My two worst agency experiences by a Contractor

Recruitment Agencies
Recruitment Agencies

Two Worst Agency Experiences

From an Aussie contractor site Brainbox about a contractor’s two worst agency experiences.

Like most contractors, I have had bad experiences with recruitment agencies. Two stand out as the worst of the lot though.

The last minute contract rate renegotiation

I’d been working for the same client for about a year, and decided it was time to move on. Market rates had gone up and I wanted to find something better paid. I explained the situation to my boss and he was understanding.

He said he was unable to get any more budget to increase my rate, but offered to renew my contract with a two week notice period while I looked for a new job.

This worked out well for both of us, as he could keep me on for a bit longer, and I’d get an income while I looked for a new job.

I started sending my resume out to agencies and soon secured an interview with a small business. It went well, and the agent called me to say I’d been offered the job before I even arrived home.

He told me they were going to pay a rate that I was happy with. I explained that I had to give my current boss two week’s notice and would do so the next morning.

Contract Rate Offer Confirmed

The following day, I wrote emails to my agency and boss explaining the situation. My boss contacted agencies about getting in a new contractor. He also gave me a list of outstanding work to finish off before I left.

In the afternoon, an email arrived confirming the offer from the agent that had arranged my new job.

I got a call from my new agent the next morning saying that a terrible mistake had been made. When he had negotiated my rate with the small business, he had forgotten to include the agency’s fee. Would I be willing to do the job for 20% less than I had been offered?

Needless to say, I was furious. He’d stuffed me, my boss, and my current agency around in the hope of coercing me into accepting a lower rate than he knew was on offer. His claim that he had forgotten to include his fee seemed incredible coming from someone who supposedly does this for a living.

Fortunately, my boss let me withdraw my notice and keep working while I continued job hunting.

The Contract Extension lie

I’d been working in a contract and was happy to continue. The company was laying off staff though, and it looked unlikely I’d be renewed. Three weeks before the contract was up, I started looking around and secured a couple of interviews. I let my agency know that I was doing this, as I like to be honest about the situation.

I had an interview two weeks before my contract was up. It went well and I was confident I’d be offered the job. Then, my agent called and said I’d been offered a three month extension.

I was amazed, as lots of the other IT staff were being laid off. I agreed to extend, and called the other agency to let them know what had happened. They were disappointed, but understood.

I received my extension letter in the post to sign. I read it over and everything seemed fine. I wanted to negotiate the agency’s margin though, so held off signing it for a few days.

Agent Agrees Rate Increase and Margin Drop

Four days before my contract finished, the agent called me at work in a panic and said I had to sign that morning if I wanted the extension.

She agreed to reduce her margin and would walk over with copies of the paperwork for me to sign. I met her in the lobby of my building. She was in a rush, so I signed quickly and went upstairs.

I read over what I had just signed, and discovered the extension was only for two weeks! I looked over what they had sent me before and it clearly said three months. This was also what I had been told by the agent on the phone.

Confused, I went to speak to my manager. She told me the extension had always been only two weeks, and there had never been any mention of three months. It was pretty clear that the agent had lied to me to prevent me from taking another job.

Of course, they denied it and said it was a simple mistake. The other job had been filled by the time I found out what was going on. I was not a happy camper.

So, those are this contractor’s two worst agency experiences. Can you beat that?