When you have been searching for a job for as long as I have (9 months and counting!), you get used to agencies. At first, you think they can be nothing but helpful. But soon, you learn that agencies are an utter waste of your time.
I have only had one interview for a job via an agency, and that was for an admin assistant where the headteacher sneered at me and couldn’t understand why someone with my level of education wanted the job. Um, for the absolutely ridiculous £18k salary, please!
All my other job interviews I snagged through applying to the company directly.
Alas, I’d say something like 75% of advertised jobs are through an agency. So now you have two people to impress; the agency worker, and then the company themselves. I don’t think (aside from that one anomaly) that any of my agency applications have been accepted. I either get ignored or am told that I ‘didn’t meet the client’s specific requirements’ – this enrages me more than anything because I only ever apply for jobs I can actually do: when I apply for the same jobs direct, I’ve been given interviews. But through an agency? Not a chance in hell, mate. And it’s so ridiculous because, unless they are an agency specialising in a particular area, they probably know less about the industry than you do. So actually, I think I do know if I can do the job and meet the requirements, thanks. And if there are more requirements, bloody advertise them!
One of my main problems with going through agencies is you don’t know what company you’re applying to work for. This is pretty silly – there are lots of companies I wouldn’t want to work for. I recently saw an opening working for The Vegan Society – I didn’t apply because I couldn’t market that way of life with a straight face! (mmmm cheese *drools*)
The interview I got through an agency told me who the company was before I applied, so this made writing my cover letter a breeze; it was for a performing arts school, so I could write about my own drama training and passion for the theatre and really sell myself; I have done the same with direct applications.
Another problem with this is that you are only ever given a very vague area; Warwickshire is a HUGE place, in case you hadn’t heard! I can’t really get to Nuneaton or Warwick, but I CAN get to Coventry and Stratford. Specify the town, please.
When I started out on my job seeking journey, my parents nagged and nagged at me to sign up with agencies. I was very, very reluctant to do this, but eventually gave in. My parents now agree with my cynicism.
When my mom was my age, an agency would take the time to train you up and phone up employers and get you an interview spot there and then (this is also how the Jobcentre used to work, I am told). My parents (60 and 61) thought this was how it was still done.
IT IS NOT.
You sign up with an agency, you give them your CV and your availability, and you wait. I signed up with Office Angels because there was a job I wanted through them. I didn’t get the job, and for a while I got phone calls constantly for temping work. I don’t want to be a temp. I’d do it only if the position was for at least a few months and I told them this at least three times.
They stopped calling. The other day I got an email asking if I was still actively seeking work. I ignored it. Waste of space! I have seen so many jobs advertised by Office Angels that I am capable of doing and I was not put through for one of them.
I think agencies are good for temping, but nothing else. I’m assuming that is where their priorities lie, presumably because you are then employed by them, and no one else.
So my job seeking advice is: apply for jobs through agencies if you have a shit ton of experience and don’t mind being phoned at 9am for a job at 10. But put your main effort into applying directly with the company. You’re much more likely to get a response or an interview.
Rant over. For now! Soon I am going to bitch about the Jobcentre’s ‘Universal Jobmatch’ site. It is a pile of …!!