Death Trap Questions
There are 8 death trap questions that agencies can ask IT Contractors.
The unwary IT contractor can get lulled by these contractor trappers and give out information which could cause him or her tremendous financial pain.
Have you read the Aesops fable about the fox and the crow?
That is how we agencies view contractors. We have to get you to drop your cheeses.
ITContractor have published some articles from me recently called Confessions of an Agent.
I‘ll put a lot of this together as an easy-to access guide for contractors as to the real reason behind agencies‘ questions.
Not every question you are asked by an agency is to help you find work or get you a good rate. In fact many are actually to do the opposite.
Let me give you some examples:-
What is your bottom line?
We ask this when putting forward contractors‘ CVs. We say that we will get them as high a rate as possible.
However, that is seldom the case. Why should we give away free money when the contractor has already told us what he or she would take ‘at a pinch‘?
There‘s always a pinch. We are not benevolent societies
What companies has your CV been sent to?
We say that this is so that we don‘t send it to companies where it is already sent. This is garbage.
We want to know who is looking for contractors. So, w we will put somebody up against you, who hopefully is a better candidate.
We will also reduce your chances of getting the interview if we possibly can.
One technique I‘ve sometimes used is to send your CV along with the others we send and then to withdraw it saying we have had a bad reference for you.
What interviews have you been to recently?
We say this is so that we don‘t put you forward there again. However, it is really to get a hot lead on who is currently looking for contractors.
Knowing this can save a hundred or more phone calls.
Can you supply us with references?
We say that the client needs them but this is seldom the case before they select someone for interview.
What we really want to know is the names of companies and people who are currently taking on contractors.
Who are you currently working for?
It is very handy to know the name of a company who takes contractors. It‘s even handier to know the guy‘s name who you work for.
We‘ll be straight on the blower to him asking of he‘s looking for other contractors.
When are you next available?
As I stated in a previous articles, it is useful to find out when you are next available, but it is even more useful to find out when your job will be available.
With this information and that from number 5 we might even be able to replace you with somebody else when the time comes.
What skills are you using at your current company?
Marvellous! With that information I can start doing a scan on my database or put a fake job ad on a job board to gather together those contractors with the requisite skills before I make an approach to your boss.
Do you know any other contractors looking for work, as we pay a fee?
This is a nice way of getting recommended contractors on your database, and of course we will pay up the fee – if you ever find out that we‘ve placed them.
Once contractors leave a workplace they seldom keep in touch for long – and we know that.
Have you ever been contacted out of the blue a year down the line and told that an agency owes you money because they placed someone recommended by you?
Those are the death trap questions that agencies spring on unssupecting contractors.
Senior Position in Industry
As I said before I am no longer in the game, although I held a senior position in the industry during my time in it (23 years) so I‘ve seen most of the scams.
I write these articles just to level up the playing field a bit.
After all, your contact with agencies is just occasional whereas agencies are dealing with contractors every day.
Some agencies teach their recruitment consultants in the cheese-dropping techniques and there are even videos on the subject.
Even those agencies that don‘t do any of this put in place processes that force rec cons into taking action such as this.
After all, why make a hundred cold calls looking for leads when you can just call a contractor and get several – maybe even live ones if he hasn‘t been contracting all that long.
To those that say that this doesn‘t work I would put one question and that would be ‘Why are there so many rec cons involved in doing it?’
Surely they would not be allowed to waste so much of their time.
The answer, of course, is that these are highly successful techniques.
These death trap questions work.
They are also widely used, despite the protestations of some supposedly ‘˜clean‘ recruitment consultants.
Contractors know that few, if any, of these phone calls ever lead to anything beneficial to them.
Contractors, the next time you have a nice piece of cheese in your mouth i.e. interviews set up, or your CV sent off to a company, or a good contract position, make sure that you keep it firmly in your mouth and ignore the fine words of the wily old fox on the ground.
Beware the death trap questions.
His or her intention is not to help you but to run off with your cheese.