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Currently I am concluding a period of several weeks of going through job offers and interviews in order to find a new job. During this time, I was assisted by several recruitment agencies.

All of the agencies did a good job in my view, but one of them really stood out in terms of service and dedication. This agency's recruiters were very friendly and obliging, sometimes calling me multiple times a day to supply me with updates regarding new job offers. The majority of job offers that I got resulted from this agency's efforts.

Unfortunately though, after weighing all the factors, I will most probably decide for a job that came from another agency. From the point of view of the agency hightlighted in the previous paragraph, my case was therefore a total waste of time and resources.

This makes me feel bad about my decision and I'm wondering if there are ways of compensating them for their efforts other than choosing one of their jobs (all of which are overall quite a bit worse than my favorite option).

  • Do you have to compensate them? Most agencies know that their "workers" are just another name on a list, sad as it is to say. Is this agency special? Did a friend or someone from the agency recommend you to them? – B1313 Jun 19 '16 at 21:25
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    Recommend you retitle this as "unfruitful efforts" sounds a bit negative. They put in a lot of effort but the positions they have don't match your interests, that happens. B1313's answer is pretty right on. The only "compensation" I can think of is letting them put you down as someone to contact in 2 years' time or doing so yourself when you're ready to move on. – Lilienthal Jun 19 '16 at 21:54
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    I had a specific recruiter at one recruiting agency that stood out well above the rest. He made the agency look amazing, while others that I've spoken to have otherwise had a negative view of the agency as a whole. I got the individual recruiter a small gift card as thanks for his efforts. – Thebluefish Jun 19 '16 at 22:17
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    Why not just let them know you appreciated it and you will be recommending them to others you know? – Raystafarian Jun 20 '16 at 12:04
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I would send them a polite letter (or e-mail) stating that you have accepted another job offer (don't go into more specifics than that) and appreciate their time and effort in trying procure a job for you. Let them know that it is just the best decision for you, your career, and family.

Beyond that, there is no reason to do anything more or feel guilty. Job hunting is vicious and you should only be looking out for you and your family. They should understand and not have any hard feelings as offers can crop up out of nowhere.

  • +1 This is a nice gesture. Also, if you can recall the names of the people you worked with, be sure to mention them in your letter. – Lumberjack Jun 20 '16 at 3:02
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Sending them a personal letter of thanks will undoubtedly be well appreciated. Telling all your friends, and anybody else, what a great job they did will have the most concrete benefit. Recruitment agencies thrive on recommendations. Tell your friends and your social media contacts.

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The one time I dealt with a recruiter that really seemed to take extra effort and understand my match to potential companies, it ended in the same way - a couple of useful leads but I ended up taking another opportunity.

What I did: I connected on LinkedIn and recommended the recruiter (a site feature is you can recommend people you work with), praising the attention to detail. Now this is not the same as them earning a commission by placing you, but they may still appreciate it. Also, if you find a good recruitment agent whose approach works for you, it is worth bookmarking them in some way - that was a useful side effect for me, the agent is still there in my contacts list (in fact it seems they have been promoted, so I cannot of been the only one to have had a high opinion). You never know when you might be on either end of the recruitment process in future.

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