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The Agents That Own Us

A comment we put on crappy linked in. We’re not going to provide a link since if you are not on linkedin you will be asked to create a profile and we don’t want to encourage you to do that.

Otherwise, you may search for the original with the title “Candidate ownership & bad practice by recruitment agencies“. The article, written by some agency recruiter whose name is of no importance, is about the in-fighting, bitching, and eye-scratching that goes on between rival recruitment agencies as they scrabble to get their hand’s first into contractors’ wallets.

As contractors who have had to suffer for years the consequences, usually expensive ones, of agency bad practice, this was our response.

The view from an ex-contractor and frequent agency candidate.

You guys need to get it out of your heads that you own us. That is the kind of attitude that ensures we do not want to work with you. We do the work. Your clients market it. You are the middle men, clerks, whose job it is to bring us together. You do not get to claim ownership of our work, which most of you do not understand, and certainly not of us.

Why do you think LinkedIn is so full of articles bemoaning the sorry state of recruitment?

It’s because of recruiters

It’s because recruitment is full of people who know absolutely nothing about the jobs they are recruiting for, who think they can find skilled and reliable contractors by searching social media in lieu of building relationships, and who provide no added value, neither to their clients nor to the schmucks they recruit.

In a typical IT contract now there are two recruiters standing between the candidate and the job. One recruitment agency is no longer enough it seems.

Firstly we have the Royalty. The recruitment agency that has earned, stolen, or straighforwardly bribed it’s way onto the coveted preferred supplier list (PSL). Once their name is on the list they never need recruit again and will not even talk to candidates. We are beneath them. They simply put the job out for other agencies, those among the rabble who failed to make the PSL, to do the strenuous click-work of hiring the riff-raff who will actually do the job.

Who finances this wastage? You guessed it, the schmuck contractor whose rate is now getting skimmed by two vultures instead of the usual one, both of whom are taking a bigger cut from it than the taxman. We, the productive ones, are the lowest of the low in this mockery of a business relationship that makes the average contract of adhesion seem like a cleverly negotiated win-win in comparison.

What’s the latest idiotic trend in e-recruitment? Have contractors create an account on the company HR portal, upload all their details onto the profile in the company’s preferred format, and keep it up to date, like we are graduates still out looking for our dream job, yet to awake to the sad reality of its non-existence. And we are to do this for every company that we might conceivably ever one day want any kind of work with.

So we’re all going to be maintaining 500 seperate profiles just for the Fortune 500 list companies aren’t we. What else have contractor-job-seekers got to do with their time anyway? It’s not like they are currently working on a project that’s coming to end and trying to manage time to look for the next one is it?

Have ’em fill out online forms. Millions of ’em. Keep ’em busy doing your clerical work for you and free of charge. Vet their suitablity by having a school-leaver on workfare call them up and ‘interview’ them to see if a list of end-client specified keywords appear on their resumes because it saves the recruiter from having to waste his valuable time reading them. Then go brown nose to your beloved leader-boss about what efficient little worker bees you all are.

You’re here arguing about who owns the candidate simply because there are too many recruiters fighting amongst themselves over an ever dwindling pool of both jobs worth having, and skilled candidates still willing to do them for the pathetic rates you offer.

More and more skilled people are realising that we’ve got better things to do with our lives than have our time wasted and be continually spammed, scammed, and insulted by incompetent recruiters who think they own us.

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