IT Training Tips

IT Recruitment agency tricks

If you've read some of my previous articles, you'll probably appreciate my contempt for IT Recruitment agencies. In this article I'm looking at the tricks some these agencies use to dupe unsuspecting individuals.

Ghost jobs

Some agencies can create ghost jobs, that is jobs that don't really exist and are only designed to cultivate CV's from the poor unsuspecting fools who genuinely believe there is a real job.

These agencies put these made up jobs on the job boards, knowing that many people looking for jobs will come across their job adverts.

It's so simple for these agencies to pay a pittance in job board fees (or better if the job board allows free job postings) and sit back as the job applications come flying through.

Who's in charge here?

Some are sneaky enough to phone up on the pretence that a job actually exists but all they are interested in is finding out who's in charge of recruiting where you may currently work or where you've worked before.

They'll use a tactic like,

"So are you working in John Jones's team?"

Or they could say,

"When you worked at XYZ did you work for Peter Smith?"

Both these types of questions are designed to get a response such as,

"No, I worked for Paul Jensen's team!"

That's the response they are looking for, the one that gives them the real contacts details. This allows them to build up a list of contacts who they can phone up later asking if they'd be interested in taking on staff from their agency.

I never divulge any details of contacts who I've worked for until I've had an interview for a job that's real. If the agent gets funny and says they can't consider me without me giving references first, then I just got to let it go and look for another agency.

If it's a genuine job then they will want to submit my application as they will be all too aware other agencies will also be recruiting for the same job and they could lose out on their commission if I went with a competitor.

If an agency does get funny with you, asking for far more information than is really required, just look elsewhere for another agency. A simple check on the job boards to see if other agencies are recruiting is all that's required.

If other agencies aren't recruiting then it's probably a ghost job which doesn't exist, especially more so with the amount of information being asked for.

Most agencies who are considered to be reputable won't ask you to provide referee details upfront. They will only ask for these if you are successful at the interview stage.

If you are successful at the interview stage then it's vital you let agencies know that your previous managers and reference providers need notice from you first before the agency can contact them. Otherwise the agency will probably annoy them through a cold call and this could lose a worthy referee.

I tell those agencies asking for referee details upfront,

"I apply for a lot of jobs and if I give my referee details out to every agency who contacts me before I've even been successful at the interview stage, my referees are going to be pretty mad, being phoned all the time!"

How low can you go?

Some agencies can advertise jobs with higher salaries or freelance rates to entice more people to apply. The agency really has no intention of paying what it has advertised and uses it as leverage.

When you apply, they'll ask you,

"What's the lowest rate (or salary) you could come down to, if the customer lowers what they want to pay?"

This tactic is used to determine how low you can go, leaving the agency for more manoeuvrability for profit.

The truth is that the agency has probably already done the deal with their customer and fixed a price, now the agency wants to cream a bit more off the top, at the expense of the applicant.

I never lower my rate, as I know it's what the market will bear and if the agency is trying to screw me then I'm not interested in them representing me.

Anyone else interested?

Another classic tactic used by the agencies is to pretend they are concerned about not sending your CV to other companies for duplication purposes. They would say, it doesn't look good resubmitting you twice and the client may reject you, simply because of this.

What they are actually saying is, please give us details of other roles you are applying for, so they can also submit one of their many other candidates looking for a job, there too.

In essence they're increasing the competition for you at the other roles you've applied for, whilst trying to give you the impression that they are helping you out.

These are just one of the many tricks recruitment agencies will use to dupe people into giving them more information than they need to. As well as trying to maximise on their financial gain at the expense of the candidate who's looking for work.