Job agency hell

So… are recruitment agencies supposed to make you feel like shit after visiting them?

I had an appointment booked at 1pm – she was a no-show – one of the recruiters had no idea why I was even called in the office. By 1:25 asked to come back at 2PM or wait. I felt forced to buy sandwich, which could ill afford to kill some time. Two PM – still not there. Even took a call from another recruitment agency whilst I was waiting.

On the phone The woman came across as an air head – what about the gaps in my employment and some throw away comments that ‘some people didn’t need to work’ didn’t endear me to her. Needless to say any gaps in my employment are a very sensitive issue. I had to keep justifying being one of the 399 out of the 400 who didn’t get job X. Someone with an understanding of her own field should have been more sensitive herself. It transpired that her ulterior motive was that her client was an ex-recruitment (some exclusive club??), and
she was going to be asked how well she knew her clients. So it wasn’t for my benefit….
I’m not going to lie or spin about being unemployed though, am I?
I didn’t blame agencies for lack of jobs (just crap T&Cs) or myself, I’ve a strong CV – despite gaps in employment and doing the best that I can.

My spidey senses had a feeling that it wasn’t a role for me, and ideally I didn’t want to be on the front desk embarrassing myself that my clothes were ‘tired’ and beginning to get ‘too tight’ and had no suitable office shoes.

I was getting bottled up and the tears were welling. she told me I was coming across as being ‘aggressive’ ( who me?!!!) and she didn’t feel comfortable talking to me.
I felt insulted I’d had to wait for her for over an hour and didn’t like being stared at through her piggy little eyes. I felt hurt and defensive that I was unemployed and it was insinuated that I was doing something wrong… like what was I doing to find work – all I could – UJM, register with agencies, job alerts, newspapers,websites. Never worked in a shop i.e no retail experience on CV so can’t give out CV willy-nilly, going through a phone book is an utter waste of time)

I was advised
1) I shouldn’t apply for loads of jobs but a few….wonder what the DWP had to say on that score.
2) Apply for jobs that I wanted….. note that due to the economy they’re firing, not hiring in libraries/ museums/ archives sector.
3) I should work on a ‘positive attitude’ (fucking insult)
4) AS I was intelligent I should sent my CV to the universities to see if they had any jobs … oh yes they just magically find the funding for a job for me cos I sent my CV to them (clearly the woman was away with the fairies and no clue as to their recruitment!!)
5) Had I explained to the jobcentre ‘how I was feeling’ and take time out from job search….what about my JSA agreement, you think Iain Duncan Smith/ McVey gives a crap how I ‘feel’?? To her I was just some mad, psychotic bunny boiler without a job and blamed agencies for their misfortune.
6) Oh, and not to drag baggage from one agency if you haven’t heard any thing to them, as they weren’t to blame for the job situation – not as though they actually had any jobs on the books apart from this ‘receptionist’ job and a one month role down by the airport.
7) Don’t apply for a job – “just because it was a job” – clearly she’d led a charmed life, and ought to speak to the DWP

She’d phone me about the job in Speke, but it was only for a month – “so wasn’t worth me signing on and off the dole”. I spy.. yet another gap in my employment for me to lie about???

Yes she’s spoken to other people, who like me were ‘broken’ by the jobs market, but clearly she only wanted ‘winners’ on her books.

One of the agencies clients had popped her head around thee door earlier, she’s worked bank holidays over Easter and hadn’t been paid at all, never mind the time and a half and had only been paid £50..and had bills mounting, etc, etc. I wasn’t impressed by her treatment.

I called into another, well-known agency on the way home – they hadn’t any work – things were ‘a bit quiet’ but check their website for genuine vacancies. That’s what I wanted to hear and felt glad I popped my head around the door.

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I’m too accommodating..

So.. I get this email from Reed.

There was a temporary two week job going, paying the princely sum of £7.00/hr.
I need the money to support me through the first month of my new job.
I’m not entirely sure where abouts in this town the role is at – that awkwardly accessible industrial estate/ or UniLever (please!!please!!) and I’d have to cancel my blood test and have the hassle of signing on/off the dole and miss the charming company of my personal advisor – blurrrr!

Dutifully I replied to her e-mail with CV attached as requested (the dumbed down one without mention of the art degree)…and bigged up my MS-Office skills, not sure how advanced they needed to be (I’ve never used pivot tables outside doing the ECDL).

Four hours later….. not a follow up…not a peep.

Looks like I had my hopes raised and dashed-again.. or some other bastard more closely matched the employers criteria – my least favourite phrase of being unemployed.

Job Agency Registration

So.. the last time I was at this agency was last August, a month before my last contract finished.That’s an hour and a half of my life I won’t be getting back. So I was back again, to re-register with this bright bubbly young thing.
I never got any work from the agency, despite applying to them via internet on more than one occasion. They never even sent me the online test I had to do, despite me following this up. Now it turns out that they’d lost my file and I was forced to re- register – not what you’d expect from a blue chip company,eh? Fills you with confidence,not.
I had to once again go over the last two years of my employment – or lack of there of. I’d been through this with the bank interview on monday. I’d rather be putting distance between these jobs, if it’s all the same to everyone – five shitty job,only eleven months of work.It’s the economy,stupid.

Why is this a reflection on me? Is this all I’m capable of attracting? My ‘ previous experience’ running round in the same, ever decreasing circles, because no one trains anyone up anymore in something else or is too f***ing thick to see your potential.

I did get the online test sent to me with the ominous title of ‘PROVE-IT’. Despite getting the ECDL in 2005, I’ve not run macros nor done any mail merging since. I found the program clunky. As for the typing -I’m not a typist – copy typing for me is a nightmare- but I put that down to my astigmatism. I didn’t even type out the first two paragraphs in the five minutes (the typing screen was Soooo tiny!). No idea how I scored in the test. Hardly a real world experience.

Oh, As for the Medical Record Clerk job I was hoping to apply for..that went to another candidate before I even got there…. what a bummer.

Bad Manners

So… I got an e-mail to phone about an admin vacancy I’d been short listed for. Given the amount of jobs I apply for this one didn’t stand out, nor did the company/agency ring any bells.
A young lad with a strong local answered the phone, and informed me Mr x was very busy (you could almost visualise the nonverbal language across the desk – get rid of her).
So I was fobbed off – I was requested to send in my updated CV – not that anything had happened over the last five months.
And I waited and waited for them to call back….and waited….
Good job I’d cancelled the vets appointment (because of the weather) and by five PM guessed they were taking the piss.

Now if I’d have done that…I’d be unprofessional, a poor organiser, unable to prioritise my work.
As a mere unemployed person you just don’t get any respect.

Is my CV getting through? -The signal and the noise

Career Choices? It’s not what I want to do (be an archivist), but what jobs are actually out there that I can apply for…if like me you’re an introvert, suffering from depression, or have no support system in place its bloody hard out there.

I hate advice from the media like, if you’ve just lost your job apply for something temporary,as a stopgap. Actually it’s those stopgap jobs that the bun fights are all about…something like 700 applicants to work in a coffee shop wasn’t there?

I applied for an admin job yesterday. I modified my Cv and wrote a covering letter how I met the criteria. Being at a local language centre and me not doing French (got grade D at O level) since the early 80’s (no Channel Tunnel and fat chance of going abroad) didn’t seem to matter as my application was put forward by the local University Careers service by,as it happens, their top bod. SO, me thinks if I can come up with a good case for applying, what happened to the 200+ other applications that never saw the light of day?

The job itself pays £6:50/hr for monday to Friday 9-5 , hardly a dream graduate career with a pension and prospects, but just about covers my minimum credit card payments ( a girl’s gotta eat and feed her soul with books). Least it’s not shift work and reasonably easy to travel to.
I await for a call to interview..or not as the case may be.

Like most people I identify myself in terms of what I do for a living. So next time a job application form wants to know the wages in my last job think this..its not what I earned, it’s what my employers were prepared to pay for my services (and they’d get away with paying a darn site less if it wasn’t for the national minimum wage).
Turn the onus on them – you are worth more than NMW.

Despite 3+years of archiving experience (I have no way of funding a postgrad qualification), not a sniff at an interview via a Law jobs agency for a recent legal archives job. They phoned one day, a while back, as I’d applied so many times that they basically said ‘don’t call us,we’ll call you’ and as a parting shot we only take experienced people.
So why belittle what experience I do have then? I’m born to file/archive.
Staff in law firms aren’t the most well paid or valued. I was treated like poo working at the Courts Service, the bitch from hell manager only getting off my back the day I handed in my notice – and that was the best month I had working there – I just got on with my job, no hassle, no criticism or being reduced to a snivelling,snot gobbling wreck with the confidence of a may fly.

Been ‘invited’ to a jobs fair by the jobcentre. That’s about as subtle as a man-trap. If I can’t go no doubt I’ll be sanctioned. Don’t really know the area where the jobs fair is held, so all the hassle of sorting out my travel for my appointed slot.
Those of us in the know about Jobs Fairs, know it’s a day out for the marketing department. Thanks to mobile phones we know already there aren’t any jobs on their company website….
When my ex graduated in 1986 we went to a graduates fare in Manchester. One person sat down at the stall and they asked him/her what class of degree that they had. They were, like myself, the first in the family to go to University and they’d got a third. The person was then treated like they had bubonic plague and asked to step away from the marketing stand.

At a graduate job boot camp I attended, one of the guys gave his thoughts on job fairs…. “you spend ten minutes looking around, and twenty minutes quietly weeping outside”.