on so we can discuss this further.


What is the name of the agency?


Mate, I hear you. I didn’t get past the case study either. I thought it went ok, the dude said i had a 70% chance of interview but shit hit the fan.
my pleas for feedback were met with silence. Its dissapointing, but don’t dwell on it too much something will come along, times are tough. Just keep trying theird nothing else one can do.


they have been recruiting for the role for some time now i.e. months apparently since last autumn, i assume they have quite a few roles to fill and if they filter so many applicants out and have so many people applying for the same positions, it may also be that even once people are successful in passing all the interviews they may not like the role or the fos may decide that that person is unsuitable for the role.

My point is that as they have been recruiting for some time its quite possible that there are positions still available and perhaps will be for some time, it has been noted on their website that the number of complaints is increasing and so the number of adjudicators they need will most likely increase as well, which is rare in this moment in time where many companies are scaling back recruitment programs, its quite possible that in six months they may still be recruiting or alternatively you may wish to use a different agency and reapply sooner but it may be likely that they would reject you again if they noticed you applied recently.

As for the verification test, did you know what your original score was? it may be that you original score was just on the borderline of passing and so on the verification test you scored slightly under what your original score was and so failed the test not by having a completly different score but because your score was under the minimum standard- you said your scores where always with 60-70s? well perhaps and most likely the minimum score would be around the 60 mark


Being a specialist recruiter, I thought I would enlighten you on a few points.

Firstly not all recruiters are the same. If you apply directly rather than a good agency you have less of a chance in gaining an interview because you dont have access to specific information that will help you through an interview process.

A good recruiter should help and advise you on a recruitment process, but at the same time it is a business and they are employed by the company to source suitable candidates, they are not paid by you to get you a job.

Sometimes if an agency is running a big campaign for a company involving a lot of applications and running a testing process (which is what it sounds like you have just been through) this is because the company wants to restrict applications and only involve themselves with high end candidates. The agency then may be involved in assessing your tests and they are the ones in the know as to how your tests compare with that of everyone else they test. It sounds to me that they did not feel your test was of the quality of that, that has been requested from their client and so they told you, you had failed.

If the agency thought you had a chance at passing that test and getting the job, they would have put you forward for it, but they obviously didnt. You then wade in there and demand an explaination from the company, which believe me they dont take kindly to, and so may have ruined your future chances of being considered for a position at the company you were interested in.


dear SM,

Thank you very much for your enlightenment. Sorry for the delayed reply.

First I would ask you to read my long story before commenting. To make things clear they had not told me that my application was not sent to the company. They infact told me my application was sent to the company and I desperately waited for two weeks for that and to be more clear, I was in constant touch with that agency.

Whatever, I was really angry but always I believe whatever happens happens for the best. I am very well placed now in a better position with a better pay. I do not want my life to give me more than this at this difficult time. I strongly believe, they just lost an exceptional candidate!!! :slight_smile:

Thank you!



I have already read your long story, and although its a shame you did not manage to find an agency by which you could have a good working relationship with, as I mentioned previously, on some campaigns agencies are in responsible for the marking of tests. If they did not feel your’s was up to the quality it needed to be, they didnt send it and told you, you had failed, which by the sounds of it, is what the company would have said anyway.

The agency make fee’s from you getting a job so they will not hinder your chances!

Perhaps instead it would be more constructive for you to consider the test that you did with the agency and what you could do diferently next time to ensure a better outcome.

Good luck in your future career persuits.



Hi Philip,

I was on the forum roaming and somehow ended up visiting this page!!! Guess what I have been asked to take a verbal reasoning test by a recruitment agency (name starts with S) for FOS - Adjudicator role. I hope they are not going to waste my time; I have other interviews with Deloitte, KPMG and waiting to hear from Barcap so I would rather concentrate on those


What is the name of this agency ?


Hi Priya, what was the agency name? Im applying at the moment… getting me worried now


Thanks for the insightful threads for FOS.

Silent Monkey has a point, even if I didn’t get put forward I wouldn’t go complain about it… ruins chances to be kept on the books with the agency and ruins chances with FOS…

Regardless of who the agency is… key thing is to soar through the tests with high marks and then pray for good results. pass rate is 70% so I should aim for 100%. If I don’t make it then just got to move on.

Fellow applicants, don’t get scared and just revise calmly. We can only do our best. Good luck all!



ps- Hope you (Philip) have found a job you enjoy and like. If not, hang in there, don’t let things get you down.


From reading this article I can only conclude that you would fail every verbal, written and personality test that you ever take. You are clearly a complete moron that would have been a massive handicap for the Financial Ombudsman Adjudicator position.

I hear Burger King is hiring.


oooh this post WAS a long time ago…I have some experience with agencies in my field (social care) and none of it is any good.
It’s on my blog (mmmm can I put the link on here or will I be breaking the rules…:wink:

I’m sure there are some “good, professional” agencies out there…(well. I’m not-I never found any but people tell me there are)…but how do you know which is which?


It’s amazing that someone can post on here complaining that they didn’t get a job that involved letter-writing and not even use the facility of a spell-checker!
Looking at the chavvy grammer, incorrect use of punctuation, poor spelling and bad gramatics it is clear that this person certainly doesn’t have a PHd and is certainly not a lawyer or any senior level in finance. Instead they are clearly an entry level bottom-feeder trying their luck at a level of work clearly beyond their ability.
This story only goes to highlight how a recruitment agency can give everyone a fair opportunity without judging simply on a CV. They gave you the chance to attend an interview and test - you failed and the reasons are clear from your story.


I know this is a very old post, but just to let yall know. I dont even have a highschool diploma, i just have lots of experience working in a bank and am articulate and confident. I got the job and will start in August. The test was easy, the letter I wrote was nothign special, and the interview was a breeze. The most important thing to highlight is why you want the job and how much you apprciate the work the FOS do. Be prepared to answer competency based questions with clear and specifich examples, and do some homework on the FOS to have an understanding of who they are before you go. It all starts with a phone interview then a face to face and a test. Good luck to everyone who goes for job. Hope to see some of you there


I know that my comment has nothing to do with ur add however I saw “never use a recruitment agency” I worked with 4 so far and I got just one where I have to complain and tell everyone “Source 4” those ate two faced ppl. Telling you not the truth and actually give a s**** about you. I left my job. I have one week notice as it said it in my contract. I’m still waiting to get paid some money and “they” confirmed that I will have the money by today well nothing and “they” had the invoice by last week. And not too forget it was 4 weeks ago that I left the company and the agency !!!


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