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Questions about Recruiting Agencies

 
Greenhorn
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Hi guys,
I'm wondering whether any of you has dealt with recruiting agencies during your job search - what has your experience been like ? How often should you keep in touch with them without being too annoying (and forgotten) ?
Good luck to all of you :-).
 
Author
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I've worked with recruiters from both sides (looking for a job, and hiring). First off let me say, the industry is unregulated, and bears many similarities to the used car industry. Many people are honest, some are good. However, a large number are incompetant, and more then I'd like are downright unethical.
As for how long to go, I'd say roughly once a month. Follow up more often if there are active leads.
Understand there are different types of agencies, large, established companies, like Winter Wyman, small companies, and independent recruiters. People in the latter two categories may be fly-by-nighters, i.e. the unethical people who jumped into the field b/c they could make easy money over the last few years. The larger firms are better about screening out latecomers, although you still find unethical people there (e.g. KForce, and whatever company it is they merged with 2 years back).
--Mark
 
Ranch Hand
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I think that Recruiting Agencies are the worst thing to happen to the job market ever. Now let me give you some reasons based on my experiences and that of some of my friends. One of my friends was demoted at a company that "hired" people only through an agency. It was an office politics thing but the bottom line was that there was no good reason for it, anyways he began to seek legal counsel. When the lawyers found out that he was hired through an agency they wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole. The non legalese reason: if you are hired through an agency the company has not made any commitment to you and can get rid of you at the drop of a hat and do what they will with you so long as it complies with the legal code.
Another instance is the simple fact that one of my friends hired through an agency as a web developer worked for a company for two years as he was not an employee did not get a vacation ever save the legal must holidays ie Christmas. When he was laid off he did not get a penny severance and he never got a raise.
The last instance is someone I know who works in an office who happened across what the company who hired him is paying for their services. The temp agency is marking them up 100%!
I consider most temp agencies parasites on the work force for the most part. They are a means for organizations to escape any kind of obligation to treat "employees" fairly.
I remember hearing about the new workforce how it was going to be great as would work on contract and just float from company to company effortlessly with total freedom. Reality is you can end up in the air a long time between jobs. Contract work carries no benefits or security and when the time comes to get into a mortgage it does not look good when you've had >=5 jobs in the last 2 years.
 
Ranch Hand
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If you need a job, try all of the channels you have to, just don't concentrate too hard on agencies. Your best bet is to contact companies directly...your chances are better with a company that is not even advertising for someone than with an agent running a current ad.
Most of the recruiters and agencies are inundated right now. And many have accounts with Monster, Hot Jobs, and Career Builder, that allow them to run ads for candidates for purely 'speculative' positions. Your resume joins the rest in a database which is searched for keywords when a valid position finally becomes available.
Don't discount them completely, just don't make that your main approach.
 
mister krabs
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I used recruiting agencies and had no luck with them this time. I always heard how things were getting better and they had lots of really good jobs coming domw the pipe and then never heard from them again. I got my job through a direct ad from a company. YMMV.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Luther's posting contains some misonceptions and generalities.

Originally posted by LutherAdon:
The non legalese reason: if you are hired through an agency the company has not made any commitment to you and can get rid of you at the drop of a hat and do what they will with you so long as it complies with the legal code.


Absolutely incorrect. When you sign a contract with a company, you have a committment. However, what your friend probably did was get hired as a contract worker. Allow me to elaborate.
Case 1
Company ABC wants to hire someone, so the turn to recruiting agency RA-1. RA-1 sends them candidates and eventually they hire one. ABC and the employee sign a contract and he then works for ABC.
Case 2
Company ABC wants to hire someone, so they turn to a different type of recruiting agency (which is a very generally term to begin with), which we'll call RA-2. In this case, the employee is technically an employee of RA-2. There is no contract between the employee and ABC. There is some contract between ABC and RA-2, but usually makes no mention of any specific employee.
Case 3
My last company was Vaultus. Vaultus, like many smaller companies, contracted out their payroll and benefits. Technically, I was an employee of HRLogic, the payroll company. Of course, for all practical purposes, I was a Vaultus employee.
This is all moot anyway. Most software engineers have employee-at-will contracts. They all say you can be terminated, at any time, without warning, with or without cause. Read your contract carefully, I'll bet this clause, or one very similar to it, is in it.

Originally posted by LutherAdon:
Another instance is the simple fact that one of my friends hired through an agency as a web developer worked for a company for two years as he was not an employee did not get a vacation ever save the legal must holidays ie Christmas. When he was laid off he did not get a penny severance and he never got a raise.


Again, he was clearly a contractor. A contractor, as in Case 2 above, is not eligible for paid holidays or vacation days. In theory, the contractor gets a higher hourly wage.

Originally posted by LutherAdon:
The last instance is someone I know who works in an office who happened across what the company who hired him is paying for their services. The temp agency is marking them up 100%!


Well this is clearly a contractng agency, case 2 above. 100% markup is actually fairly common (or was during the bubble).
My point is recruiting agencies != contract firms. It just so happens that some companies which fall into the loosely definaed category of recruiting agency happen to be contract companies.

--Mark
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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I agree with Mark. The vast majority of IT employees are hired "at-will". That means you can leave whenever you want and they can fire you whenever they feel like it. Unless you have a contract that says otherwise, they don't have to give you any severance. Some firms will state that they give as much severance as they request for notice when you quit. So if they ask for two weeks notice, they will give two weeks severance if they terminate you. Other firms will give severance as part of a package so that the remaining employees don't get scared and look for new jobs. You can be sure that any severance that a firm gives is based on what they consider their best interest.
I looked into working as a contract employee. The pay was better that a regular employee but you are expected to pay for your own vacation and benefits. This works out very nice if your spouse has good benefits that you can take advantage of. Contract employees can generally make a years salary in about 10 months. Which means if you don't have to buy your benefits you can take up to 2 months off each year. When the market is good this is very nice. When the market is bad, the contract employees are usually the first to go.
 
Ranch Hand
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I'd add one qualification to the comments that have been made on severence. How it is handled varies from country to country. The comments made clearly apply in the US; they wouldn't necessarily apply in Canada, for example. There is case law in Canada (provincial level, not I think federal level) that nudges severence to be proportional to the position and years of service.
 
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