Spamming references is, by definition, the curse of the industry.
It is one of the things that annoys IT Contractors most i.e. when IT agencies phone up saying that they want to put you forward for IT Contracts but first they need to take some references up for you.
They want to know the name and contact numbers of previous bosses. However, they are almost certainly doing that to obtain leads so that they can contact them themselves to see if they have any contract opportunities going.
They are extremely unlikely to have a job for you.
A variation on this trick is to ask you for the names of the companies that other agencies have put you forward to. Allegedly this is so that they won’t put you forward again. They say this would ‘spoil your chances’ of getting the contract because your CV has gone forward more than once.
Almost certainly what they really want here is to find out what companies are looking for IT Contractors. This is so that they can put their own candidates forward in competition with you.
Spamming References – Further Details
I think the best thing to do is to ask them for further details of the contract. Ask them about the location etc. whilst saying that you will get back to them on the references. Say you need to check with the references first.
Ask them for their telephone number. If they refuse to give it, then this is a dead one anyway.
Also tell them that you are giving the references, on the basis that they will only use these references for references and for no other purpose.
Attach a note to your CV when you send it, saying that this was to confirm your telephone conversation that the references were to be used for references only.
If you find out that they were being used otherwise (and you could use a mate as one of the referees), you have the phone number so you can contact the head of the agency asking if this practice is company policy, and, if not, what action that they were going to take.
If you are not satisfied by that, and belive they are spamming references, then report them to REC or Apsco.
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