SPUG: Recruiter Survey
tim at consultix-inc.com
Wed Jun 21 12:58:22 CDT 2000
SPUG has been approached by several recruiting agencies who want to
offer us finder's fees for helping fill Perl programming positions.
Due to my long and extremely distasteful experiences with this industry
(see below for an account of a "Perl Porting on the Night Shift"
position I took a few years back, which really turned out to be "Shell
Programming on the Day Shift") I'm very reluctant to have SPUG enter into
a relationship with any agency without very good recommendations about
their past performance.
So I'm asking those of you who have had contract programming placements
through Seattle-area agencies, which are the good ones (didn't lie to
you, gave you a fair share of your billing rate, kept their promises
about benefit plans and future contracts, etc.)
The idea is that we'll identify a few really top-notch agencies, that
have clients who hire Perl programmers, and give them special access to
our Email list, in exchange for revenues that we'll use for parties,
speakers, field trips to the Experience Music Project, etc.
| Dr. Tim Maher, CEO, Consultix (206) 781-UNIX/8649; ask for FAX# |
| Email: tim at consultix-inc.com Web: http://www.consultix-inc.com |
| CLASSES; 6/12: Int. Perl 6/15: Pat. Matching 8/14: UNIX 8/21: Shell |
| DAMIAN CONWAY Seminars; Adv. OO Perl: 7/6, Parsing with Modules: 7/7 |
An Unpleasant Experience with a High-Tech Recruiter
Tim Maher, 2/2/97
The Job was described in a Usenet newsgroup posting as "software porting,
2nd shift." The name of the Recruiter handling the account was given.
Over a 5 day period, I sent the designated Recruiter several Emails
& FAXes with Resume attached, and one voice mail, asking repeatedly
to be considered for the position. I never received any response.
I eventually got through to the Recruiter by phone, 6 days from posting
date, and he told me he hadn't heard from me and that he couldn't find
a copy of my resume. I FAX'd it to him on the spot.
I asked the Recruiter the specific hours for this 2nd shift position,
and he said "4pm - 12." I asked if he needed to check with the Client
to be sure, and he said "No."
I told him I preferred to work on a 1099 rather than W2 basis, and he
said no problem, they could arrange that.
I told the Recruiter I wanted $50-$60/hour, but due to the benefits
of the 1099 arrangement, I'd accept a minimum of $45/hour. He said
that sounded very high, and that he'd have to check with the Client for
approval, but given my impressive resume, it might work out. (I later
learned from the Client that not only was no "checking for approval"
ever done, but in fact, no discussion of my exact fee ever occurred).
With my permission, the Recruiter FAX'd my resume to the Client.
He then called to tell me that the Client had approved the $45 rate,
and had requested an interview.
I talked to the Client (who turned out to be old acquaintance), and found
that the job was not 2nd shift, there was no porting involved, and that
the Client had never discussed my fee with the Recruiter. The only
fee they had discussed was what the Client would pay the Recruiter,
which was set at $60 from the start. (NOTE: 60/45 is 33% markup)
I met with the Recruiter, and asked to see the contract they use for
1099 arrangements, but he said it was my responsibility to provide that.
I expressed surprise, and asked if he was sure they could really work on
the 1099 basis (wondering how they could obtain approval from their legal
advisors on a case-by-case basis for contracts submitted by contractors).
But he insisted they do it all the time, and I should just send him my
I told the Recruiter that I had been offered the position, but that I
was anticipating additional offers for other higher-paying positions
in short order. I proposed to forget about the other offers and accept
this position if I could get $50/hr, and I asked him to make the pitch
to the Client. (NOTE: 60/50 is 20% markup)
The Recruiter left a voice-mail message for me saying that he had asked
the Client for my higher rate, and that "Client says he wants to split
the difference, at $47.50/hr ". I was disappointed that the Client would
"nickel and dime" me like this, and said I'd think about it.
I called the Client, who said Recruiter had talked him into increasing
his payment by $5 to $65/hr, which he was willing to do to make me happy,
but that was as high as he could go. He denied ever offering to "split
the difference", and was surprised to hear that the Recruiter was keeping
half of the $5 increment for himself. (NOTE: 65/47.50 is 37% markup)
I called the Recruiter, and told him the Client couldn't go any higher,
and asked him to please reduce his markup to provide me the $50/hr
I needed to commit to the deal. After a very long silence, and then
lengthy consideration of my answer to the question "When can you start?",
he reluctantly agreed. (NOTE: 65/50 is 30% markup)
My background, as detailed on my resume, made it clear that I was a
shoo-in for this position! Yet if I hadn't persisted in trying to get
this Recruiter to read his Email or FAXes for a period of nearly a week,
I doubt that I would ever have had a chance for the interview! This is
surely not indicative of an active, organized, professional campaign
fill the position!
Furthermore, in addition to this apparent lack of competence or diligence,
if I assume that the Client has been truthful with me, which I have no
reason to doubt, I must conclude that almost everything the Recruiter
told me was either factually incorrect or deliberately falsified.
He had even gone so far as to fabricate fictitious conversations he'd
supposedly had with the Client, with the obvious intent of diminishing
my share of Client's payments through deceit.
Although this is the only Recruiter, and the only search agency, with
which I have had this much interaction in this decade, in retrospect I now
suspect that all the others I talked to during this 3 week job-hunting
period (at least seven) were playing the same games as this guy (e.g.,
pretending to forcefully lobby the Client on my behalf to get me a higher
rate, when in fact they probably never even made a phone call; ).
Moreover, I now regret excluding from my consideration many job
announcements that contained one or two words that put me off; judging
from my recent experience, I now suspect that many of those descriptions
were probably extremely inaccurate, and I may in fact have liked the real
job descriptions, as opposed to the ones posted by the Search Agencies,
What an industry! I'd much rather have my sister marry a used car
I'm wondering what comes next, now that I'm at the paper-signing
phase with this totally unethical and borderline-incompetent bozo of
a Recruiter. I have a sinking feeling that he is going to suddenly
discover that he cannot pay me on a 1099 basis after all, and try to
(bait and) switch me over to W2. (Of course, as I told him on Day One,
I would have wanted $50-$60 for a W2 job, and was only willing to go
lower for the benefits of the 1099 status.) We shall see . . .
Everything worked out okay. The last time I was in their office, I
overheard a conversation in which the big-boss was telling my agent
that they had to find a way to "turn resumes around faster", because
most placements went to the agency that would submit the resume first
to the client. He told my agent to stop reading the incoming resumes,
just to FAX them ASAP to all the clients with open postions. I'm not
kidding! I sure hope this agency is either out of business by now,
or behaving more responsibly.
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