Before I can put you forward, I just need two references...

Discussion in 'IT Contracting' started by drum_dude, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    OK, this has been discussed over at other places on the net but it's worthwhile having the discussion here too.

    So what is this all about? Well, the long and short of it is : recruitment agent's and their tricks.

    Here's the scenario: you get a call from an agent, there's a lot of small talk and the agent then tells you that he/she is recruiting for your dream contract. Everything ticks your boxes BUT you're then informed:

    "before I can put you forward, the client requires us to obtain two references from your previous contract"

    or

    "before I can put forward, the client requires us to get two technical references to confirm your skills"

    This trick is as old as the hills. Basically, there is no contract and there is no "client". The agent is "fishing" as in "fishing for leads". The hope is that you hand over the contact details of your team leader and someone else from your previous contract just so they can contact them to sell their recruitment services.

    In my experience, I've noticed this trick being pulled mostly by the big named recruitment outfits. But what do you do when this happens? Well, you can say no and tell them that you know it's a trick, which usually results in them slamming the phone down on you OR you give them the contact details of the agent(s) who got you your previous gig(s) - some don't clock that you given them another agent's email address lol. Either way, you can call them out or have some fun with them, it's up to you.

    Bear in mind that when there is a contract on offer, an agent always avoids small talk and gets down to the nitty gritty. When there is money to be made then you can bet that they'll work fast and want your bum on the seat by the next day, if that were possible. So when you get a call from an agent and they spend over 10 seconds on small talk, then you can bet that they're fishing for leads and there is no contract on offer.

    Let me know your thoughts or if you have experience of such calls/tricks/tactics whilst looking for a new gig.

    d_d
     
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  2. JK2447
    Highly Decorated Member Award 500 Likes Award

    JK2447 Petabyte Poster Administrator

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    I wish I could contribute to this post Drum. It's very interesting but sadly, up to now I've never been a contractor. One day I may give it a whirl but it seems to me that the goal posts have legs at the moment with a lot being rumoured to change, that may or may not happen.

    As a permie junkie (I just coined that, how do I do the TM sign on this!) I straight up apply for my own jobs with no agents.
     
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  3. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Thanks JK. A similar trick is pulled in permie-land. The trick is an agent emails you with some permie roles but asks you to fill out a form where you have to state if you've attended "recent interviews" and the names of those who interviewed you. The excuse given is "we don't want to put you forward where you've already been interviewed"...in other words, they want to know where you've been recently interviewed, the names of those who interviewed you and all because they want to sell their services. Again, just classic fishing tactics.
     
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  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Normally I ask for a completed job spec and an email confirming the interview.

    I only supply references after a firm offer.

    This avoids all the games and scams, if a recruiter calls you up and can't send you a job spec, rate, location or client, then they are wasting your time.
     
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  5. nisseki

    nisseki Byte Poster

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    I never give references until I had an offer but I've never been asked for references for a very long time lol.

    Luckily my current place hasn't asked for any, especially that my previous manager was so petty. Jokes on him haha.
     
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  6. MasterDelgado

    MasterDelgado Bit Poster

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    Back in my journalist days, came upon this from a recruiter: "You're not allowed to sign up with any other agencies." As I was wet behind the ears, I believed her...

    In 25 plus years of work, only ever got a job from a recruiter twice. Wastes of space. And the ones over here in Toronto are even worse!
     
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  7. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    In the UK, contract gigs are pretty much dominated by recruitment agencies. You may be lucky and get dialled up by the employer and contract direct with them, which is where LinkedIn comes in handy, but most places will use a recruitment agency to draft in a contractor.
     
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  8. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Kilobyte Poster

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    Guys, I could do with some advice. I've recently started testing the job water for the first time in several years, and could do with some advice about dealing with recruiters. The last one I spoke to on the phone insisted she needed my current salary to move forward with the process. I told her I didn't see how it was relevant and said we should just leave it and basically just ended the conversation. Was this the right move? I spoke to another guy a week or 2 ago who didn't insist on this information, so just unsure what exactly the common thread is with recruiters in regards to this?

    Thanks
     
  9. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Kilobyte Poster

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    Also, are there any tricks to finding out who the client is for permanent roles? I'd ideally like to avoid recruiters altogether if possible.
     
  10. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Possibilities are:

    - the job's salary/rate is too low and they know it
    - there is no job and they're just fishing for details out of you, the next question being "could we get a reference from your previous employer"...they call up and push one of their own candidates fully knowing the salary range
    - the client has no idea what to pay for the role and so the recruiter is getting numbers/expectations for them.

    My advice? In future, think of a salary that you want and give them that number + 10%. When they start to ask for more personal details such as "references" tell them that such information is not available until you're in receipt of a job offer. Don't worry, they can't find out what your previous salary was, no employer will disclose that.

    There's no such thing as a "right move" in this game. Just chalk it up to experience of dealing with agents/recruiters. Also, there is no common thread with recruiters. If there is a job then they're working to the requirement of their client and those requirements vary from client to client.
     
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  11. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    No. The employer engages with a recruitment agency, mainly to keep down HR costs OR it's simply part of the HR process of the firm.

    In other words, they've simply contracted out the recruitment side of HR.
     
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  12. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Kilobyte Poster

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    Awesome. This was a really insightful reply. I'm going with option 2. She mentioned she used to work with the company I work for now, and name dropped a manager's name. She was also connected to the guy I replaced at this company on Linkedin, so she probably tried the same trick on him.

    So in future you suggest I should just tell them my current salary is close to the salary range I'm going for in the next job? Not sure if I interpreted that bit correctly.

    Thanks.
     
  13. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    For example, and only an example:

    You're on 40k PA in your current job. In your next job you're looking for 45k PA. Plus 10% may be too much so just say +5%. So lets just say you're looking for 47.5k PA but the lowest you'll go is £45k...so you've created 2.5k of negotiating space.

    If an agent calls you and ask's your salary then simply tell them "I'm not going disclose that, but I can tell you what salary I'm looking for in a new opportunity" and of course let them know that the figure is negotiable.

    If they say a flat "no" then you know whatever job they have is not the job you're looking for.

    Negotiate and don't be an push-over like I used to be and just take what was offered...I got ripped so many times as a permie and in the early contracting days lolz
     
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  14. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Kilobyte Poster

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    Awesome, this was pretty much the approach I was looking at taking for a permanent role anyway. Thank you.

    Another question, if you don't mind? I've been looking at a 12 month FTC. Looks like really good experience, (Hopefully migrating on prem infrastructure to Azure). I didn't know quite what the contract meant to be honest. When they questioned me about my expected salary, I just gave them a figure in the upper end for that job role. Because I felt I was worth it. But now after doing some googling, it seems FTCs generally pay more. D'you think I should be cheeky and tack on another 10-15% at interview? They seemed almost desperate to employ me, so maybe they're struggling to find the right person. I was thinking I could take advantage of it.. What are your thoughts mate?
     
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  15. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

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    Fixed Term Contract ?

    I view it as a trick to keep my rate down, 6 month contract you negotiate hard on first rate, then you raise the rate after 6 months on renewal. 12 month contract trades profitability for 'stability', BUT most contracts will renew and you can ask about the project length in the interview, the contracts normally have a 1 month break clause, so its all really just a con to get your rate down.

    Contracts pay far more than permanent, contract is not permanent and doesn't pay the same or work the same, going for a contract and asking for permy wages is INSANE, you should normally be looking at 150-200% increase depending on the circumstances.

    Most I ever made perm was 55k pa, my first contract was 400 pd 15 years ago. That is effectively a 160% raise. At the time I actually went from a 35k role, making it a 251% increase !
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
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  16. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

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    Most likely they're struggling to find the right "sucker". Steer clear of Fixed Term Contracts because they're basically temp permanent contracts (in other words, you're a "temp" and not a contractor). FTCs always pay lower than a "contract" because you are an employee and not a contractor. You're on their books, you're paying full NI, full PAYE and will most likely engage in hassle with opting out of their pension scheme. Yes you'll probably get "holiday pay" but that in no way makes up for the fact they're getting you in on the cheap.

    My previous contract at a big media outfit went to FTC after 2 years of me being there. I asked for 90k PA and they said all they could manage was £50k and so I left. They advertised the FTC for nearly year. found no-one and so the role went back to contract.

    FTCs are the worst of both the permie and contractor worlds. You're paying full tax, you can't "claim expenses" and they can "let you go" at anytime.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
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  17. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Kilobyte Poster

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    Thank you. This is really useful advice. Although I do think that an FTC is different from a contract in the sense that I would be on the company's books and paying tax through them etc. I'm going to aim for something in between contract rates and permanent. The figure I've got in mind is almost double what I quoted them. So we'll see what happens.

    It's my understanding that the contract I'd be signing would have to include an early termination provision in order to dismiss me before the expiration of the contract date. And actually, not renewing the contract can be construed as unfair dismissal. I had numerous sources for this info but this was the best one:

    https://wslaw.co.uk/insight/terminating-fixed-term-contracts-three-common-perils-avoid/

    If the contract doesn't allow me to be dismissed early, pays the right money and most importantly gives me experience that would be unattainable otherwise, then I'm probably going to go for it. Although I appreciate your input, and it's made me ensure I carefully consider the contract and get someone legally trained to look over it before I sign anything. So thanks for that.

    It's a risk.. but I initially quit my job to go and work in a PC repair shop for free so I could get into IT, that was a huge risk but that's paid off so far.. I'll make the decision after I go for an interview, had a look at what's on offer & reviewed the contract terms. Thanks everyone for your answers.
     
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