Do agencies need references for contractors?
We had the following sent to us by one of our readers who wanted some advice.
I have had a few calls from agencies in the past few weeks, which is good. However, they all seem to want references before they will send out my CV. Is this something new?
I‘m not keen to give them the name and number of my old boss. That’s because I don‘t want him to be continually hassled by agents. What should I do?
According to an agent of my acquaintance, in the 15 years he has been working as an agent he has never known a single client who wanted a reference before even seeing you.
I’m afraid that all the agent wants is the name of the person who employed you That’s so that he or she can call them up and ask if they need any contractors.
These agents are completely unlikely to have a job for you. In fact, it is the more desperate agencies that try this sort of thing. It is when individual agents haven‘t met their quotas and fear that they might be in the next load of people to be laid off by their own employer that they become desperate. They then stoop to methods like these in order to spam a lead.
The agencies that do this are those that are in financial trouble and could even be close to going under.
Even if by the remotest chance that they did get you a contract, you might find them going belly-up along with your money. So these agents are best avoided.
You should just tell agencies that references are available. However, you‘ll only provide them at the interview, and to the client only. That way your old boss won‘t be hassled.
This should be good enough for the potential client. However, you may find that it isn‘t good enough for the agent. That’s because all they ever wanted in the first place was that precious name on the reference.
When they start telling you that the client needs the reference before he or she will even see you, that is almost certainly a lie. However, if you want, you can tell them that you‘ll give the details to the client over the phone.
If that still doesn‘t stop the agent, tell him or her to take your details off their files, because they certainly don‘t have a job for you.
If an agency says they need references you should beware. They are probably lying.