Contractors' Questions: What if a role has many agents?

Contractor's Question: What is the best approach for a candidate when a contract IT role is advertised by many recruitment agents?

Expert's Answer: In my experience, the approach you need here is very simple: as a contractor choose ONE of the advertised roles and stick to it.

If the contract job is for a large company, they will have a preferred supplier list, so agencies on that 'PSL' will be advertising. Then, a second list of agents might be drawn up if those on the first list were not successful, and finally the role might be thrown open. There are variations in this process, but that's a general pattern.

Larger agencies tend to be on the preferred list, and you should ask them if they are on the list. However the agency may not tell you, or may suggest they are when they
are not.

So, you have to make a choice. The reason I advise that you stick with that choice is that several times I've seen clients discard CVs for candidates from more than one agency, simply because they don't want to get embroiled in an agency tussle as to who's contractor it is. The only thing that would stop them discarding it, would be if they really had an outstanding candidate CV. In that case, they may then consider doing the work of deciding who's contractor it is, and talking to the representing agencies. Making multiple applications to multiple agencies for a single role, in contrast, doesn't reflect well on the candidate.

The expert was John Waine, The IT Coach for Contractors.