There are some good recruiters around, you know.
Contractors consider some of the things that agencies do to get leads etc. as dirty tricks and unethical. We specify eight ways here where agencies could put themselves in a better light in the eyes of contractors.
It‘s not just coincidence that it is the agencies who break all the following rules who are getting into such financial trouble and even going bust.
What goes around comes around.
The following is an attempt to show how agencies can become well-beloved of contractors. They can avoid suffering from the Curse of the Contractor. Quite a few agencies have succumbed to that recently. Here’s how they can become good recruiters.
Stop Spamming References
What happens here is that agencies call contractors saying that they have jobs for them, and asking them for references. Usually they don‘t have jobs. They just want to add new contact names of people who hire contractors to their database.
Agencies say that while it is below board, it does help them to get other contractors jobs.
However, if agencies were straight up with contractors it would be better. If they said that they had no current jobs for the contractor, but would pay the contractor a fee if they placed anyone with any clients where the contractor gave a contact name that they didn‘t have, then they might find them a lot more helpful.
Stop Asking for Details of Interviews Clients have been to
This is where an agency asks a contractor what companies that the contractor has been put forward to or has had interviews with recently. They say that it is so that they don‘t send the contractor‘s CV there again. This could, supposedly, cost them the opportunity of an interview or a job.
What it is really for is to find out who is looking for contractors. It’s so that they can put up their own candidates.
What agencies could do is to ask the contractor if they would mind giving them some information about jobs that they didn‘t want or if they minded being called again in a week or two after the contractor has got a new contract.
If they said that they would pay for any leads that were successful then that would be all the better.
Get Back to Contractors with News
When a contractor‘s CV has been sent out or they have been for an interview, the agency usually tells the contractor who calls in ‘We‘ll contact you when there is any news’ often a little tetchily.
However, they don‘t call unless it is good news. If it is bad news then they don‘t call to put the contractor out of his misery. If agencies can just imagine how a contractor is feeling waiting for news of a job, perhaps they would realise that they would actually like to hear the news good or bad.
Surely agencies can devise a system, perhaps online, so that contractors can know the statuses of jobs where agencies have sent their CVs..
Surely someone could devise a computer system that could do this. Then a contractor could look at the status of his jobs opportunities to on the internet.
Tell Contractors the Agency Percentage
Contractors feel a lot more secure working for agencies who will tell them what percentage they are adding before they put them forward for a job. Even if it is a high percentage, contractors know the score beforehand. They are less likely to complain about it.
Contractors are then confident that the agency is working for them and that they will try and get them the highest rate that they can. Contractors will be a lot more flexible if the agency is up front.
It is counterproductive for agencies to hide a big mark-up from the contractor. As soon as the contractor finds out about it (and they usually do) they will bad-mouth the agency to anyone who will listen. That’s whether it is to fellow contractors, employees or the client.
Good Recruiters Pay Contractors Regularly
Contractors much prefer to be paid weekly and within the time stated in the contract. Agencies who say ‘basically you get paid if we get paid’ make contractors feel insecure. Agencies should definitely not lie about this and say that they haven‘t been paid yet by the client when they have been.
Contractors will make it their business to find out if this is true or not.
Keep in Touch With Freelancers
Too many agencies see contractors as goods that they have sold on. They never contact them till it is time for a possible renewal.
Some contractors don‘t want agents in their hair all the time. However, some would feel it polite for someone who is making 150-300 pounds a week from them to get in touch occasionally or to take them out to lunch.
Be Generous at Renewal time
Agencies take quite a reasonable percentage from contractors. They do work in searching for jobs. They negotiate on behalf of contractors to earn that rate.
However, it doesn’t involve much work at renewal time.
Contractors will appreciate those agencies who forego their part in any rise given by the client.
Don‘t Prevent Contractors from Seeking New Business with the Client
Understandably agencies want to keep their client. They don‘t want the contractor to simply ‘go direct‘ with the client when their contract period is at an end.
Therefore they put clauses in the contractors‘ contracts preventing him, or her, from seeking new work from the client either during the contract or for a set period afterwards.
As a result, contractors don‘t make any attempt to get new business that could be beneficial to both the contractor and the agency.
After all, if a contractor hears about a small project that a client has, then if he or she bid for it, this could be beneficial to everyone all round.
However, because of the restrictive agency clause, they don‘t even attempt this. It would be better if the agency clauses were less restrictive to allow the contractor to seek new opportunities at the company as long as the agency got something out of it.
This is one of the major factors that prevent contractors taking the step forward into becoming real small businesses.
Other Steps for Good Recruiters
I‘m sure that there are other steps that agencies could take to impress contractors. However, if they did all, or most of, these then they would build a very good relationship with contractors. They would also get a good name for themselves amongst the contractor community.
We could do with there being more good recruiters around.
For more great advice on dealing with agencies click on Contractor Recruitment Agencies.
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