Recruitment Agency Tricks – Hitting Agents for Six Part 1 – IT Contractor

Recruitment Agency Tricks on contractors
Agency Tricks played on contractors

Recruitment Agency Tricks


Recruitment Agency tricks are a constant problem for contractors.

Contractors are always complaining about recruitment agency tricks, the ‘tricks’ that agents get up to, in order to:-

  1. ‘rip them off’,
  2. find out who’s recruiting, and
  3. to get them to sign contracts before they go to other interviews etc. etc. etc.

Agency tricks are a constant refrain of the contractor Discussion Boards, and whenever contractors get together, about the latest wheezes that agents and agencies get up to.

Agency Tricks on Contractors
Agency Tricks on Contractors to cheat them

It’s better to think of it as a game of Chess though, or a cricketing batsman facing a tricky spin bowler. Then you won’t get upset so much.

They should learn, though, how to counteract those agency tricks. It’s not all that difficult if you know how. Here we will show you how to counteract those agency tricks.

Some of what I say will not be advice, but merely pointing out what COULD be done.

Exclusive Rights

When you first join up, the agent may tell you that you shouldn’t send out your CV to other agencies. Their reason is that they have coverage of the market. They say that if your CV was to appear at the same company twice from two separate agents, it would cause great embarrassment and will probably cause them to reject your CV.

This is complete baloney. It is the right of small companies (as contractors are) to advertise and market their skills and services to as wide an audience as possible, in order to give themselves the best chance of getting business and at the highest rate.

Agency Dirty Tricks on Contractors
Agency Dirty Tricks on unsuspecting Contractors

Hirer of Contractors

First of all, as someone who has hired many contractors in the past (and having spoken to others that have also), I can say that it never bothers a client if the same person’s CV appears more than once from different agencies.

In fact if there are a lot of CVs that have been sent through, you are more likely to stick out and be remembered if your CV has been received more than once.

Indeed, if it appears multiple times, then the client is likely to conclude that you are quite thorough in your job search. That will do you no harm, as clients certainly have nothing against thorough people.

Clients Choosing CVs

Clients normally do one of two things. They either choose the first CV from you that has been sent through or they choose the cheapest. Some agents take a lesser cut than others.

They never throw them away for that reason. It is important for you to get your CV out to as many agencies as possible. That’s because there are certain agencies that have ‘ins’ at certain sites, and you won’t have them covered if you don’t have your CV with them.

There is no down side to getting your CV to as many agencies as possible.

Recruitment Agency Tricks is the first in a series of six articles about hitting agents for six.



  1. Whilst I would agree that an agent telling you NOT to circulate your CV to other agncies is both unprofessional and smacks of sharp practice outside the ethics of the few who manage their business in line with the codes of conduct.

    Telling contractors to give their CV to the same hiring client via as many agents as possible is also sharp practice and likely to backfire – and here is one example of how.

    Bob gives the go-ahead to three agents to submit his CV for the same role at client A. The first agent takes the time and care to check Bob is correct for the role, is available within the timescales needed to start, has no pressing holidays booked one week into the assignment and agrees a rate as per the agreed terms with the client AND gets sole representation for the role in writing from Bob. It’s worth noting that a vast number of clients these days only accept the candidate rate as the agency rate/margin is pre-defined.

    So Bob now goes via the other two agents with two different rates to the one he quoted the first agent. The client then sees three CV’s for Bob all at different rates. Do you really believe this won’t go against Bob and that the client doesn’t know what Bob’s game is??

    So let’s say the client is slightly less than ethical and decides to accept the cheapest/lowest rate even though it wasn’t the first agent throught the door. Bob has just lost out.

  2. agencies are car salesman easy as that dont trust them never did they are full of bull to earn their commission ,they will tell you lies to get you on the job they will even advertise in large job web sites to see how many people apply and if 50 people apply for the same job they will drop the hourly rate by 50p and so on .they do this to test the market for who is unemployed and looking.its like sugar flood the market with sugar the price comes down.These people are parisites living off the backs of hard working people,on to of that they will refir you to an umbrella company to get paid which is probably theirs anyway or they are taking a slice of your payment to the umbrella company


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