So I had my interview with the Ministry today. I think it went well. I won't know for a couple weeks if I got it or not.
I realized once there, that I had interviewed with the same two people, for the same position back in 2006 at the beginning of the project. Obviously, I didn't get the job then. I don't know if they remembered me. I didn't mention it to them.
I am still a bit concerned about the agency that submitted me for the job. Here is the back story.
Job ad is placed on Craigslist - not the usual place I seek work but anyway, I answer the ad and get called by company ABC (not real name:)).
They provide all the specs for the job and say they think I am a good fit. I say ok submit me to the Ministry. Couple days go by, company ABC calls and says I have an interview in a few days.
Day before interview, I am still awaiting interview details. I finally get a hold of recruiter at 6:30pm the night before the interview. He send me a contract to sign. I don't sign contracts unless I have a job offer. He wants me to sign a contract with his company before I interview.
The way the contract is written is that I work for ABC company from Mar 19. 2009. No end date. No client name. No way for me to terminate the contract. And all this for the crappy rate I accepted because the Ministry job is longterm and close to home. I explain to the recruiter that if I sign this contract, and I don't get offered the job at the Ministry, then I am still obligated to them (ABC) whenever they decide they need me. He says yes...he doesn't see a problem with this.
Note: Also in the contract is the company address which turns out to be a house in the next town over. He works out of his home office. This is a one man show. He's only been in business for 2 years.
I refuse to sign a contract until the job at the Ministry is offered to me, and only then will I sign a contract for that client for that amount of time. He finally agrees and sends me the interview details, which I haven't yet received. It is now 8pm the night before my interview and I am just now finding out where I am going and whom I am meeting. At the end of the email with the details, he writes..."Don't forget to mention you are from company XYZ."
WTF?! who is company XYZ?
I don't bother calling him back because I am tired of trying to make sense of what he is saying. I go to the interview today. The project sounds very interesting and challenging. I felt it went well.
I called him afterwards to let him know how it went and asked who XYZ was. Well XYZ is the vendor able to submit to the Ministry. They hired company ABC to find a writer. Are you following this?
Now in my business, this is something you disclose up front. The did not do that. This is very fishy to me.
The way it will work, if I get offered the job, is: Ministry will pay XYZ, XYZ will pay ABC, ABC will then pay me. Both XYZ & ABC will also take a cut of what they charge the Ministry before paying me. It is becoming clear why my rate is so low.
The way it usually works is if a consultant (me) charges $10 per hour (obviously not real amounts) then the agency charges the client $13 per hour and keeps $3 for themselves. In this case I will get $10 per hour, XYZ will get $5 per hour and ABC will get $5 per hour. I can tell from how low my rate is that they are gouging (taking too high a cut), and it is worse because they are both taking a cut.
I cannot accept this job without dealing with these 2 companies now. It would be professional suicide on my part to try to approach the Ministry independently since XYZ (ABC) submitted me.
I look up company XYZ. I have never heard of them before either and I am familiar with a LOT of agencies. There is nothing online about them except their website. Apparently, no one else has heard of them either. They have also been in business 2 yrs.
I will have to wait and see if I am offered the job, but if I am, I am definitely asking for more money.
Finally the last thing that concerns me is, the payment schedule. I am to invoice ABC at the end of each month. They then have 15 days to pay me. So I could work for 45 days and have them skip out and not pay me. It will also look unprofessional to the Ministry if I stop working because I am not being paid.
It would be so much easier if I could just win the lottery. Super 7 is 17 million tomorrow night...we have tickets. :)