Job agencies: A story of fail.
I’ve never been a fan of agencies. Most of the time you spend there is completely wasted, as the consultant you may or may not ever meet scrabbles desperately to find your information. Most of the time I get the impression that, as glorified HR salespeople, they’re not up to the job. Thursday’s adventure just reaffirmed that impression. Being in a confident mood and armed with a bag of CVs, I went to five or six agencies to apply for jobs. Two incidents are particularly memorable:
Reed, a company that literally doesn’t want to meet you. I could only speak to the receptionist, a pretty clueless-acting and slightly posh young woman of about 20.
“I noticed a couple of jobs in your window that look interesting and I’d love to make some applications”
“Ooo..K. Have you got a CV on you?”
I hand over my CV, which lists a great number of IT-related skills and experience, and some brief but important details of admin and office tasks. It’s pretty fat, to be honest.
“So you’re working in admin at the moment?”
“Well, my last job title was ‘Support Supervisor’, and it involved some admin, but mostly I was working on their network upgrade and getting their new software together”
I see her scrawl the word “Admin” above the section on IT training and documentation.
“So you’re not working at the moment?”
“Well I’m temping for Homebase, entering and checking orders, doing reports, you know”
She writes “entering bookings, reports”.
“I can’t sign you up now, because that’ll take about an hour and none of the consultants are around at the moment, but we can give you a call next week?”
Whatever. All I really expect is to be able to meet with somebody who’s in touch with people looking for staff. But before you can even get that far, you have to summarise your skills, experience, and what you can bring to a company into a few sentences, which are briefly noted by a receptionist who clearly couldn’t give a damn.
Still, it least I got to meet the receptionist. Pertemps, just down the road, didn’t even give me that privilege. A few tempting looking temporary jobs were listed in their window, along the lines of product support and office co-ordinator for various local firms. A tiny Post-It note stuck to the front door told me to “press buzzer to right for entry”. I looked inside to see the receptionist speak into a microphone:
“Uh, hi. I’d like to apply for a couple of the jobs in the window”
“Well, there’s one for an office co-ordinator for the local council, I’ve done that kind of work before”
“Do you have experience?”
“Well, yes, several years in fact”
I’m still speaking into the intercom. I’m being interviewed through a door.
She rummages through some papers on her desk and gets up. She then opens the letter flap in the door and passes me a business card. I take it, and see it’s an old card that’s been modified with a biro. Before I can look up ask what to do with it, she’s back at her desk. The intercom crackles back to life.
“You have to send your CV to the address”
“No problem. I have one here, maybe I can show it to a consultant?”
“They’re busy. You must email it to the system”
“OK, speak to you soon”
I stand paralysed on the spot, trying to shake off the suspicion that at some point I’ve walked through a looking glass, or crossed into a bizarre circle of hell. I seriously had to go over to a nearby bench, roll a cigarette, and have a sit down to go over what I’d just experienced.