Advice for a newbie about my job offer Advice for a newbie about my job offer
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    Default Advice for a newbie about my job offer

    Hi,

    So, I’ve basically been a permanent employee for my entire career, but get approached by a company on LinkedIn offering me lucrative contracting work.

    After a couple of really quick telephone interviews, they tell me they are going to make me an offer this week. Then I get an e-mail from them, basically telling me they want quite extensive references from me, before they even make me an offer. They want to approach ex-employees of the company I work for, before the offer. And then approach the company after I have accepted the offer.

    I kind of tell them I’ve worked at the same company for 14 years, and have been working with the same people for years, so I don’t actually know many people who are now external.

    I came up with 2-3 names (that I have not sent them yet) but I have no idea if they’ll even respond. They’re people I got on well with, but haven’t spoken to them for 3-4 years.

    This all just seems strange to me. I just mean I’m taking quite a bit of risk already, leaving a good permanent job for a contractor role. Especially a job I never even applied for, and it was them who approached me.

    But I was up for it because the money was great, and the work was actually something I wanted to do.

    But this rigorous referencing is just making me have second thoughts about the company.

    I just find it a bit rich, considering they can actually get rid of me whenever they want.

    And reading other posts about recruiters fishing for contacts? Is this what is going on? Because I work in a niche area (machine learning) and companies are always cold calling people.

    To summarise, is it odd for a recruiter to ask for references as a condition of getting an offer? And then more references once they make the offer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt88 View Post
    Hi,

    So, I’ve basically been a permanent employee for my entire career, but get approached by a company on LinkedIn offering me lucrative contracting work.

    After a couple of really quick telephone interviews, they tell me they are going to make me an offer this week. Then I get an e-mail from them, basically telling me they want quite extensive references from me, before they even make me an offer. They want to approach ex-employees of the company I work for, before the offer. And then approach the company after I have accepted the offer.

    I kind of tell them I’ve worked at the same company for 14 years, and have been working with the same people for years, so I don’t actually know many people who are now external.

    I came up with 2-3 names (that I have not sent them yet) but I have no idea if they’ll even respond. They’re people I got on well with, but haven’t spoken to them for 3-4 years.

    This all just seems strange to me. I just mean I’m taking quite a bit of risk already, leaving a good permanent job for a contractor role. Especially a job I never even applied for, and it was them who approached me.

    But I was up for it because the money was great, and the work was actually something I wanted to do.

    But this rigorous referencing is just making me have second thoughts about the company.

    I just find it a bit rich, considering they can actually get rid of me whenever they want.

    And reading other posts about recruiters fishing for contacts? Is this what is going on? Because I work in a niche area (machine learning) and companies are always cold calling people.

    To summarise, is it odd for a recruiter to ask for references as a condition of getting an offer? And then more references once they make the offer?
    Not odd but be careful.

    All that agency cares about is making money - they would quite happily tell you to leave your perm job for a non existent contract - leaving you potentially in the tulip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt88 View Post
    Hi,

    So, I’ve basically been a permanent employee for my entire career, but get approached by a company on LinkedIn offering me lucrative contracting work.
    Is it a reputable company? Is it direct with them or via an agency? Contracting work will lucrative but getting the second contract is the hardest as you'll have little contracting experience and no income coming in so you are on the clock. Don't get blinded by the rate. Contracting is a way of live, not just a rate.

    After a couple of really quick telephone interviews, they tell me they are going to make me an offer this week. Then I get an e-mail from them, basically telling me they want quite extensive references from me, before they even make me an offer. They want to approach ex-employees of the company I work for, before the offer. And then approach the company after I have accepted the offer.
    Does sound a bit suss that but depends on what sector the company work in. Secure clients often need a high level of diligence. Not normally this many references to be fair. Agents do play a game of asking for references first just as a leads gathering exercise. We have a very long sticky thread on their carry ons here.

    https://forums.contractoruk.com/busi...eferences.html

    Tell them you'll supply references once the contract is signed. Might be worth reading up on the impact of GDPR on references. Agents shouldn't be spamming for references anymore unless they are needed.
    I kind of tell them I’ve worked at the same company for 14 years, and have been working with the same people for years, so I don’t actually know many people who are now external.

    I came up with 2-3 names (that I have not sent them yet) but I have no idea if they’ll even respond. They’re people I got on well with, but haven’t spoken to them for 3-4 years.

    This all just seems strange to me. I just mean I’m taking quite a bit of risk already, leaving a good permanent job for a contractor role. Especially a job I never even applied for, and it was them who approached me.

    But I was up for it because the money was great, and the work was actually something I wanted to do.
    You need think longer term than this. It won't look so great when you are sat on the bench for 3 months with no income afterwards. There is always the risk of getting canned before it even starts as well, which you touch on later.
    But this rigorous referencing is just making me have second thoughts about the company.
    So many references does look odd but rigorous referencing isn't uncommon. You'll have to go through financial checks at any finance client for example.
    I just find it a bit rich, considering they can actually get rid of me whenever they want.
    Welcome to contracting.
    And reading other posts about recruiters fishing for contacts? Is this what is going on? Because I work in a niche area (machine learning) and companies are always cold calling people.

    To summarise, is it odd for a recruiter to ask for references as a condition of getting an offer? And then more references once they make the offer?
    Ah, now you mention a recruiter... things are becoming clearer. You didn't make this point at the beginning.

    No it's not odd. It's the stupid game they play. If you work in a niche area it's even more likely they are fishing.

    If you've looked around the forums you should know General isn't the place to post professional questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Is it a reputable company? Is it direct with them or via an agency? Contracting work will lucrative but getting the second contract is the hardest as you'll have little contracting experience and no income coming in so you are on the clock. Don't get blinded by the rate. Contracting is a way of live, not just a rate.



    Does sound a bit suss that but depends on what sector the company work in. Secure clients often need a high level of diligence. Not normally this many references to be fair. Agents do play a game of asking for references first just as a leads gathering exercise. We have a very long sticky thread on their carry ons here.

    https://forums.contractoruk.com/busi...eferences.html

    Tell them you'll supply references once the contract is signed. Might be worth reading up on the impact of GDPR on references. Agents shouldn't be spamming for references anymore unless they are needed.


    You need think longer term than this. It won't look so great when you are sat on the bench for 3 months with no income afterwards. There is always the risk of getting canned before it even starts as well, which you touch on later.


    So many references does look odd but rigorous referencing isn't uncommon. You'll have to go through financial checks at any finance client for example.

    Welcome to contracting.


    Ah, now you mention a recruiter... things are becoming clearer. You didn't make this point at the beginning.

    No it's not odd. It's the stupid game they play. If you work in a niche area it's even more likely they are fishing.

    If you've looked around the forums you should know General isn't the place to post professional questions.
    To be honest, it's a good company. Industry leading etc. And they've made every effort to really help me. They even set me up with a call, with their other contractors so I can discuss exactly what its like.

    Most of there other contractors had been there for years, and they told me they generally get treated like permanent staff, so I decided it was probably a situation where they treat people quite fairly.

    This is basically the reason I've not yet had a word with the recruiter - because I think it's genuinely a good opportunity, I don't want to ruin.

    I'm thinking I might find some middle-ground. Because there are people I think won't mind being approached. Because I've done the same for them. But, there are others who will definitely get p*ssed off if I give their e-mail to a recruiter - so I might just explain that I'm not prepared to hand out their contact details

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt88 View Post
    Most of there other contractors had been there for years, and they told me they generally get treated like permanent staff, so I decided it was probably a situation where they treat people quite fairly.
    This is the worst news you can hear TBH

    You've got a hell of a lot of work to do to understand contracting and what you are signing up for. The comment about being treated like a permanent staff is very bad for IR35. Don't know what that is? You need to, it's very important. Links are to the right. You need to digest every thread in the Newbies section.

    You are on your own now. You've got to find a method to get paid, you've got to understand what you are and you relationship to all parties.

    Doing the work is easy. Every bugger has a job. You've now got to learn how to be a contractor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    This is the worst news you can hear TBH

    You've got a hell of a lot of work to do to understand contracting and what you are signing up for. The comment about being treated like a permanent staff is very bad for IR35. Don't know what that is? You need to, it's very important. Links are to the right. You need to digest every thread in the Newbies section.

    You are on your own now. You've got to find a method to get paid, you've got to understand what you are and you relationship to all parties.

    Doing the work is easy. Every bugger has a job. You've now got to learn how to be a contractor.
    +1

    Part of the pay off against the uncertainty of contracting is the tax breaks. If you behave like a permie but pay yourself like a contractor, you'll be shafted by an IR35 investigation. In effect, you're transitioning from a permie to a one-man consultancy, with the main aim being to minimise bench time and maximise profit. Being able to remove money from your limited company in the most tax-efficient but legal way is all part and parcel of this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    This is the worst news you can hear TBH

    You've got a hell of a lot of work to do to understand contracting and what you are signing up for. The comment about being treated like a permanent staff is very bad for IR35. Don't know what that is? You need to, it's very important. Links are to the right. You need to digest every thread in the Newbies section.

    You are on your own now. You've got to find a method to get paid, you've got to understand what you are and you relationship to all parties.

    Doing the work is easy. Every bugger has a job. You've now got to learn how to be a contractor.
    Yes, I know what you mean, and I understand this.
    Last edited by Matt88; 20th August 2018 at 16:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    This is the worst news you can hear TBH

    You've got a hell of a lot of work to do to understand contracting and what you are signing up for. The comment about being treated like a permanent staff is very bad for IR35. Don't know what that is? You need to, it's very important. Links are to the right. You need to digest every thread in the Newbies section.

    You are on your own now. You've got to find a method to get paid, you've got to understand what you are and you relationship to all parties.

    Doing the work is easy. Every bugger has a job. You've now got to learn how to be a contractor.
    I understand contracting perfectly well, mate. It's not painting the Sistine Chapel.

    I'm just saying, going into jobs and acting like it might be the last one I ever get, isn't my thing. I'm going into this new company to network, make friends, and build relationships, so it might turn into a longer term thing (which sounds quite likely). Of course I'll try my best to also keep my distance, so I don't have to pay IR35, but that will just be a bonus. I'm certainly not going to treat the company like some hostile 3rd party, just so I can get an extra £500 a month.

    That to me just sounds very short-termist, and like a recipe for not being very successful in the long run.
    Last edited by Matt88; 20th August 2018 at 17:16.

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    NLUK was merely pointing out that hearing a client treats contractors like permies is not a good sign, IR35 being just one reason why.

    A client who thinks all workers are the same will expect you to do overtime for free, may require your attendance at team building away days, expand the scope of your role to absorb a whole heap of things not originally in your SOW / contract, expect you to request holiday instead of advise of a break in service, etc. etc. If a client tells you they have training budget left over and would you like a course in X so they can put onto project Y, what would you do?

    Contracting may not be akin to painting the Sistine Chapel but a project of that magnitude required a different mindset and attitude to painting something the scale of, say, the Hay Wain. Contractors prepare as if every gig is their last because that way means they have money to see them through the lean times. As they gain experience and a war chest, some ease off and worry less about the where the next gig comes from.

    Clients are mostly not the enemy and do not treat contractors badly. Treating a contractor as an independent professional, instead of a permie, is a far more respectful and sound basis for a commercial relationship. At the end of the day, you are a disposable resource.

    Any client who wants you to be one of the crew will also drop you like a hot potato as soon as budgets get cut - you won't get redundancy pay and paid leave to go for job interviews. Remember that the permie treatment is entirely one way - they get control at a cheap price (add up salary, paid leave, pension, training, sick pay, employers NI etc etc, the cost of employment rights and insurances vs a day rate) and you get included in the tea run and pizza Friday.

    You asked for guidance; you're receiving it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt88 View Post
    To be honest, it's a good company. Industry leading etc. And they've made every effort to really help me. They even set me up with a call, with their other contractors so I can discuss exactly what its like.

    Most of there other contractors had been there for years, and they told me they generally get treated like permanent staff, so I decided it was probably a situation where they treat people quite fairly.

    This is basically the reason I've not yet had a word with the recruiter - because I think it's genuinely a good opportunity, I don't want to ruin.

    I'm thinking I might find some middle-ground. Because there are people I think won't mind being approached. Because I've done the same for them. But, there are others who will definitely get p*ssed off if I give their e-mail to a recruiter - so I might just explain that I'm not prepared to hand out their contact details
    Then tell the company to make you a permanent offer.

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