RE: Did I overreact? (Recruiting firms)

Subject: RE: Did I overreact? (Recruiting firms)
From: "Diana Ost" <Diana -dot- Ost -at- msmcorp -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2006 11:54:01 -0400

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are "recruiters" who are
placing permanent employees, and there are "recruiters" who are placing
contractors. Of the second type, some are better than others. I've done
a LOT of contracting, so I've got experience. I've learned to tell the
good 'uns from the bad 'uns, and have had pretty good success. (I ask a
lot of questions!) Now, if I am contracting, I work with a few companies
and specific recruiters I know I can trust.

To figure out which ones I don't want to work with, I just check around
(are they a sweatshop group? lowballers, can't get local people because
of a bad reputation? Do they know their client? Know what it is that I
do? Know going rates in my area that are fair).

Ask other pointed questions, such as:

What's your margin? (When they quote a rate to me). Margins are the
dollar amount above what a contractor gets. These are usually anywhere
from 20% to 60% over contract rate. The higher the margin, the more
service the *contractor* should get (i.e., benefits, lunches, training,

A good one: I had one great contracting firm pay me the extra dollars I
needed out of their margin (which they told me about) when I needed a
few more bucks to stay on a contract. I worked for those folks many
times, and stay in touch with them even now.

A bad one: One firm wanted me to drive across Florida when we were under
a hurricane warning for my home area (imminent storm) to "prove" that I
wanted the job. This was the same person who asked me what rate I wanted
for the work, without giving me what the client expected to pay (so if I
asked for less, hey, they would make out). I asked her, "What are you
paying the rest of the team?" I could hear her choking on the phone :-)
Needless to say, I skipped that one.

Diana Ost
Technical Writer/Reporting Analyst
Production Administration
Market Street Mortgage Corporation
diana -dot- ost -at- msmcorp -dot- com
Phone (727) 431-7209
Fax (727) 724-9096
2650 McCormick Drive, Suite 200
Clearwater, Florida 33759

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