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Non compete prior to knowing the client?

I have had a spirited debate with some contractor acquaintances over the following agreement.

Basically, the contract agency/broker would not disclose the identity of the client that they wanted to submit me to w/o my signature on the following pile of dreck.

My contention is that only an idiot would sign a piece of paper without knowing who the subject of the agreement is.

I know the job & contract market are rough, but I let this one go, to the tune of some acquaintances tsk-tsking my obviously poor judgement.


This is an agreement entered into as of the 7/23/2004 between Obviously Curried Web, Inc., referred to as OCWI, an Ohio based company with it’s principle place of business at 1183 E Screwems Road, Dacron, Ohio 45499 and Bored Bystander, residing at Contractor Address, hereby referred to as Contractor.

OCWI agrees to submit Bored Bystander to its client company. Upon the establishment of an interview (phone, face to face, video, or other) the Contractor agrees that they will represent themselves as an associate of Curried Web, Inc. and will not represent themselves as an independent associate nor to be represented by an affiliated company of Contractor or another firm doing, or seeking to do business with Interviewing Manager/Division for a period of 1 year after establishment and/or completion of an initial interview. This agreement will not apply to any full time position taken with the client company. 

Contractor agrees that it will not provide any compensation information, contract negotiations or otherwise information that could be harmful to the OCWI and OCWI’s end client relationship. Nor will the Contractor provide any service to OCWI end client to which it has been introduced. For purposes of this paragraph the term “client” implies any location, division or group to which Contractor has been introduced.

--- etc etc

Bored Bystander
Friday, July 23, 2004

And FYI, here is the response of the crooter to my refusal to sign as is, typically as all recruiters do - elevating their moral position to a level with The Almighty, and insulting and condescending in that it makes me seem defective to even articulate an objection:


... it is standard policy whether you are an independent or sub contractor that we do not release the name of our clients without a signed Interview Agreement in place.  We understand that you are in business for yourself, and that you would not be able to turn over this client with a single meeting. But it still remains that our contracts are in place to protect OCWI's reputation and relationship with our clients.  I have never had an Independent Contractor have a problem with this part of our contract in the past, so it is a bit of a surprise to hear that this is an issue for you.

Bored Bystander
Friday, July 23, 2004

All these weasel words mean is that they want their comission for steering you to the client. Worry not, grasshopper.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Anything that is "standard" that "no one else has an issue" with _always_ causes me to worry.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The only phrase which bothers me is "Nor will the Contractor provide any service to OCWI end client to which it has been introduced. " There's no time limit to this - most probably would be short lived in court, but that doesn't make it right.

When brokers don't want to disclose their client's name, I just tell them I have submitted my resume to a bunch of other places through other brokers - most probably a true statement - and therefore we risk to be disqualified due to multiple representation. If they still refuse to disclose their client's name, then that's a good indication something's not kosher or they're just a bunch of idiots. Either way, it's time to say goodbye.

The brokers I work with do not have a problem telling me who their client is.

Friday, July 23, 2004

They really expect that agreement to hold up in court, when the only consideration they are giving is an *interview*?

T. Norman
Friday, July 23, 2004

First, accolades to BB for posting teh actual text. This is so helpful to see what we are talking about.

Agreed that this particular one looks pretty standard and not much of a problem - they do need you to sign a commision agreement before the intro.

I'd ask for the definition of 'introduced' to be clarified, and also to put a time limit on it. Maybe specify that its only the particular location of the firm they introduce you to that stuff applies to.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, July 23, 2004

I can see your issues, but I can also understand how the company wants to protect their best interest. If they introduce you to the client before you sign this contract, you can make a separate bid.
Friday, July 23, 2004

The problem is that the recruiter requires the candidate to surrender something without any definite compensation.

The undertaking the recruiter is imposing is similar to that imposed on an employee, but clearly the candidate is not receiving the benefits of an employee at this stage and might never do so.

The worst thing is that this contract just makes explicit something that happens anyway. Even if the candidate doesn't sign something like this, the recruiter still applies this restriction via a contract with the employer. The candidate has no say in this. It is wrong.

In this particular case, it's likely the employer refused to sign the recruiter's restrictive contract, and hence the recruiter is trying to make the candidate sign something that will be rougly equivalent.

Recruiters prefer that it's the employer they lock up, because employers don't fight threats of lawsuits from recruiters, and they can easily find a new candidate.

Inside Job
Friday, July 23, 2004

The impression I got was that this "bork" (broker) agency was absolutely non negotiable as to non compete terms. The contract was such a pile of crap that my attitude was basically f'em.

Re: protection of their interest in the client, I have dealt with many agencies that do identify the client before demanding a signature.  As pointed out, this is an unfair demand because you may be disqualifying yourself from a company that you were going to approach anyway.

I'm not asking the agency to extend unwarranted trust. But the agency's position seems to be that they automatically distrust the candidate or they feel that their position with the client is so weak that they feel that the opportunity could be stolen easily.

In either case, I had no interest in dealing with them.

Bored Bystander
Friday, July 23, 2004

The thing to keep in mind is that all recruiters are weasels at heart. If they were good upstanding people, they'd have jobs that actually produced something, rather than spending their days pestering HR managers with resumes that have the names blacked out.

In truth, there probably are recruiters out there who aren't weasels.  I just haven't had any professional dealings with them. Fortunately, we keep a cat that aces weasels in her spare time, so I don't have to deal with the normal variety of recruiter either.

Clay Dowling
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Oh, my favorite weasel dealing with job placement  agencies goes like this....

CompanyA hires some people through AgencyM (including PersonX). AgencyN finds out when they contact one of the people that had been hired to offer them another interview. That person tells them that they were hired by CompanyA thru AgencyM. AgencyN flips out and has a mismanager go to CompanyA to tell them that they should be paying the commission to AgencyN, not AgencyM; even though the job that PersonX is doing has nothing to do with the resume that AgencyN sent in 8 months prior. Attorneys for CompanyA say "not to fight it, this is what we can do..."

3 (or was it 6) months later, the tail on the contract for PersonX expires, so he is hired to work at CompanyA. AgencyN is not notified, since they no longer get a big commission if PersonX is hired directly. Over the next 2 months, when there are layoffs, people hired through AgencyN are let go ahead of anyone else. When the last person represented by AgencyN departs, AgencyN is notified that they will never be getting business from CompanyA again, so they should stop calling and sending resumes. Heads roll at AgencyN, but one shortsighted mismanager blew more than $100k/year in fees with a company over job placement. too bad.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Awesome. Speak quietly & carry a big stick. And just take your business somewhere else.
Sunday, July 25, 2004

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