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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Employment agencies - friend or foe



There’s no denying that the unemployed are having a hard time.  Let’s take Laura as an example.

She spent a considerable amount of time constructing the perfect resume and cover letter, surfed job sites for hours on end, and applied to positions of interest until she was blue in the face.

Some of those applications went out to organizations, some to employment agencies.  The result … a few times she was invited for an interview, but nothing came of it.  Agencies invited her to register with them if she wanted to be considered for upcoming opportunities.

When Laura visited the employment agencies, registration usually took about three hours.  First there was a profile to be created: name, address, contact information, etc.

Next there were a string of tests to do: MS-Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, plus a typing test.

Finally there was the interview. 

Every time Laura left the agency sure in the knowledge that it was only a matter of time before she went back to work.  While some people indeed find work through an employment agency, Laura didn’t.

Options Personnel

The first agency she ever registered with was Options Personnel.  Shortly after registration she was contacted for a three day temporary assignment.  On her way to the company she got struck by a car, nothing major, but enough to keep her from working that day.  She never heard from Options Personnel again.

Adecco

Laura also registered with Adecco.  Three months after registration she responded to an ad online, but was told that her consultant had left the agency.  If she wanted to be considered for future assignments she had to re-register.  Laura did.  Two months later she hadn’t heard from Adecco and called for an update.  Again she was told that her consultant had left the agency, if she wanted to be considered for future assignments she had to re-register.  All in all, Laura registered four time with Adecco.  She was never contacted.

Altis

Laura’s experiences with Altis are much like with Adecco’s.  She registered with the agency, her consultant left and she had to re-register.  She did so three times.

Hays

She registered with Hays about five months ago and hasn’t heard from them since.  She’s emailed her consultant several times and left him voice mail messages, all of which were ignored.

Randstad

Through Randstad, Laura met Michelle.  They were both placed with a laundry detergent company and were actively encouraged by their consultant to cheat on their time sheet, booking more hours than what they actually worked.  If they worked 500 hours, the company had to hire them.  Having no scruples, Michelle did so.  When she worked 35 hours she charged the company 40 hours, every single week.  Laura didn't and booked her hours honestly.  Randstad terminated Laura's assignment and never called her again.

Still, every day Laura scans the job sites and is encouraged when she sees agencies such as ZSA, Cartel, and Bilingual Source posting as much as ten jobs. 

When she registered with them, she was told that they had nothing at the moment. 

“What about all the ads?” she questioned.

“We had one job and ten consultants advertised,” she was told.  “In the meantime that position has been filled.”

Since that time, Laura has never been contacted by either ZSA, Cartel or Bilingual Source.  Questioning an employment agency is career suicide.  If a candidate asks questions, she's seen as a trouble maker.

Part of the reason Laura remains unemployed is that she has to put up with discrimination.  They say that discrimination is against the law, but organizations and agencies have found loopholes.

For instance, organizations can’t say that they’re looking for a young person, so they word it as “Junior assistant required”.

Those who give preference to a Chinese assistant word it as “Must be able to speak Mandarin”.

Is it any wonder that Laura slowly but surely is giving up hope?

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