Why do I feel like a second-hand car?

By Andy Berry

No, it’s not because I’m rusty and have a noisy engine.

It’s because most IT recruitment agencies treat me like one; not as an individual with skills, aspirations and desires but as a commodity to be brought and sold.

They seem to collect CVs like a second-hand car dealer collects cars so they can boast that they have the “largest selection in the Midlands”.

Increasingly, they just seem to be interested in buyers (whoops, I mean clients) who know just what they want:  “I’ll have developer who’s worked in my industry and used precisely the same tools last week.”   Proactive marketing of their prime asset (their contractors) is not a concept they can understand.

They’re also becoming obsessed with bits of paper, like car dealers with MOTs.  I may be a good runner, with a track record as long as my arm.  But. if I haven’t got the latest Wizco certificate, they make me feel as if I’ve joined the ranks of the unemployable.

They occasionally take me off the shelf, polish me up a bit, and invite everyone who is vaguely interested to take me for a test-drive (whoops, interview).

If I’m lucky, they then sell me to the highest bidder in exchange for as much commission as they can make.

If I’m not, then it’s back on the shelf…

When I’m working, I’m being driven as hard as possible.  After all, the buyer feels “I’ve been had – Suzie Smith had one half the price with only half as many miles on the clock”.  Their solution is to make me work hard – blow the quality, just look at how many lines of code they’ve made me write.

Then, when that buyer tires of me, it’s back onto the parking lot.  But, I hear you say, there’s a difference…  Yep, unlike cars, my value actually increases as I get older.  Granted, but I have to keep myself serviced, clean and up-to-date as well as garaged between contracts.

There is an alternative and I’m going to give you the idea free and without any restrictions.  Am I generous or what?

It’s for a new kind of agency – an agency that represents MY interests, an agency that is working on my behalf, an agency that cares.

Let’s imagine…

“Oh, this project is really enjoyable and the client really loves the code.  Can you find me something else?”

“Certainly, I’ve got two clients waiting who want to interview you.  I’ve told them that you’ve got another two weeks to go but they’ll wait.”  (Well, this is my story so I can do what I want!)


“Nothing around at the moment but I’ll give Jim a ring and see if he’s got the budget for his new project yet.”

All I really ask for is an agency that cares about me as an individual!

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Any Comments?

I'm really keen to hear what you think of this.  Please email any comments to: andy@tof.co.uk