Contractors' Questions How to tell good agencies from bad?

Contractor’s Question: How are IT contractors meant to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to IT recruitment agencies?

Expert’s Answer: Poor agencies are characterised by:

  • high staff turnover
  • inexperienced consultants
  • visibly being under pressure from their manager
  • overselling the opportunities they have
  • shamelessly plugging you for leads
  • ringing you every five minutes if you have received an offer
  • offering you poorly written or clearly ‘inside IR35’ contracts
  • rule-breaking, such as by inserting ‘pay when paid’ clauses.

By contrast, a good agency will be able to give you independent data on the current market; have a working knowledge of relevant employment law, give good advice on your CV and be honest with you throughout the hiring process. They will also:

  • acknowledge applications from all candidates
  • tell you who the client is if they are putting you forward
  • confirm in writing they are putting you forward
  • have a decent/comprehensive job description or contract spec
  • have visited the client so they can describe to you the working environment including how you can travel to or access the site
  • let you decide if you want the contract / job in an unpressured way
  • offer impartial advice on contracting options for the future (and to first-timers)
  • resolve any pay issues quickly and keep you informed at all times.

The expert was Les Berridge of IT & Telecommunications jobs specialist Networkers.

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