Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Working with Recruiters

Advice for IT job seekers and independent contractors in Canada when working with recruiters and staffing agencies to successfully get a job.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Apply for the Same Job with Multiple Recruiters

Here's Why You Shouldn't Apply for the Same Job with Multiple Recruiters

Cherifta Daniel By Cherifta Daniel,
Recruitment Specialist at Eagle

In a world filled with worry and uncertainty during one of the biggest global challenges ever seen, unemployment rates have skyrocketed. Quarantine has inflamed and incited many emotions, one of which is candidate frustration with the job market. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of candidates applying for the same job with different recruiters. Is this okay? Absolutely not. The reasons why may surprise you.

In the wonderfully dynamic world of recruiting, this situation is called a “Double Submission.” It should be made clear that it is okay to work with multiple recruiters. In fact, this is encouraged as this can only increase your chances of finding a job because no one agency can cover all jobs in a local market. However, applying for the same job with different recruiters is no bueno.

It Doesn’t Increase Your Chances

There is a misconception that engaging with two recruiters to submit to the same job can improve your chances of getting an interview. This is not the case. Doubly submitting yourself for the same position is not like entering a raffle where the more tickets you buy (in this case resumes you submit), the greater your chances of winning the grand prize will be. This in fact has an adverse effect. Instead of getting you steps closer to your dream job, this is what can happen:

Blacklisted from the Hiring Company

Hiring companies use recruiters to gain access to top talent that they are unable to find on their own and to also streamline their recruitment processes. This is a way for them to also control the number of applications they receive — essentially serving as a direct prevention method for double submissions. By applying through different agencies, you are contradicting the purpose of this process and this can get you blacklisted from the hiring company. If you are blacklisted this means that you will automatically be disqualified from ever being considered for any future opportunities with this particular company. Additionally, you also run the risk of this company recommending other organizations in the same industry to not hire you. Your odds don’t seem too great anymore!

You Burn Your Bridges (Scorch Them)

When you work with a recruiter and you agree to have that person and company represent you for an opportunity, you seal this agreement typically in writing by email. This agreement is your word (your bond) that this recruiter (or recruitment company) is the only one allowed to represent you for this particular position — meaning you also cannot apply with any other agencies or directly to the hiring company. Going through multiple recruiters for the same position is a breach of ethics. You jeopardize the relationship that you have with your recruiter and create a lack of trust. Additionally, all of the hard work and efforts that went into your submission have now become futile.

Recruiter Wars

When you apply to the same position with multiple recruiters, no one wins — not even you. Additionally, this behavior can make the recruiting agencies that you are working with look as though they did not do their due diligence in securing your candidacy. In the end, this could create a situation where, if the client wants to interview you, you have a battle of agencies fighting over you because you gave them all the right to represent you for the same position. Companies do not like fighting over candidates, much less over who gets a finder’s fee. It is just too messy!

Time to take a beat. What’s the lesson here?

It is not okay to do and ask for forgiveness later. If you are unaware or unsure if you are applying to the same position with another recruiter, ask questions before you agree to be represented. Honestly communicate what your job search activity looks like. If you are also unsure about whether or not a recruiting company would 100% submit you for the opportunity, have an open conversation and work with a company that you can trust. Be subtle, yet impactful. Have a carefully crafted resume that mimics your personality, background, and skillset and submit this to only one recruiter. Be confident in your application and what you put out. Finally, be patient — it is a virtue!

Sick of People Pronouncing Your Name Wrong? LinkedIn Built a Solution!

Sick of People Pronouncing Your Name Wrong? LinkedIn Built a Solution!

Do you have one of those names? When you were a kid, while the teacher took attendance, there was a slight pause before reading your name, followed by a complete mess of what you thought should be an obvious pronunciation. And then it continued through the years. MCs, announcers, even your own friends completely mutilate your name, and they always find new, unique ways to do it.

Your professional life isn’t immune to these awkward situations either. When a recruiter calls for the first time, they slowly try pronouncing it three different ways until you finally interrupt and correct them. In an interview, your client-to-be confidently calls you something completely wrong… how and when are you going to correct this? Do you accept that this is your name for the duration of the contract?

A hard-to-pronounce name will never rule you out of jobs or hurt your chances of getting an interview. It does come with some frustrating moments in your career, though, so what can you do about it? The first-place recruiters, clients or employers learn about you is typically your resume, so why not start there? Resume experts have recommended a number of tactics:

  • Including an easier to pronounce “nickname” (this only works for a first name)
  • Writing out your name fuh-nEt-i-klee underneath the actual spelling
  • Including relatable tips on how to say your name (ex. sounds like _____________ )

You can also just include the address of your LinkedIn profile because the professional social network has stepped in to save the day!

LinkedIn’s Name Pronunciation Tool

Back in July, LinkedIn released a new tool that they say helps employers create a good first impression and build an inclusive workplace. As a bonus, it helps you minimize the many variations you hear of your name! The tool is extremely easy to use and quick to set-up, but you will need the LinkedIn mobile app to get started.

From the app, simply go to your profile and select to edit it. You’ll see an option by your name that says “Name Pronunciation”. From there, you can record yourself saying your name, slowly and clearly, as long as it fits within a 10 second timeframe. Now when anybody views your profile, whether in an app or a browser, a speaker icon will appear beside your name. When clicked, the user will hear exactly how your name should be said.

If you haven’t already, set-up your LinkedIn name pronunciation today. If you have one of those names, leave a comment in your resume or highlight in your LinkedIn profile, letting visitors know how easy it is to say your name properly.

LinkedIn's Name Pronunciation Tool

Quick Poll Results: Most IT Contractors Prioritize Service Over Rate

Top IT contractors are inundated with phone calls from recruiters and sometimes they’re all trying to sell you the exact same role. As that in-demand contractor, you choose who you will work with and, specifically, which recruiter represents you on that client’s opportunity. In last month’s contractor quick poll, we set-out to understand how you make that decision.

There are a number of factors you consider before being bound to a staffing agency for the length of your contract, and all are important. But we asked independent contractors which was their highest priority. The results are below and we learned that an overwhelming majority want to work with the agency who will give them the best service, while only a smaller percentage say that rate is the most vital factor.

Quick Poll Results: What is your top consideration when deciding which recruitment agency to partner with on a gig?

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

Why Are Staffing Agencies Important for the Hiring Process

Eagle’s founder, Kevin Dee, recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel in a webinar hosted by CPA4IT. The event, titled The Future of Work for Independent Contracting Webinar, set out to discuss how Canadian IT contractors can survive and thrive in this time and what practical tips that they can utilize to achieve success at work as an Independent Contractor.

One topic discussed was the value of staffing agencies, both for clients in the hiring and contracting process, as well as for IT contractors looking for work. Below is a clip of Kevin Dee’s insight on the topic, including how companies are seeking to improve efficiencies, as well as protect contractors from being deemed an employee by the CRA.

Eagle’s CEO, Janis Grantham, is joining the panel for the next webinar hosted by CPA4IT on Thursday, October 22nd. They’ll be building on the previous discussion and answering questions about the future of work for independent contracting in Canada. Click here to register today.

Navigating the IT Contract Extension Process

Navigating the IT Contract Extension Process

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Director, Delivery Strategy & Development at Eagle

Extensions are a major part of IT contract work and, at times, are as important as getting a new position. Not every contract is guaranteed to be extended but as a contractor, you should know how to go about getting that information and what to do with it.

When your contract is coming to an end, it is important to make sure that you are communicating with both your manager at your current client and the recruiter who you worked with to get you that position. The recruiter will always be working on their end to help and push extension discussions; however, depending on client processes, they may not have as easy access to those answers as you do.

Asking your manager and your recruiter at the same time about your extension will prompt both sides to begin the conversation sooner. Within the last month or two of your contract, start following up to see if there are any chances for an extension. Depending on the response, you can start to plan your next steps based on your preferences.

When There Will Be an Extension…

If this is a role that you want to continue in, make sure to let both your manager and recruiter know. It is especially important that you share that information with your recruiter so that they can work for you to get that extension done. Extensions and the process to approve them can sometimes take time and this is something that you don’t want to leave to the last minute. You want to make sure that both sides have all the information and that communication can be as clear as possible.

When You are Ready to Move On…

If you are coming to the end of your current contract and you are not interested in being extended, tell your recruiter by the last month of your contract. You want to give the recruiter the opportunity to let the client know that you will not be accepting any pending extensions so that you leave the position in the best standing. When possible, provide as much knowledge transfer and even referrals so your work can be transitioned as smoothly as possible. Communication about this is as important as the communication to get an extension.

When There Won’t Be an Extension…

Coming to the end of a contract without an extension can be daunting but there are things that you can do to make the transition of finding that new position easier. Keep irons in the fire! Know what is out there, even if you are still on the current contract, and report that to your favourite recruiters. Let them know what kind of roles you are hearing about in your network and what roles you will be looking for going forward.

What else is out there? Call your recruiter and ask them what roles they are working on and give them details on your current end date and what specifically you were doing on your current project. Clients want contractors that are ‘working,’ and if you are finishing up a current contract and getting your resume in front of hiring managers, it can be a benefit to them to know you are just finishing up and are ready to jump to the next opportunity.

No matter if you are being extended or not, the key is to be proactive. Your recruiter will help you find that next position or work hard on your extension process, but making sure they have ample time to do so will only benefit you in the long run.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Technology Recruiters Are Using to Serve You Better

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Technology Recruiters Are Using to Serve You Better

Like every leading company today, many staffing companies embrace technology and invest in solutions that let recruiters focus on their core job – finding you a contract and supporting you during your gig.

IT Recruiters want to focus on building relationships with you, the top candidate who’s most likely deliver results to the client. They want to spend time talking to you, getting to know you, and helping you build your application. When a contract starts, great recruiters ensure a pleasant experience by keeping in touch with you and helping you solve problems. In order to achieve these goals, they try to minimize the time they spend doing things like admin work or reading unqualified resumes so they can maximize the time they spend with you. How do they do that? Through automation and various other innovative technologies.

Being aware that these technologies exist and understanding what’s happening behind the scenes can help you adjust your job search process and work even better with the recruiter. Here’s an inside scoop on some of the automations and technologies staffing companies might be using and how it would affect you:

Chatbots

More than just employment agencies have integrated these tools on their websites. If you open up the little chat box while visiting a website to ask questions, it’s almost certain that you will not be chatting with a human right off the bat. These are run by intelligent chatbots who ask a few screening questions to understand exactly what you’re looking for. Sometimes they can answer your question and no human is required. If the conversation goes astray, the chatbot will eventually connect you to a person. Chatbots on job boards might ask you screening questions or provide you with more information about a job, all before sending your responses to a recruiter who will then get in touch with you.

What does that mean for you? First, try not to get put-off by speaking with a computer. Simple questions can be answered quickly if the chatbot is configured properly. Of course, not all chatbots are made equally with the same sophistication. When starting a chat, use simple, direct language to ask your questions to help the bot better understand what you need. If all else fails, ask to speak to a human or you may need to pick up the phone.

Resume Screeners

It’s no secret that your resume is often put through a machine and matched to a job to see if you qualify, and recruiters are not reading every single resume that gets submitted. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes each day so if they were to read every one of them in detail that is the only thing they would do!

What does it mean for you? Write your resume knowing that it may be read by a computer and format it so the technology can easily understand who you are and your experience. Here’s a post we wrote a few years back with some tips to write your resume for an automated resume screener.

Candidate Search Aggregators

How did a recruiter find me when I never applied to their job? We get that question from confused candidates sometimes when they get contacted by an agency they never even heard of. Recruiters have a database of qualified candidates who they’ve spoken with, but they also go outside of that database sometimes, when they need some niche talent. They subscribe to other job boards’ databases like Monster or Indeed and scour social media platforms like LinkedIn and GitHub to find new contacts. To make it easier, many invest in technology that aggregate all of these searches. In one search, the technology returns candidates across all of these sources, meaning if you’re a talented IT contractor, you’re going to be found.

What does it mean for you? Be aware of where you put your information and that you may be found by recruiters, especially if you hold some niche skills. If you’d rather not be found and contacted, when you submit your resume on a job board like Monster or CareerBuilder, it should have an option to keep your information private. On profiles like LinkedIn, make a clear note stating whether or not you’d like to hear from recruiters, or under which circumstances you’d prefer they contact you.

Scheduled Emails

Scheduling emails allows a recruiter save time and keep organized by preparing a message in advance, and ensuring it’s sent at the right time. Again, this practice isn’t limited to just the recruiting profession, Gmail added a Schedule feature not too long ago for all users. Many companies also go a step further and automate the emails, with the most basic example in your job search being that notification you receive each time you apply to a job.

What does it mean for you? Inevitably, technology can have its bad days and you may receive a scheduled email that seems a bit funny. For example, a recruiter might schedule an email but then end up connecting over the phone, before the email is sent. If they don’t get a chance to cancel the scheduled email, you’ll receive an email that seems a little out of context.

Texting

Recruiters and candidates often text back-and-forth. It’s easier than email, faster than a phone call and overall convenient. A recruiter working with dozens of candidates can easily lose track of who’s who on their phone, so companies invest in technology to simplify it for them. Although you’re texting from your phone, your recruiter may be using a desktop application that connects with your profile.

What does it mean for you? This experience should be seamless and, if anything, easier for you. The biggest benefit is that if your recruiter is out sick or on vacation, your history and conversations can easily be picked up by their replacement, ensuring your job search isn’t affected.

Technology helps companies, organizations and governments make their processes more efficient, ensuring teams can focus on their core jobs, which for recruiters, means building relationships and matching candidates to opportunities. This is just a sample of some of the common solutions being implemented by staffing agencies around the world.

How to Tell Your Recruiter They Screwed Up (and you’re not happy about it)

How to Tell Your Recruiter They Screwed Up (and you're not happy about it)

Building relationships and working with IT recruiters is one of the best strategies to find contract opportunities and keep a steady stream of work. Like any relationship, situations can go badly and solving problems effectively is important to maintaining a strong connection.

Many things can go astray in the contractor/recruiter relationship and you might feel the blame lies with the recruiter. After all, nearly every contractor has a story about a recruiter who did them wrong. Maybe they failed to include you on an opportunity that would have been a shoe-in for you. Perhaps they miscommunicated information about an interview and made you look like a fool. Or they might have completely abandoned you after the job started, leaving you scrounging to figure out how to get paid and solve certain problems on your own.

If you’ve met plenty of recruiters in your career, then you know who you should cut loose from your future job searches and who’s worth keeping around for a second chance. You want to work out your problems with that recruiter who has had a good track record, always has awesome opportunities and is part of a trustworthy staffing agency. However, you also can’t let them off the hook for their sloppiness that has affected your business. So, it’s time to have a direct conversation and provide (sometimes difficult) feedback, ensuring a strong path forward.

Preparing for a Difficult Conversation with a Recruiter

Your goal is to make sure the conversation goes as smoothly and constructively as possible. Here are a few items to think about before you pick up the phone (yes, the phone… don’t even think about sending an angry message through text or email):

  • Change your mindset. Instead of preparing for a difficult conversation or a call to complain, think of it as providing feedback or solving a problem.
  • Plan, but don’t script it out. Have an idea of what you’d like to say, but don’t expect it to go word-for-word as you’d like. The recruiter doesn’t know the lines you’ve prepared for them.
  • Have your facts straight. Know the exact timeline of events, who did what (or didn’t), and what specific outcomes resulted of these actions. This must go beyond emotion.
  • Consider their perspective. Think about the recruiter’s situation and why they may have acted as they did. Are they going to be surprised by your phone call?
  • Understand your own emotions, motivations and shortcomings. Take a step back before calling your recruiter on their mistakes. Think carefully about why you’re upset, as well as if there is anywhere you could have done better.

During the Conversation

Here are tips to keep in mind during the discussion (no, it’s not a rant where you say your piece and hang up, this is a two-way dialogue)

  • Be confident and assertive. The recruiter needs to know that you are dissatisfied and there is a problem to be resolved.
  • Practice active listening. Listen to their response to ensure the message you’re trying to deliver is properly received. Remember to speak slowly enough to allow the recruiter to ask questions and participate in the conversation.
  • Practice emotional intelligence. Being aware of both your emotions and the recruiter’s emotions throughout the discussion will help you guide the conversation effectively.
  • Keep the conversation constructive. Stay positive and avoid getting dragged into an endless debate of who’s right or wrong.
  • Watch your language. Choose your words wisely to avoid words that are confrontational and will make the recruiter defensive. Speaking slowly and following your plan is a good way to do this.
  • Give something back. You need to hold the recruiter accountable for where they slipped up, but you can also offer responsibility for your own shortcomings, as well as suggestions for next steps in moving forward.
  • Be respectful. Above all, you’re dealing with a human being. Even if the end of this conversation is going to result in you severing ties with this recruiter, there is never a reason to be rude and harsh in your conversation. Always be the bigger person.

Discussing a recruiter’s mistakes is only one example of difficult conversations you have in your professional life. You might also need to tell a client why their project is going badly, tell a colleague that their work is poor, communicate change out to a team… the list goes on. All of the tips listed above are transferrable to your unique situation. How will you improve your difficult communications in the future?

Contractor Quick Poll: What’s your top consideration when choosing a recruitment agency?

If you’re a talented IT contractor, and your skills have ever been in high-demand in a hot job market, then you’ve probably received phone calls from multiple recruiters within a matter of minutes, all trying to sell you the same gig. A client came out with a new role and needs a response ASAP, now every recruiter in the city wants to submit that top fit for the job — you!

IT consultants often get the opportunity to choose which agency they will work with on a job. Sometimes it’s due to the example above and, in other cases, there are multiple job offers on the table, each with different recruitment agencies, and you need to decide which you will take. There are many factors that make up your decision and you weigh them all carefully before finally choosing how to proceed. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re out to learn what that most important consideration usually is when you have to make that decision.

Backing Out of a Contract Without Ruining Your Reputation

Backing Out of a Contract Without Ruining Your Reputation

Arek Godlewski By Arek Godlewski,
Recruitment Specialist at Eagle

September 2020 marks 20 years of me being a technical recruiter.  There are a lot of stories and situations that will stay with me forever — most very positive, some befuddling, and then, in the minority, negative. Believe it or not, the scenario of consultants backing out of a contract they have accepted falls into all three.

As a recruiter I dread the call that starts with “Arek, we need to talk…”; however, it’s something that happens. It’s part of this business we call contracting. An important factor is how you approach the reneging. By nature, breaking a contract will almost definitely harm your professional relationship to some degree, not only with the recruiter/agency you work with, but also the client. So, if you are going to do it, at least do it right.

The most important point that I would like to make is that as a contractor, your reputation is your main selling point, so make your decision carefully and think about what will happen in 1 or 2 or 10 years from now. Sure a few dollars more will benefit you in the short term, however; will breaking a potentially long-lasting professional relationship worth it?

If there are no other options and you will need to break your agreement with the client, my top advice is to tell the truth and talk about it. More specifically:

  1. Be honest — Getting caught in a lie will only hurt your reputation further.
  2. Make it a phone call or in-person conversation — This will help you set the tone and explain your reasoning.
  3. Demonstrate that you’ve tried everything possible not to have to break the contract.

Full disclosure: I will always, always ask if there is anything that I can do, or facilitate with the client, to change your mind. Having said that, the person walking away from the contract will always have me championing their decision. I totally get that certain situations and life in general can get in the way. Even if I disagree wholeheartedly with the reason (#1 is getting an offer that pays few dollars more — but that’s an article in itself), I will make sure that I will have your back with my management and the client.

Naturally, there are a couple definite don’ts that I would like to highlight. These are in poor form, leave a lasting impression of the worst kind and, unfortunately, are way too common:

  1. Don’t ghost us. Don’t send an email after hours and then not pick up the phone (there’s no need to be afraid of the person on the other side).
  2. Don’t use a false family emergency as a reason. I am loathe in including this example, but it’s the most used line to back out of the contract. In my experience, albeit anecdotal, those individuals update their LinkedIn with a new job the next week (yeah, we check).

In closing, stuff happens and sometimes one has to make difficult decision, but before you do, think about how it will affect you in the long run and always be honest, it’s the best way to live.

What to Do When You Change Your Email Address

What to Do When You Change Your Email Address

Email is the preferred method of communication for most IT contractors during their job search. Because of their busy schedules, it’s challenging to answer a phone call in the middle of the day, so they usually ask recruiters to send them the details of a job and they’ll look at it later. Some urgent jobs require a phone call to get an immediate response, but for the most part, recruiters are happy to send notifications primarily by email… but they need to know the right email address!

There’s nothing worse than finding an opportunity that is perfect for somebody but when we try to reach out, that email address is not in service or we get a response much later on because they barely monitor that inbox. And these are addresses that had activity within the last few months!

There are many reasons you might get a new email address, for example, you might decide to create an address using your own custom domain or you might change ISPs. Regardless of the why, when you do change contact info, here are a few tips to make sure recruiters, clients and everyone else can still find you:

  • Are You Sure? Prevent yourself from going through this process again by making sure your new email address can pass the test of time and that it’s extremely unlikely you’ll need to get a new one. Keep it generic and use a provider like Gmail or Outlook that you know isn’t going anywhere. Using your ISP like Bell or Telus is a risk because you may change providers in the future, forcing you to be on the lookout for yet another email address.
  • Keep the Old Address. For as long as possible, hold onto that old address to prevent anyone from receiving hard bounce-backs when they use it. Keeping access also means you can set-up email forwarding to your new address and a custom bounce-back message to senders, letting them know your new contact info.
  • Export/Import When Possible. They all have a different process, but most email systems will allow you to export all of your contacts and even your emails. Use these tools to bring information and set-up your new email for a flawless transition.
  • Let Your Favourite Contacts Know. Not everybody who you’ve ever sent an email to cares that you’ve changed, but it is a good idea to notify all of the contacts who really need to know. Some people keep strict SPAM filters and will need to add your new address to the safe list.
  • Update Your Online Profiles. If you use a password manager, or keep a list of passwords anywhere, this is a good place to start at to find all of those profiles you have created that need updating. And yes, whenever possible, update your profile as opposed to creating a new one with your new email address.
  • Don’t Look Back. Now that you’ve switched, it’s time to commit to that address and stick to it. Unless you have obvious, black and white rules as to which address is used when, you will confuse all of your contacts if you use different addresses at random times. We’ve seen IT contractors actively use multiple addresses and not only is it difficult to manage, but it raises red flags that they might be trying to do something sneaky.

While it would be great if we could always use that same tried and true email address, extenuating circumstances cause everyone to get a new one now and again. How you manage that change will affect your job search and business relationships. But, like any change, the transition will be smoother if you plan out the process and communicate well.