Why Agents Dump You. From an Agent

Agents Dump
Agents Dump

So, why do agents dump you?

Why Agents Dump You

This article was written by Philip Dixon of Silicon Valley Consultants and gives an insight into why agents drop IT contractors.

The Questions

When Gerry contacted me for my input to this series of articles he listed a number of headings that included; why agents dump contractors, why agents don’t get back in touch, why agents drop contractors when they fail an interview and why agents lose interest after a couple of weeks looking.

These headings are all very provocative. I can’t answer for my colleagues in the industry but I will give you my opinion based on my experiences.

Like most agents in the knowledge based industry we deal with a wide range of requirements from clients. So, in this respect, we deal with a wide range of candidates from junior level techies to senior project managers.

Most of them are professional and no problem to deal with. However, as in most walks of life, there is a number who, as I mentioned in my last article on ITContractor.com, would leave the agent and client in the lurch for an hourly rate increase of 50p.

Whom Agents Dump

So here we go – what type of contractor do agents not like and agents dump.

That‘s an easy one really – contractors who are unreliable, unprofessional or unethical.

Here are two recent instances within my agency.

The first involved an engineer who was desperate for a contract as he had not worked for some time and wanted to start ASAP.

We arranged the start date he required. On Friday of the first week he went sick without informing either the client or us.

The following week he explained that his phone had not been working therefore he could not contact us.

Four weeks pass before he goes missing again, this time for 10 days and again without informing his agents or the client.

It will not surprise you to know they terminated his contract.

Let Us Down

The other recent incident involved an engineer who was second choice after the client’s first choice took another job.

The client wasn’t 100% about this guy. So we took up references only to find there was a question mark over his punctuality and attendance at one previous client.

Again the engineer in question had not worked for some time and promised faithfully that it would not happen again.

We persuaded the client to give him a chance.

On the Friday of his first week he left the client site early without permission. Then he was sick the following Monday and Tuesday without informing either the client or agent.

Again no surprises when they terminated his contract.

Both individuals will remain on our database only for the record to show DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE. Agents dump IT Contractors for reasons like this.

Other Agents Dump Factors

Other instances where agents justifiably dump contractors is when contractors approach clients directly in order to cut out agents, actions that this site has encouraged in the past!

Why would the agent want to bust a gut getting a contractor a job only for hth contractor to cut them out at a later date?

Again that would warrant a DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE on our database.

Too Many CVs to Reply

Why do agents not get back in touch?

I assume this refers to when contractors have expressed an interest in a job, sent their details and hear nothing again.

My guess here is that, certainly at present, agents are inundated with candidate details.

Also the majority of details that agents receive probably do not suit the requirements of the job.

To highlight this, SVC has kept statistics from advertising response since the start of this year.

From the overall total of CVs received 57.5% were unsuitable for that particular job and 24.3% weren’t suitable at all.

It is a highly competitive market and agents will only have an interest in contacting the candidates who are suitable before their competitors do.

I can hear you say that it doesn’t take a moment to acknowledge receipt of the CV and I agree but even I cannot guarantee a personal response every time from us but our administrator does send an acknowledgement out of courtesy.

Arm Chancers

Why do agents dump contractors when they fail at interview?

Do they?

I don’t think that is the case at all.

Remember agents want to find suitable candidates for the client jobs that they have at any given time.

No two jobs are ever the same and if a candidate goes to an interview and fails, the chances are there won’t be another suitable job available immediately.

Of course if the candidate goes into the interview chancing their arm and asks for £10 an hour more than the agent might have quoted the client, that’ll be another DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE on the old database and, no, they will not be contacted by us again. Agents dump IT contractors for this.

We Don‘t Drop You

Why do agents lose interest in contractors after a couple of weeks?

I can’t really answer that one quite frankly! At SVC all candidates go onto our database.

If the candidate is suitable for the job they will be put forward.

The system SVC use is a sophisticated relational database that, put simply, will automatically marry up the skills of candidates on the database with the jobs that are registered on it.

It will then automatically produce a shortlist of candidates who will be contacted to access their suitability.

Now, that job might come in two days after the candidate is put on the system or it might be 6 months after.

Time Put into Best Candidates

What contractors must realise is that agencies really want to place you – that’s their job.

Consultants are on a basic salary and only make bonuses/commission when they place candidates.

The more they place, the more they earn.

So the consultant is naturally going to concentrate on candidates where they are likely to get a return on their hard fought efforts.

So how do you become attractive to agencies?

Firstly if your skills are not what the client (and, therefore the agent) is looking for it is unlikely you are going to get agents falling over themselves to talk to you no matter what you do.

That’s a fact of life, and if you want proof of that, read the archived article on ITContractor from an employer who explains how he sorts through CVs.

So, if you have the skills, how do you put yourself in front of the queue?

OK, here are a few things to bear in mind.

Flexibility is the key. Be as flexible as you can be with regard to rates, location, contract requirements.


If you say you’re going to do it, do it.


To both the client and agent remember during the duration of the agreed contract term you are a representative of the agent, in the client’s eyes.

Think ahead. When an agent contacts you, even when you are working, give them the time of day. Remember you might need them when you’re not working.

Return their calls and tell them when you are next available.

That way your record on their database will be up-to-date and relevant.

Your CV.

Make sure it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

A good idea is to list your skills and grade them from the strongest to the weakest, listing length of exposure to a skill and when last used.

I hope that the above helps to explain why agents dump IT Contractors and that you will not get a DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE on any agency database.

Good luck in your job search.

Philip Dixon MREC
Silicon Valley Consultants Ltd
Philip Dixon MREC
Silicon Valley Consultants

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