If you’ve been an IT contractor for long enough, then you’ve almost certainly connected with one or two recruiters who are… special. They don’t have a clue about your role, their role, or anything that’s going on. Other times, you work with a recruiter who is on the right track and then suddenly, they ask for something completely off-the-wall. Where do these people come from?
Yes, some recruiters are a lost cause and hopefully they’re far and few between in your job search. But usually, when a recruiter requests something from you that is obscure or a little too intrusive, there’s a valid reason. Here are explanations for some requests that make IT contractors scratch their heads, but are actually an important part of the recruiting process:
They Ask for Your ID
You’re obviously of legal age and this gig does not require you to drive anywhere, so why is this recruiter asking for a copy of your drivers’ license? Sure, if you get the job and a security check is required, you’ll pass along that information, but you’re only just meeting for the first time!
Candidate fraud is a real and serious issue in the IT contracting space. Candidates will purchase a prefabricated resume filled with impressive projects, but when they start working, it’s clear they have absolutely no experience. Recruiters will often start by verifying your ID to ensure you are who you say you are and live where you say you live. When you arrive for an interview, they will also make sure they’re talking to the same person who appears on that ID.
They Ask Extremely Basic Technical Questions
You’ve almost definitely arrived in an interview only to be asked the most junior-level questions possible, making you scratch your head and wonder if the recruiter even knows how to turn on a computer. How can they possibly evaluate your abilities if they can’t pronounce the terminology?
Depending on the agency, some recruiters work on a variety of roles across different disciplines and industries. It would be impossible to understand all of them and, at this stage of the process, they really don’t need to. The recruiter is ensuring that you can discuss your resume and expand on projects (again, checking for candidate fraud), plus they are gaining an understanding of other softer skills. If you proceed to the next stage, then the client will have a technical person from their team dig deeper into those skills.
Recruiters asking basic technical questions can also be a very positive sign about their professionalism and who they are as a person. They genuinely want to learn more from you and understand the intricacies about your role. If you answer this recruiter’s basic questions today, you’ll have an entirely different conversation with them when you’re looking for your next contract.
They Ask for a Word Version of Your Resume
It’s common that IT contractors submit their resume in PDF format for security purposes. You thought carefully about how you want to represent yourself on paper and you don’ want anybody editing it to misrepresent you. Still, a recruiter comes back and asks you for a Word document. They must have ulterior motives!
Yes, very often the recruiter is asking for a Word document because they need to edit your resume, but not in that concerning way. Some clients will have strict requirements about the format in which they want your resume and what can be included on it. For example, to ensure a fair evaluation, they ask that some identifying information is omitted including names and contact information. If you really want to keep your resume in a PDF format, ask the recruiter if you can make those specific edits yourself and resubmit the PDF version of your resume.
In other cases, clients want to receive resumes in Word format so they can be evaluated and stored properly within their own internal tools. The client likely has experienced too many issues with their systems not reading PDF documents properly, so to minimize issues, they request a consistent format.
They Ask What Other Jobs You’ve Applied To
How is that any of the recruiter’s business?
The recruiter might just be starting friendly conversation to learn more about you and what kind of interests you have. More importantly, though, the recruiter is eliminating any risk of a double-submission.
Clients who work with multiple staffing agencies often include a strict policy about duplicate submissions. If two agencies submit the same candidate for a role, rather than fight out who gets rights to the original submission, the evaluator will eliminate both. So, it may seem that a recruiter is prying into your personal business by asking in-depth questions about applications with other agencies, but they’re actually ensuring your application with them isn’t immediately thrown out by the client (in addition to your application with another agency).
They Ask You Not to Talk to Clients
We occasionally get feedback from IT contractors who feel staffing agencies are a needless ‘middleman’ and that business could get done faster if the contractor could just connect with the client directly. Yes, that might be true if your position was the only IT contract the client has open, but Eagle’s clients tend to have more going on. It’s more efficient for them to only have conversations with a few select staffing agencies, rather than have direct communications and negotiate with hundreds of IT contract applicants at any one time. In fact, by contacting the client directly, you might be frustrating them and jeopardizing your chances of getting hired.
If you’re a seasoned veteran of the technology contracting space, these questions are probably just the tip of the iceberg for weird things recruiters have asked of you. We’d love to hear what else has made you scratch your head. Leave it in the comments and we’ll let you know if there’s a logical reason or a red flag.