Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Universal Jobmatch:- Day Two- Dem Agency Blues!

So after yesterdays non publicised launch of the UJ system, and my decidedly "middle of the road" first impression of it ,I decided to do my daily jobsearch using the sites "basic" facilities (nope, sorry DWP/Monster Worldwide, I wont be giving you my details to sell on).

As I said yesterday, the sites search engine is a lot more user friendly than the previous one used by Direct.gov, however I can see where novice computer users would get confused and/or frustrated by it, and funnily enough, you cannot give site feedback until you have set up a "full" account......oh well.

So, one of the common gripes I have from jobsearch is usually down to employment agency vacancies, or more specifically due to the following:

  • Advertised vacancies do not actually exist
  • Advertised vacancies being vague and/or evasive
  • Incorrect or missing contact information
  • Agencies themselves not existing and the vacancy is a scam to collect personal information

The JCP do not appear to vet any of the entries made on the "official" JCP jobsearch facilities, or at least they didn't prior to the launch of the UJ system, whether Monster will vet posted vacancies is yet to be seen, but judging from some of the shit that i've seen posted on monster.co.uk, its highly doubtful.

Anyways, returning to the main focus of today's exersise , I eventually found four jobs to apply for, the first one was direct with an employer (surprising), and the remaining three were agencies.

  1. "Customer service advisor" through the Spring agency. Contact details given were a name, a phone number and an email address. I called up as Spring already have my CV on file, as I have applied for at least half a dozen vacancies with them this past month, and after a short conversation, it turns out that the vacancy has been filled. Oh well, never mind and all that.
  2. "Administrator" via Jobs4Network. Simply requested that a CV be emailed to them along with a cover letter. Done and dusted in less than 5 minute, jobs a good un! (or not, probably, being as that over the past year ive applied for at least 65 vacancies through this site and have yet to receive any kind of response from them)
  3. "Customer service Advisor" via Travail Employment Group , contact details gave a name, email address and telephone number. As with Spring, Travail have my CV already, so thus I decided to call them direct and enquire further about the job, and that's where things went south...
I will point out that I don't care if Travail don't like negative publicity, because I am going to name and shame here where possible, because today's 7 minute conversation with one of their "employees" goes to further demonstrate exactly why I believe that there should be some kind of official recourse for applicants to have agencies brought to task over discriminatory, deceitful and in some cases, illegal activities.

The branch I called was the Doncaster branch, which is listed on their website at the following address:

15 East Laith Gate,
South Yorkshire
01302 363811(Google street level entry here)

The vacancy, like all the ones they list, requests that you ask for "Carol Buzzard", so when the phone was answered, that's who I asked for, however I was never put through to this person, instead, I spent the next seven minutes talking to a woman who refused to give her name, but over the course of the phone call told me no less than three times that she had worked for Travail for 15 years (whoopee doo!).

After explaining to "15 years" that I was interested in applying for the position, and that Travail already had my current CV on file, she began a rather strange line of questioning, firstly asking if I was registered with them, to which I replied in the affirmative, before she then went into a long monologue about how I would need to come in to see them so they could assess my "personal suitability" to work for the clients that they deal with. I asked what this meant, and was refused a clarification, so I ventured that it was some sort of psychological profiling, which was immediately sidestepped in favour of a line of questioning with regards to my recent work history.
I explained to her that I had not had a job for nearly two years, and that the first year was due to me being unable to work due to long term illness, to which "15 years" asked what was the exact nature of my illness.
Sorry, but that is between me and my GP, all they need to know is that I am now healthy and fit, able and more importantly, willing to work.
"15 years" then said the following, and I quote:

"Well, you're not doing yourself any favours, I mean, as you are unemployed, you have a lot of time on your hands, and you should be using that time to actively look for work"

I asked what that was supposed to mean, and the reply was that "in her opinion", I was obviously not applying for anything, so I asked her how, on the basis of our short conversation, she had arrived at this rather insulting conclusion, and "15 years" had no comeback to this, and, I got the distinct impression that she knew she had she had fucked up, being as that her speech suddenly became stuttery, and when asked for her name, she refused to give it, she then hung up.

To be honest, this sort of shit happens far too often when it comes to agencies, not only to me but to many people whom I know. Discrimination is rife within the employment agency industry, and the whole "I've got a job, why haven't you?" attitude is taken to a whole new and disgustingly too tolerated level.
Todays example, courtesy of Travail (moar liek TraFAIL), is a classic example of someone who has got their feet well and truly under the table and believes themselves to be untouchable, and also serves as a classic example of the poor standards of customer service and best practice employed by these agencies, who, and lets be honest here, are just another part of the "commission culture" that has led us to the place that we are in now. 

If there is one feature I would actually support being added to the UJ system, it should be a facility to provide feedback about employers who have advertised vacancies, for example, would something like this be too much to ask for?:

Q1 - Did the employer respond to say they had received your application?
Q2 - Did the employer contact you to arrange an interview?
Q3 - Did the employer provide any feedback if your application was unsuccessful?
Q4 - Rate your experience with this employer out of 5
Q5 -Do you have any comments about your experience?

That way, if an employer/advertiser receives a poor level of feedback, their vacancies can be flagged for vetting by DWP/JCP staff, and thus not waste peoples time applying for positions from employers or agencies who have a poor record of service.

Will it happen though?, probably not, cos you know, that'd actually be useful and allow people to feel like they are being treated like human beings.


  1. I was told a few years back by Reed, they had moved offices and lost my cv, thats fine i understand that can happen.. But then the adviser said oh sorry we dont want you on our books as there is no chance of you getting a job.. this was said to my face in a public office.

    1. Yeah, its an all too typical occurrence in employment agencies, basically, what they are saying was that having looked at your CV, for whatever reason (usually something to do with your work history, lack of it or number of temp jobs had in the past)means that the advisors might have to actually do something resembling hard work in order to secure some sort of placement for you. As we all know, agencies are "hard sell" sales target driven environments, and as such anything that requires extra effort to achieve and doesn't offer a "quick fix" solution is rejected. I'm in a similar situation where in between having "proper" jobs I have taken several temp jobs in order to make ends meet, the end product of this is that my work history is as long as your arm, with many varied jobs spanning back to 1997. Rather than being seen as having a lot of experience and a testament to my ability to quickly adapt and learn to new positions on a short term basis, 99% of agency staff see me as being "unreliable" and "disloyal"...its stupid

  2. and this is why i don't like agencies on a whole. i have never dealt with a curtious and polite agency; they are all short answered and invasive in their questioning. i suggest you complain bitterly to your job centre; or are they closing those down too?

  3. Well from a contact i have in the dwp. She has said 30,000 job centre staff are worried about their jobs, call centre staff due to computerised jobs match, i can see a time when advisers are replaced by computers, signing on automated, you only get called in when there is a doubt or they want to check you out. cheaper than hiring people or even get people to work for free at the jobcentre in workfare.