We need to talk about CV Duplication
The world of freelancing is more competitive than ever, and it is becoming clear in the Netherlands that there is a supply surplus for freelance developers. You only have to look at the job boards or speak to a hiring manager to know that for most freelance roles, clients will receive approaches from a plethora of agencies, each with their own candidates. That is without even mentioning the approaches from consultancies.
This high level of supply means that one of the objections I hear regularly when approaching clients is:
“You’re all dealing with the same candidates; whenever we’re in the market we just end up getting the same profile from numerous different agencies.”
Firstly, if yours is the profile in question, congratulations. You have clearly got a badass CV and it is a nice ego boost to have agencies fighting over you.
However, is this really helping you? Recently, I picked up a requirement with a client and phoned one of my “go-to” guys who ticks all the boxes (let us call him Joost). I explained the role in detail to Joost, we looked through the client’s website together and decided to progress the application. Everything was looking good, until that dreaded response.
“Sorry, we’ve already received this CV from another agency, so we won’t be progressing.”
How could this be possible? Joost had never heard of this company before our call, further to that he had never even applied to a role in that city before.
Surely a simple fix, right? We will call the client, explain the situation, and book in the interview.
However, clients are becoming understandably bored with being caught in the middle of two agencies battling over a candidate. So, they are starting to say, “look, it’s not worth the hassle, we’ve got other candidates in the process so let's focus on them.”
Suddenly, Joost is discounted for a job through no fault of his own.
So, what can you do as a candidate to avoid this?
One thing I hear more and more regularly from freelancers is “I’ve got a number of applications out, but I don’t actually know where my CV has gone.”
To me, this does not make any sense. How do you know if that role is suitable for you when you do not know basic details about it?
I know some recruitment agencies are cagey and won’t give you their client’s name on the initial submission but you should always try to note down some details about the role so that you can keep a log for future conversations i.e., Specific Location, Industry, Duration, Technologies. That way if two agencies approach you about a Freelance .NET Position with a Green Energy Company in Oosterhout, then there is a 99% chance it is the same client.
What can you do as a hiring manager to avoid this?
Firstly, I totally understand your predicament. You have a day job to do and recruitment is only a small % of that. You do not want to spend even more time playing judge and jury to two agencies fighting over a CV.
One simple thing I would suggest is holding your agencies to account by asking for a receipt of representation. A receipt of representation is a simple email from the candidate along the lines of “I can confirm that <Agency X> has permission to process my application with <Company Y>”.
If you ask your agencies to supply a receipt of representation alongside the CV when they initially submit it, this will completely eradicate the issue. You will also be able to quickly identify the agencies who speculatively send CVs without having first spoken to the candidate.
There should be no excuse for an agency not to do this. It takes 2 minutes to complete and ensures that a candidate is aware of their application and the sharing of their details is GDPR compliant.
The elephant in the room
I am not trying to point the finger at the candidates or the clients in this scenario. This is undoubtedly a problem caused by recruiters adopting poor practices and treating people’s CVs like SPAM. But instead of complaining about it and seeing good candidates miss out on jobs for no reason, let us start putting some simple steps in place to hold the cowboys to account.