Barrow Boys – Recruiting Industry full of them | UK Contractors

Barrow Boys
Barrow Boys as Contractor Recruiters

Barrow Boys


“Barrow Boys – Recruiting Industry Full of Then” was posted by a reader in response to “Confessions of an Agent. How to steal an IT Contractors job“.

Barrow Boys – Heal Thyself

Well, if this kind of barrow boy practice doesn’t ring bells with an agent reading it then they’ve not been doing this very long.

Many agents did this and much worse. For example, there were even some who hacked into contractor’s mobile phone voicemail service.

Hooking Contractors
Hooking Contractors – by an agent

It was to listen to messages about interviews left for him by other agents. The same way the newspapers hacked into the royal family’s aids voicemail to get gossip.

These are barrow boy practices.

Simple, if voicemail not password protected then anybody can access it from a landline if they know the service provider (easily guessed) and the phone number.

Agents did that and they did worse than that too.

Normal Practice for Barrow Boys

This kind of thing, and fake job ads to gather market information, is bread and butter in this industry.

I used to get calls similar to the one described from a ‘Mr Smith’ or similar (who I’d never heard of) at some well known agent or other.

Then if I called ‘Mr Smith’ back at that agency I’d be told that there was no,
and never had been, such a person. That’s an agency full of barrow boys.

There may be some agents who didn’t do this kind of thing. However, they were well in the minority and I don’t know who they were.

I was contacted almost everyday by agents who must have had an ulterior motive for contacting me.

Devious Agencies
Devious Agencies and their dirty tricks on contractors

There’s no doubt about that. Even when telling them I was not available they still pressed to find-out where I was working. What concern was it of theirs? So it was all very obvious really.

I’ve even had agents confessing to bribing their client’s managers. So if you’re not familiar with this kind of thing, and these barrow boys, then where have you
been living?

Agency Barrow Boys

The bottom line is that the industry was cram-packed with barrow boy telesales people under massive pressure to achieve and having few, if any, morals.

If its changed then that’s only because the good times are over and those barrow boys are doing other things. If the good times come back then so will the barrow boys.

The barrow boys themselves were not the problem really. They were just naive. It was the directors and managers of these agencies who pressurised them, with either threats or prospect of great reward, to deliver profit.

Those are the ones who are responsible for it. They turned the industry into the wild-west and motivated their cowboy staff.

Agency Tricks on Contractors
Agency Tricks on Contractors to cheat them

Experience With Agencies

I’ve got a lot of experience of dealing with many agents. I do know what I’m talking about. I also know people who have provided high-level professional services to these agencies and they tell me about the culture and practices prevailing within them.

For example, one firm I know made a training film for such an agent and it contained instruction in dodgy techniques for the barrow boys to follow.

So there is no doubt about it – and if you want to deny it then that’s your guilt talking.



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