Rewriting the recruitment agency rule book

By Rebecca Thurlow, Compass Point Recruitment

You will read a lot in this issue of Suffolk Director about how local companies are doing great work in the local community, helping others and going the extra mile for their own staff.
Published in Suffolk Director magazine, Spring | Summer 2022
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Recruitment: Compass Point Recruitment

Rewriting the recruitment agency rule book

It’s all positive and fits the altruistic theme perfectly, but I wanted to look at it from a different angle. In my view, giving back or helping others should also be something businesses do for each other. Let me explain more.

I’ll be the first to admit that clients can have a love or hate relationship with recruitment companies. The sector has a mixed bag of reviews, with some agencies seen to chase fees no matter what. Some businesses also begrudge paying those fees, even if we found a successful candidate. It isn’t easy to build long-lasting relationships when that happens.

At Compass Point Recruitment, we do things differently.

Thriving in East Anglia

Although we now recruit from all over Suffolk and Norfolk, we are based in Bury St Edmunds, a small market town. The local business community is, as you might expect, closely-knit, and most of us know each other.

Compass Point Recruitment has not just survived but thrived in the region for 27 years. We could never do that if we appear to be pushy to win fees. People have long memories, and a lousy reputation sticks around, especially in a small town like this.

So we are clear about working for the business and the candidate to do whatever is best for them both.

Sometimes that means we consult ourselves out of receiving a fee! But it’s all good because by saving a company money today, we build trust for the future. When they recruit again, they navigate to Compass Point Recruitment.

We had an excellent example of this recently. A client locally was looking to fill a position that came with a £35,000 salary. Ordinarily, we could easily find the ideal candidate from our talent pool, match the two up, and raise our invoice. Job done.

But in this case, once we established the job description and asked probing questions about other members of the team, I took the view that the company could potentially fill the position from within. By promoting internally, they achieve four benefits:

  • They have loyalty from a newly promoted member of the team
  • Other staff members appreciate there is a chance of career progression
  • The agency fee that was saved, was transferred to their training budget to up-skill the successful candidate

Yes, the business needs to increase the promoted person’s salary and re-recruit at a lower level to replace them, but the long-term savings are clear.

You will not find many recruitment agencies willing to walk away from a fee if it is not in the customer’s best interest. When the recruitment agency and the client work in partnership, both parties are committed to finding the right, recruitment solution.

So, you see, altruism can mean working responsibly towards clients, just as much as defining your corporate social responsibility.

Rewriting the recruitment agency rule book 1

Rebecca Thurlow is Founder and MD at Compass Point Recruitment. If you are looking for a recruitment partner that thinks outside of the box, contact:
T: 01284 765700
or visit

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