Diary of an Agent - Day 4

It’s Monday. It’s been a mental weekend and when I woke up this morning, a band appearance (I sing in a band), a trip to Weston Super-Mare, and the lifting of tons of heavy equipment has really taken its toll. Added to the fact that it was dark when I woke up, I’m really not feeling the motivation this morning.


I’ve been on the motorway for 25 minutes, and have got nowhere. Ring boss to tell him I’m delayed – he’s unhappy because we have a sales meeting, I’m unhappy because I’m stuck, and find the sales meeting a good way of getting myself back into work mode (it forces me to think about work and prepare myself mentally).


I’ve arrived before all of the people who live near me (phew, at least it all tallies up with traffic) and have my objectives for the week set out in my head – deliver those with a genuine apology based on “there was nothing I could do”, and sit down to the day.


Into resourcing for a role picked up on Friday. Aim to get 3 CVs across by the close of play, fully referenced, cover sheets and hopefully interviews booked in.


Jackpot! The first candidate I’ve spoken to is an exact match, money is right, he’s available immediately. Get straight on the phone to client and sell him in. They agree to see him before the end of the call, assuming the CV is as I say it is – book their diaries.


A further 10 qualification calls brings me nothing but people who don’t have the skills, or worse lack the communication skills to have a basic conversation. Why do people not read the specification before applying?!?


Further time spent resourcing this role – take a few people who looked promising through the motions, but it turns out they are missing critical elements – some of them could be overcome with time, but that’s something the client doesn’t have.


Jackpot! Just when I thought the entire industry had turned against me, I find someone who is a really good match. We chat for 20 minutes or so, discuss the client in depth, and agree that I should make the application. I do something that breeds trust, and tell him who my client is. He says that’s perfect, not spoken to them, not been told about the role.


After covering a couple of emails, I pick up the phone to the client. He sounds surprised to hear the name that I introduce. He sifts through his email, and it becomes clear that another agency has put his details forward. I hate this situation – I never know who to trust. Is the candidate being dishonest about who they have been introduced to? Do they simply not know? Has the agency just dumped CVs from a database?

I call the candidate and he confirms that he has not been spoken to about any such role, and had never even heard of the agency involved. I ask him to send me a declaration as such, and he does – OK, it’s not his fault that this industry is still littered with cowboys out to make a quick buck.


Manage to grab a Jacket Potato – yum!


Pick up an opportunity for 22 lower level contractors – it's not big money, but there are lots of them – get my shared resourcer to start to build a resource pool – this should be good!


Client confirms that I can take ownership of previously forwarded candidate – the other agency sounds like they have been given a dressing down.


The office is buzzing, and I’m in need of one more candidate for the role started earlier (where does the time go?). Having easily found the first two, I should be cruising, but it proves difficult. I speak to one of the contractors put forward earlier – he has a friend of a friend, who may be interested in the other role. I could potentially put them in as a duo – perfect!


Get an email from Helen at ContractorUK – I haven’t done my column. Doh! Make a promise to deliver it to her before tomorrow morning (yes, I’m still here).


Phone call from a long term candidate/client – she wants a new job – delicate as she works through one of my colleagues. Chat about the general state of the market – we’re mates these days, not just candidate and agent.


Look around to realise I’m alone in the office – how odd. Decide there is probably something better that I could be doing (like sleeping!) and make my way out – remembering to send this document to Helen first..

I’d like to thank all who have taken the time to read my ramblings – I hope it gives you some idea of what it’s like to be an agent on the front line of the contracts market (without the PR gloss).

Watch out for a “common mistakes made by contractors” guide, soon!

Wednesday 17th Nov 2010