Recruitment Agent Friends of Contractor
Do you have recruitment agent friends?
The following was posted to Aussie contractor site www.Brainbox.com.au in response to one of our articles ‘Advice to Agencies – 10 ways to keep IT Contractors happy’ which they picked up.
I have been contracting for more than 8 years.
I have always gone out of my way to develop a relationship with recruitment agents and agencies.
Contracting is my bread and butter and my business. In a business you need friends and allies.
Get to know your agent. They are your friends.
Rules for Dealing with Agent Friends
Here are my rules for dealing with my recruitment agent friends.
1) I don‘t care about their margin. That‘s their business. My rate is my business. Learn to negotiate well.
2) Take time to be in touch with your friends.
3) If they have an urgent need, try to help them out even if you are in a contract. You go out of your way so do they.
4) Never (ever) negotiate directly with a client. Friends remember.
5) When you accept a contract, even verbally, it‘s your word of honour. Never go back on your word. Ever.
Being a good contractor is just like running a good business. Take the effort to create a relationship. It‘s always worthwhile and it goes both ways.
This reply got the following response:-
I couldn‘t agree more regarding development of your network of friends and allies. I‘ve also good relationships with agents, and I have certainly provided many leads, both in terms of quality candidates, but more so in terms of opportunities with clients of mine, and those I hear of else where.
However, a relationship with a friend should be reciprocal!
I have never found this myself with agents. In my experience agents sell you into a company and pretty much forget about you.
However, when you dare approach them about an increase in rate, they complain.
Where is the fairness from ‘friends’ then?
I‘m happy for them to earn their cut. I just think it becomes a different kettle of fish the longer that contract becomes. Especially considering the agents networking function for that particular role is now over.
The margin can become a subsidy for their laziness in either finding you, a qualified candidate a better role/rate elsewhere. I have experienced this, and unsurprisingly I went ‘native to an extent’.
A good agent will recognise when a quality contractor is destined for a long contract, partly because that contractor will have kept them in the loop.
Misled by Agency on Rate Rise
I once found myself in a situation where I was led to believe I would receive a rate rise soon after ‘proving’ myself on the contract. However when I approached ‘my friend’ the agent he was very reluctant to approach (upset?) the client with this. That’s despite the client being of the full understanding that he got me cheap.
Now in this circumstance I can only believe it was to get his [the agents] foot in the door and obviously didn‘t want to jeopardise the relationship. After much wrangling I am glad to say I obtained the rise.
You obviously have better experiences with agents than I do (although you seem to work to a different business model).
Putting Business Agents’ Way
Of course if an agent rang me to check if I had business I could put an agents way I would do so, whereas I was not so forthcoming with agents who had not found me work before.
The agent had never suggested in any conversation that he had work for me elsewhere. This was a leading agent, with one of our top 10 agencies, so no fly-by-night either. Likewise, I had the skills and experience to go elsewhere if he had ever rung me.
Unfortunately I think there are too many situations like this today, and not enough reciprocal relationships.
Working Direct for Client
I am glad to say I am very happy in my current contract, and have been working direct for a client I discovered myself.
I say to EVERYBODY if you can go this route, do it.
However it is very difficult, and of course a major reason why agents exist in the first place.
Good luck to you with your business. And I‘m sorry to have to admit that I would still like my identity kept private.
IT Contractor Comment
So, whom do you agree with most, the first guy with the many recruitment agent friends or the second guy who is more suspicious?
Is it possible that the agency telling the second contractor that the client would increase his rate soon after he started was just a ploy? Was it just to get him to sign the contract at the low rate? Is it possible that the client knew nothing about it?
Would agencies do that?
Let’s hear your thoughts!
For more great advice on dealing with agencies click on Contractor Recruitment Agencies.
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