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Looking for a new job can be a stressful time
It usually involves lying and cheating:
Pleb: Can I leave at 4pm today? Boss man: Why? Pleb: Oh, I have a dental appointment Boss man: Okay, you can make it up in your lunch hours
Trying to hold you tongue when asked very difficult questions:
Q: So, why do you want to leave your current job? A: Shut your face you nosey git B: My new manager is a total knob C: I'm looking for a new challenge and broader experience
And the inevitable crap leaving present.
Escapee: Oh, a briefcase. That's erm...nice. Prisoners: Well, y'know, swanky new highflying job and all that.
When you have all this to contend with the last thing you need is to be dealing with an ineffectual and inefficient employment agency. With this in mind the last time I went job hunting I only signed up with specialist, well known establishments, under the impression that they would be able to provide the most professional service.
One of these agencies was Hay's Accountancy Personnel, part of the enormous Hays group. They claim to be the largest specialist accountancy agency in the country and at least market leaders in their other divisions. Frankly, the mind boggles how they managed this.
Anyone who has ever dealt with an agency will know that they always want you to come in for an interview before they start searching for you. My first visit to Hays was a catalogue of disasters, not all Hay's fault.
To begin with I had new shoes on and had had to walk quite a distance across town to get to their offices resulting in bleeding blisters on the back of my feet. I had been asked if I was a racist during an interview at a Chinese accountancy practice earlier that day (then they offered me the job). It was tipping it down with rain and I only had a thin coat on and I had run out of change for the parking meter resulting in having only one hour until I ran the risk of having my car clamped.
So on a very wet, miserable June afternoon a very wet, miserable Michelle walked into the offices of Hays Accountancy Personnel.
I made myself known to the receptionist who gave me a form to fill in:
Me: I've already had one of these. I sent it to the consultant. Receptionist: Well, can you just fill it in again? Me: Why? Receptionist: Give you something to do while your waiting.
Hmmm, not a good sign, am I going to be waiting that long? Surely not. So I sit down and ignore the form, five minutes later I am bored so I fill out the form. Ten minutes later I am very bored so I draw pictures on the form. Fifteen minutes later I am bored and annoyed so I draw pictures of recruitment consultants being tortured on the form.
I figured they had forgotten about me so I go back to reception. She promises to chase it up and takes the form from me (I've scribbled out the pictures). A couple of minutes later I am taken to a little interview room. 'Great' I think, 'now were getting somewhere.' I catch site of myself in the mirror and note what a state I look, just time to brush my hair and tidy myself up I thought.
Twenty minutes later I'm still waiting, I'm quite angry, rather hungry and ready to leave. Just as I'm about the break all the office furniture and stomp off in the direction of a Chinese takeaway an annoyingly cheerful blonde ball bounces into the room:
Ball: Oh, sorry I took so long, you know how it is! Me: I think I do (very well concealed rage) Ball: Lets get on then.
Agency interviews are mostly about fleshing out your CV and getting a good idea I what kind of direction your looking to move in. You should leave this meeting with confidence in your consultant and the work they will do for you.
Consultant: So, what software have you worked with? Me: Erm, Microsoft office, Sage, blah, blah, blah and some bespoke systems Consultant: Is that an industry system? Me: Pardon? Consultant: I that like Sage for industry? Me: No, it's what they call systems written specifically for a company. Consultant: Oh, silly me, I don't know any of these technical terms! Me: Really?
The consultant went onto to tell me that she knew nothing about accountancy, she'd never worked in finance, her degree was in media studies and all this number stuff was gobbledegook to her. So, how exactly can I have confidence in her to find me the right job when she doesn't understand what the jobs will involve, what experience I will need or what I hope to gain. I left the office two hours later, still annoyed but clinging to the notion that they were a professional company and the must know what they're doing.
I had specifically told them that I wasn't interested in any kind of sales, sales ledger or credit control work. I told them that I wasn't interested in any position that didn't offer study support. Out of the four positions they offered to put me forward for three were in credit control and two didn't offer study support.
Them: Hi, we just thought you'd like to know about a great sales administrator position we have. Me: Well I'm not really interested in working in sales. Them: You do have a gap in your CV so we thought we'd ask Me: I'm working towards a professional qualification I really don't think I need any more administration experience, especially not in sales. Them: Oh, the position doesn't offer study support so you won't need to study. Me: I don't think so.
While dealing with them they never once offered me anything I was remotely interested in. They were difficult to get hold of on the phone and they never returned my calls. They never put me forward for any of the positions I enquired about from their website event though they said they would.
Overall I found their service inefficient. They didn't listen or do what I wanted and that annoys me.
Maybe its just the Birmingham office, maybe I got the thin end of a good wedge, maybe what happened to me was unique. They're never going to get the chance to prove me wrong.
If you're feeling masochistic then their website is www.haysworks.co.uk
Very similar to the expereience I have had in the Brighton branch, only you wrote about it is a far funnier way than i could have !!
Klara13 31.10.2002 14:38
oh dear poor you, when you get a bad day it’s like a firework display, makes you wonder how some of these people get their jobs and why.
averagepunter 29.10.2002 10:57
I can certainly relate to your experiences, although all agencies have good and bad consultants. In contrast, I have actually found my recent experiences with Hays to be quite good. Win Some, Lose some, I guess.