As Contractors, we have all been in a position where your CV / Resume has been sent over to a client by an Agency for a role, when another agency calls about a role at the same client. You explain you have been sent over already by another party. A typical response from the second agency could be:
- “It is for another role” - Is this likely? If the first agency sent you over for an HR Functional Role and the second agency says its for an OTL role - we all know it is likely to be the same role?
- “The other agency is not on the PSL” - Is this likely? How do they know?
- “They only hire through us” - Does any client only rely on one source?
- “If you go through us we can get you a higher rate” - How?
- “I will double check with the client that they have your CV / Resume” - Surprise, most times they come back and say the client has not got it!
When I was looking for a contract - I had a simple view on this. If I had given permission to an agency to send my CV / Resume to a named client for a role, I would not allow my details to be sent again under any circumstances. This often puts undue stress on the client as they are put under pressure by both or many agencies, who of course try to put themselves in a position of strength by having a ‘conflicting pitch’.
I have been on the hiring end of this and it certainly elongates the process and makes it ‘messy’. If the client has other ‘clean’ candidates i.e. sent by one agency only, they will often drop the repeated candidates especially if there will be grief! It must also raise a doubt (no matter how unfounded) within the clients mind as to the ethics of the contractor themselves, who unfortunately in most cases are unaware their details have been sent again.
There were of course situations where I had given my permission to send my details to unnamed clients in generic locations to a number of agencies to find out that it had been duplicated. My feelings on this is that who ever sent the CV first, as long as it was not unsolicited, should represent me.
When the owners of this business across all regions, who are all Oracle Apps Contractors, and all started contracting in the mid 90’s defined the process flows and the underlying ethics that underpin our business (based on much experience with agencies) we were clear about this area:
- We never send a contractors CV / Resume without obtaining permission
- We never send a contractors CV / Resume if we have not been asked by the client to locate a resource
- We never send a contractors CV / Resume to a client if it has already been sent
- We always divulge the client unless we have been specifically asked not to - it is not often that a client wants to remain anonymous anyhow
- We always have in place an email of representation so as to provide a clear audit trail for all parties in the case of any ambiguity
That is why, when in the unusual event, a contractor or client acts in a way that goes against our own ‘code of ethics’ we find it very disappointing. But if you play the long game you will of course lose a few, but in the end you gain a level of trust with the community at large which is priceless. The actual process of working with clients to understand, often translate their requirement, and then reach in to our Network to identify, locate and represent suitably qualified and available contractors and thereafter the placement, ongoing administration and relationship building is a lot more efficient, effective and enjoyable.
I would be interested in hearing other views etc on this topic.