Contingent workers are 50% more likely to be loyal to recruitment agencies that provide a smooth hiring experience

New research from Bullhorn highlights the factors that will increase talent’s likelihood to work with a recruitment agency again

9 Nov. 2023 — SYDNEY — Contingent workers expect a smooth experience at every stage of the recruitment lifecycle, according to new data from Bullhorn, the global leader in software for the staffing and recruitment industry. Out of more than 1,000 contingent workers surveyed globally, 68% of contingent workers would work with their recruitment agency again, an increase from 57% of contingent workers surveyed in 2022. But there’s still opportunity to improve: meeting talent expectations at each stage of the hiring process stands to increase that loyalty significantly. 

Overall, contingent workers appear more satisfied with their experience working with recruitment agencies. In 2023, 57% of contingent workers are considering leaving temporary work for full-time employment if it is available, down from 64% in 2022. Still, with an increase in employers’ reliance on contingent labour and a persistent talent shortage, it’s more important than ever for recruitment agencies to exceed candidates’ expectations and increase the likelihood that they will want to work with an agency again. The GRID 2023 Talent Trends Report identified key areas in which agencies can do that by delivering a smooth recruitment process from start to finish.

Candidates’ experience throughout recruitment process impacts loyalty

Candidates were clear that at every stage of the recruitment process, a smooth experience would increase their likelihood of working with an agency by about 50%. At each of the stages below, a positive experience showed a corresponding increase in the likelihood that candidates would work with an agency again:

  • Job search: 27% increase
  • Interview process: 44% increase
  • Filling out forms: 57% increase
  • Job fit: 48% increase
  • Logging and submitting time: 35% increase

Candidates expect frequent communication before and during assignments

Responsiveness is key to retaining talent: candidates are 73% more likely to keep working with a recruitment agency if they found their recruiter to provide prompt communication. Whether during the recruitment process or while on assignment, 60% of candidates expect to hear from their recruiter at least once a week; if recruiters meet this expectation, then 84% of candidates would work with them again. When it comes to candidates’ preferred communication channel, email still reigns supreme, with 44% of all candidates listing it as their top choice — although it’s important to pay attention to local preferences, as approximately one-quarter of candidates preferred WhatsApp or other app notifications in Europe. Meanwhile, 30% of candidates stopped working with a recruitment agency if they didn’t receive enough communication from their recruiter.

Fast and accurate job placement matters

When asked why they chose to work with a recruitment agency, 31% of workers said it was because the agency had access to the jobs they wanted, making this the top reason. Delivering on this perception pays off: there was a 48% increase in a worker’s willingness to work with an agency again if the recruiter found jobs that were a good fit. Speed is also a priority when talent choose to work with a recruitment agency. Nearly three-quarters of candidates (72%) indicated they want to be placed in a job within four weeks of their first contact with an agency – and 22% actually hope to be placed within a week. Most recruitment agencies fall somewhere in between these ranges, taking about two weeks, according to Bullhorn data. It is worth noting that 62% of candidates stopped working with a recruitment agency for reasons related to speed: either the process was taking too long or they found another job before the agency was able to complete the process. 

“As recruitment agencies strive to retain business and improve their margins, it’s more important than ever to cultivate a loyal community of satisfied talent,” said Andre Mileti, Product Evangelist, Talent Experience at Bullhorn. “The agencies that succeed in this climate will be those that can place candidates in the right jobs quickly, while offering a convenient, consumer-grade experience. And the recruiters who will be able to do this best are those who have the right talent-facing technologies accompanying their efforts.” 

Read the complete report here.

About Bullhorn
Bullhorn is the global leader in software for the staffing industry. More than 10,000 companies rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to power their staffing processes from start to finish. Headquartered in Boston, with offices around the world, Bullhorn is founder-led and employs nearly 1,500 people globally. To learn more, visit or follow Bullhorn on Linkedin or X.

Media contact:
Kara Prone
Director, Global Content and Communications