Agency wanting too much information
Thread poster: Neil Greenough

Neil Greenough
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Spanish to English
Oct 28, 2015

Hi all.

I recently sent my CV to an agency in the UK and for them to proceed my interest, they require the below:

• Proof of Address( utility bill or last three months bank statement)
• Photo ID( passport or driving licence)
• Two photographs(passport size)
• Proof of National Insurance Number
• Residence or Work Permit
• Qualification Certificate(s)
• An up to date DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).

This agency does provide interpreter services to public sector such as the police and courts.

I have the above info available but I'm just reluctant to send it to a private company as I can't work out why they would require a photograph of me and copies of my bank statements.

Any thoughts? Is this normal practice?

Thanks


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:20
English to Polish
+ ...
... Oct 28, 2015

It looks reasonable from the pointt of view of the needs that agency covers, though some of the documents are quite redundant. On the other hand, it's not quite proportional to the information you receive from the agency or the reimbursement you receive for your trouble.

If I were in your shoes, I would inform the agency that the request were not wholly barred but stll not quite in the normal order of business, requiring some explanation and also specific assurance of actually giving you work. It's definitely too much prying and too much document-production hassle for a speculative negotiation.


 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not normal practice Oct 28, 2015

I've never been asked for any of those things and I do think it's excessive. Up to you what you decide to do, but I wouldn't provide any of that.

 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
TMI Oct 28, 2015

Neil Greenough wrote:
This agency does provide interpreter services to public sector such as the police and courts.

No, it's not normal. Unless you aim to interpret for the police or in court, I would cross them off your list and move on.

Regards
Dan


 

Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:20
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You should not send the data. This is too much to ask for. Unless, it is like Dan Lucas said. :/ Oct 29, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:

Neil Greenough wrote:
This agency does provide interpreter services to public sector such as the police and courts.

No, it's not normal. Unless you aim to interpret for the police or in court, I would cross them off your list and move on.

Regards
Dan


 

Christine Jonkers  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 05:20
Member (2011)
French to Dutch
+ ...
Usually agencies only ask you to sign their NDA or contract Oct 29, 2015

As a translator I have never been asked for any of the documents they ask you. Agencies usually want you to sign their contract and/or NDA, will ask for a VAT-number if you have one and occasionally (very rarely) ask for your diploma.

I do believe it would be fair to ask them why they want all that information, maybe they have a good explanation for it. If not, I would let them go. Companies don't need this information to receive your translations and invoices.

Christine


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
No agency is that important Oct 29, 2015

Neil Greenough wrote:
I can't work out why they would require a photograph of me and copies of my bank statements.

Neil, just to expand on my earlier comment, there are literally tens of thousands of agencies / outsourcers and the number of direct clients is probably an order of magnitude above that. This is not exaggeration: a search of ProZ.com's own Blue Board brings up a little more than 20,000 results, for example.

As a freelancer, if you have a dozen regular clients you will be busy and, if you choose them and your line of work wisely, you will be comfortable in economic terms also. Even assuming that only 10% of the 20,000 agencies and outsourcers mentioned above are worth dealing with, that leaves 2,000.

Which means that as a freelancer you only need to be working with less than 1% of them to be doing okay. And then there is the potential to work with direct clients. Compared to this, a single agency is nothing. Like so much of life it's a number game.

So if you find an agency making demands that seem excessively onerous, politely decline to go any further. No one agency has anything like the power to determine your future.

Regards
Dan


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2008)
Italian to English
This cuts both ways Oct 29, 2015

Neil Greenough wrote:

Hi all.

I recently sent my CV to an agency in the UK and for them to proceed my interest, they require the below:

• Proof of Address( utility bill or last three months bank statement)
• Photo ID( passport or driving licence)
• Two photographs(passport size)
• Proof of National Insurance Number
• Residence or Work Permit
• Qualification Certificate(s)
• An up to date DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).

This agency does provide interpreter services to public sector such as the police and courts.

I have the above info available but I'm just reluctant to send it to a private company as I can't work out why they would require a photograph of me and copies of my bank statements.

Any thoughts? Is this normal practice?

Thanks


This cuts both ways.

I suggest you write to them politely saying what you've said here: that you can provide the information requested, but that before doing so you would be grateful for their written replies to the following:

1. Why they require it
2. What systems and processes they have in place to safeguard this information
3. Evidence of their own good standing, e.g. Companies House registration etc.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No 4 for Tom's list Oct 29, 2015

4. Evidence of their ability to pay, i.e. their credit rating.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:20
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Keep your private and business identity separate as far as possible. Oct 29, 2015

My response to agencies asking for lots of information is that I do not send sensitive information to everyone who asks for it, without having agreed to take on work for them. Even then, I do not send personal information - utility bills, photos or whatever.

They do need your address, e-mail and phone number, of course, and bank details when you invoice them.

I send scans of my diplomas and my VAT number. (In the UK you have some kind of number, even if you don't have a VAT number - whatever you use to keep HMRC happy about your earnings.)

A summary of any relevant experience you have may be useful. Some call it a CV, but see all the blogs and forums about a freelancer's CV and an employee's being different...

In other words your qualifications to handle their job, in 'dead' PDF format that cannot be easily manipulated for identity theft, and a number they can check up to show you are a legitimate business.

But your private identity and utility bills are none of their business.

Christine Andersen
VAT no. DK 27093892


 

Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
No. 5 for Tom's List Oct 29, 2015

5. Evidence that they do actually provide interpreting services for the Public Sector.

It's unlikely to be a scam if it's a big agency with feedback on the blue board, but I think you'd be justified in asking that too.

It may be that they are submitting a tender, or that you'd be interpreting with children involved - this would all make a bit more sense then.

Oh and needless to say, you'd send your council tax bill not your bank statements - that's ridiculous.

[Edited at 2015-10-29 11:18 GMT]


 

Roni_S  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 23:20
Slovak to English
Standard? Oct 29, 2015

Is this the standard these days? My experience has recently been that agencies wanting altogether too much information also have a formidable adminstrative procedure and seem to offer the lowest rates. Not worth the effort, I think.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Updated list Oct 29, 2015

UPDATE

I suggest you write to them politely saying what you've said here: that you can provide the information requested, but that before doing so you would be grateful for their written replies to the following:

1. Why they require it
2. What systems and processes they have in place to safeguard this information
3. Evidence of their own good standing, e.g. Companies House registration etc.
4. Evidence of their ability to pay, i.e. their credit rating
5. Evidence that they do actually provide interpreting services for the Public Sector.


 

Andrea Muller  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
English to German
+ ...
DBS check for self-employed? Oct 29, 2015

I have heard of UK agencies asking for a DBS check, but I am not sure whether it is even possible to obtain a DBS when you are self-employed.

I thought that these checks are usually requested through the employer, or through an employment agency. Of course lots of them will then recover the cost of the check from the employee.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/disclosure-and-barring-service-criminal-record-checks-referrals-and-complaints


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:20
English to Polish
+ ...
... Oct 29, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

4. Evidence of their ability to pay, i.e. their credit rating.


Definitely.


 


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