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I have tried most of them in my time, having had several periods of unemployment, and I cannot say I've ever encountered one I could trust.
They all come at you as the best, most caring, compassionate answer to your job-hunting prayers, and they are completely free to boot. Which ought to start alarm-bells ringing in these money-grubbing times. Of course they're free - to you, because you, the job-seeker (as we are expected to refer to ourselves now) are the fodder. The client is charged, though, and quite heavily, for your services, whereas you are paid at the minimum of - what is it now, following the latest Brownian orgasm of glad-handouts : £4.20 an hour? Agencies charge an average of £7.50 for you. Which most employers would rather pay than take you on full-time at £7 : because they can dump a temp in a moment, whereas there is all that tedious form-filling to do if they drop a full-time employee.
But back to the honesty bit : our local agency, Premier, is not by any means the worst agency I've used. But they play the same game : they advertise jobs in their window which don't actually exist ("Ah! Bugger! That job just went ; but do sit down, we have all sorts of....") ; or which used to, but don't any more ("Well, that's sort of an example of the type of exciting jobs we have, now if you'll just....").
Most job-hunters want a job, not a temping gig ; but most jobs offered by agencies are temporary, because that is how they earn their money. I went to an interview a couple of years ago at Back-Up (the worst payers in the region : £3.80 / hour is average), and they quite breezily admitted that their earnings from temps amounted to 93% of their total revenue. So don't expect agencies to exert themselves for you, unless you want to be a temp. And not even then, unless they can place you swiftly. They work for their clients, not for you, and nothing at all wrong with that, provided you understand that going in ; but most first-time users don't.
A way to get good service is to try and charm your contact. Premier tried really hard for me in 1999, because the consultant allocated to me used to work for me, fleetingly, in the late nineties, and she felt a sense of obligation, I think. It didn't survive my second rejection, but she did try, and unless you can get your consultant to care about you, you remain fodder.
And don't believe the hype : their windows are full of jobs, or rather, 'jobs', because they are mostly bogus. There is a recruitment agencies' code of conduct, prohibiting making up vacancies which do not exist, but like most of these codes these days, it is voluntary, so....
In Premiere's (I've just remembered, they spell it 'Premiere') window, you can regularly see jobs advertised that seem to remain there for months, which you might well feel is a poor advertisement for their services, but they keep them there just to tempt you inside,. Rather like the houses for sale in the the Estate Agent's, which say 'recently sold', or 'just one of the many properties in our portfolio'...
Incidentally, the spelling in the job-ads at Premiere is atrocious, and occasionally hilarious : I got a fit of the giggles at one recently, which contained howlers of the 'good secratarial skilles, atenion to dtail', etc. type. I felt like applying on the basis that my 'secratariel skilles woz at leest az good as them of the sub-literate who'd posted the ad.
But irony is lost on these people. Use them if you must ; but with caution.
Bah Humbug! Funny op though. I guess I won't go to any lengths to get with these guys.
pagan 03.07.2001 15:46
A helpful and funny opinion!
stoolie74 29.06.2001 22:02
Very helpful and very funny, great op! I must say, though I do not agree with some of your points, I have worked for some pretty reasonable agencies before. they are money-grabbers, it is true, but if you apply with that in mind, there isn't much left to surprise you!