I can remember being on contract and wrangling a bottle of Whiskey out of the agent. I had to go into the car park and collect it quietly there as he didn't want the other people he was managing on site to get wind he'd given me it. Funny in an odd way.
Remember that an agent is just following the money. A lot are on basic + bonuses. One reason I used to keep the company and address of my current role off my CV is that their focus is so much on locating new roles.
Of note if you hate an ex-boss, just casually mention that you worked for X :D
For an employer, that means making sure they're not coaching candidates too much. I once learned a recruiter had coached a candidate so much that their resume was highlighting skills that were actually very weak. They even noted words we'd used a lot in explaining the position, and coached the candidate to use these words in stories. No one outright lied, as far as I could tell, but the recruiter was going a little too far in forcing the fit.
Potential employees need to watch out, too, because the recruiter doesn't really care if you're going to be happy or fulfilled in the position. I've also used recruiters to find jobs, and they helped me find a really great position once early in my career. The recruiter kept trying to get me in to interview for positions I didn't want. He'd say, "just check it out and see." Sorry, no. Make it clear you're not going to waste your time if it doesn't move you in the direction you want or offer the pay you demand.
Recruiters are often maligned on HN because of Linkedin spammers, but I think that's a minority of bad recruiters making more noise than everyone else. My view is that they can be a useful channel as long as you do your homework and know what the recruiter is doing.
This has made me want to call them up at 50 weeks and ask for that bottle of whiskey or brown paper bag of cash, otherwise I walk. Oddly enough, I've had plenty of recruiters that placed me call me up on that 53rd week and try to place me somewhere else.
Too bad the employees are not getting in on this racket?