I dealt with a recruiter today who is wanting to represent me for a Birmingham client. He had my CV already, and I reminded him I was still available, and he thus undertook to send my CV on.
He says that as part of the recruitment process for all roles going through his agency, contractors will get a telephone interview, and then a trial first day. This means that if both parties agree to go forward after the initial conversation, the first day becomes something like an extended interview.
That means that if both parties are happy with the arrangement at the close of business on that day, the contractor will get paid for it, and a mutual agreement is made to see out the remaining length of the contract. If however, one or the other side is not happy, both parties walk away, and the contractor is unpaid. I expect that since contractors are unlikely to want to quit, this policy is ultimately put in place for the client.
I suppose I could envisage this happening in rare cases, but it has not been spelled out so explicitly to me before, and sounds like the kind of hard-nosed practice that gets recruiters a bad name. Is this normal in the industry? I can see how it is used as an insurance policy against bad contractors, but it still makes me a bit nervous.
For what it’s worth, I am not too worried about my technical skills; I am more concerned about the slow creeping of practices designed to avoid paying workers. I am wary also of agreeing to terms that feel like an unequal power dynamic, in case that gives the impression the eager contractor will agree to anything just to get some work.