Should freelancers provide references before an interview? This was sent to us by a reader.
Reader Asked to Provide References
Just a quick question:
I have a lot of IT agencies calling me requesting me to provide references before even given details of a possible job, should I be giving out references at this early stage?
IT Contractor Reply
No is the answer.
When they ask you to provide references all they are looking for is leads.
So, if you give the name of a reference at a previous contract all that will happen is that this person will start to receive calls by agencies asking if they need any contractors.
Try, therefore, giving the name of one of your friends to find that out.
Better still, give the number of another phone number you have, e.g. your home or mobile that you haven’t given them and give a false name.
You’ll be surprised how many calls you get and how few are asking to provide references for you.
Tell them you’ll provide references when they get an interview for you.
You could also say that you will supply references but only directly to the client. That should cover it.
References Seldom Needed Prior to Interview
There are very few companies, mainly the big banks, who really need you to provide references before they even interview you.
Indeed, one agent once told me that he had been working in the industry for 15 years and never once had he come across a situation where a client needed a reference before he would even interview the IT contractor.
I think that says it all!
Looking for Contracts
There are a lot of dodgy agencies around.
What they do is give some junior in the office the tedious, but fairly easy task, of ringing round contractors pretending to look for contracts for them.
They ask them to provide references before they’ll even look for work for the IT Contractors, they say.
However, all the night’s work is aimed at by the agent is to find as many companies and senior permanent people who take contractors.
The agents will even be so cheeky as to ask IT Contractors that they are calling, their reference’s contact details.
Contact Details for Referees
Each morning, the actual sales people at the agencies, who actually do chase work, will have a big fresh pile of contacts, at companies who take contractors, to pursue.
They’ll even have their contact details – provided by gullible IT Contractors.
Now they can begin “Good morning, I just thought I’d let you know that I’ve sent you a number of CVs of very good IT Contractors with exactly the skills you need….”
Wouldn’t it be great if it was you, or one of your mates, on the other end of the call?
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