What are recruitment companies?


If you are active on LinkedIn or looking for a job in the UK, you might have been contacted by a recruiter or seen offers where you don’t know the practice, you only know the recruitment company.

While many might see this as a great way to look for a job, it has to make you wonder “what’s the catch?”

So here are some basic points about recruitment companies:

  • Their clients are the practices contacting them with vacancies
  • They charge their clients for their services
  • They will likely provide you with different job offers, but not necessarily the right job offers
  • They might have offers that you don’t find advertised
  • They might be able to help you with your CV and negotiating your salary


Well, why are there recruiters in the first place? There are some reasons:

  • The practice can’t find a candidate on their own (ie no one replies to their ads)
  • The practice wants to outsource recruitment
  • There are too many vacancies and not enough vets! Recruiters try to create a pool of vets to fill in vacancies and get paid for it


So, who’s the client here? The practice. Who’s the service provider? The recruitment company. Who are you? The “resource”.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this – someone struggles to find a vet, they ask someone else if they know a vet. If they do, they get rewarded (ie paid).

But – don’t forget that you, as a vet, are not the client. The practices are the clients. Therefore, a recruitment company will always try to find a vacancy for you, whether it suits your interests or not. And if you say no, soon there will be another offer. And after a lot of “no”s, you might be inclined to say yes just because you don’t want to keep saying no, even if that’s not quite what you were looking for. Again, nothing wrong with that (if you do accept something you want, otherwise you might just be getting yourself in trouble and resenting the job very quickly). Just keep in mind that your “yes” is costing money to the practice: if you are placed in a vacancy by a recruitment company, they will be paid a “finder’s fee” for having referred you. This fee can be quite silly, as in – expensive! It can go anywhere from 10 to 20% of the vet’s salary. That can translate to anything from 4000 pounds and OVER. Now that’s a lot of money to pay for a vet, no? Some practices are happy to pay for it (they think it’s worth it for not going through the hassle of recruitment), others had no choice as they couldn’t find a vet otherwise – some might reduce your salary because of it.


Why would the practice not be able to find a vet on their own? Well, they either didn’t try (they always outsource recruiting) or there’s something in the offer that is not attracting the vets – either the location, the rota, the conditions, the salary, etc. If practices with all the right conditions struggle, it’s no surprise that those with other “less desirable” conditions would struggle even more… So here’s the thing:

There IS a recruitment crisis in the veterinary sector in the UK. There are too many vacancies for the number of vets available, or with conditions that the vets are trying to steer away from (for instance, recent mothers that want more time with the kids and don’t want to work full-time). Practices struggle to find suitable candidates (note the word “suitable”!). So most practices will prefer to speak to someone that approaches them directly rather than someone that has been referred by an agency. Any practice that is actively advertising will look at all the candidates that are applying independently before looking at the ones the recruitment agencies are sending their way. This is something that more and more are becoming aware of, including the recruitment agencies, so many of them have “upped” their game and will also offer “referral fees” – they will offer money to vets that refer other vets that end up being placed in a vacancy. This is to try to get more vets in their “pool”.

Now, there are some offers that you will only find through recruitment companies and some companies will have the advantage of helping you with your CV and even negotiating your salary, so they might be an option for you if you want something very particular. However, I would recommend that you don’t use JUST recruitment companies to search for jobs, and if you are interested in jobs in a certain area, then go through the old trick of contacting the local practices – they might have vacancies they’re not even advertising at all, and if you’ve got the skills they need, they will consider you!

If you do use recruitment agencies, don’t feel obliged to use only one – but keep in mind that once you “register”, you will get all sorts of offers, usually with no filters. Including after you have found a job. That can be quite annoying in the long term…


If you want to use something along the lines of a recruitment company, then I suggest you consider registering with the site Simply Locums. Simply Locums was created by a vet and has locum and permanent positions, but the practices don’t get charged a “finder’s fee”, they get charged a yearly flat fee, much like if they had paid for an ad on Vet Record Jobs or Vet Times Jobs. Which is also much cheaper than a finder’s fee. You know the practices that are searching for vacancies and you apply directly. The only thing the platform does for you is work like another job ad platform.


Again, there are many recruitment companies around and you will notice that several corporates have their own recruitment division, just keep in mind that their interest is to serve the practices and they will charge the practices for their services – while if you introduce yourself and you’re a nice fit, it’s a lovely win-win situation: you get a job and the practice gets a vet.

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