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Are employment agencies working for or against you?

As a marketer, I tend to “quantify” and analyse everything that I do, this includes things in my own personal life. I suppose in some ways it helps me to make sense of the world around me.

In my recent quest to find a full time job, a very disturbing pattern emerged and I am baffled by the results. It has made me question whether or not employment agencies are a good idea?

You be the judge.

After taking a number of resume and employment readiness training programs, I am assured that my resume (both online and in print) is as close to or as professional as it needs to be. While I do understand that there are limitations to getting the job itself, such as age, distance and language, the jobs that I applied for certainly fell into what should have been “an easy door,” for me.

  • I sent out a total of 165 resumes over a two month period.
  • Of the 165, almost 90% (149) of them went to various head-hunters and employment agencies.
  • The remaining 10% (16) went directly to employers and jobs suggested by friends and family.

The call backs that I received are as follows:

  • Of the 149 resumes that I sent to head-hunters and agencies, only one agency called me. She interviewed me on the phone and said, other than the fact that you do not speak French for this particular position – everything sounds good.  I spoke to her for over an hour and she said, I will call you back.  She never returned the call, surely she must have other positions to fill even if the language issue was a problem for this particular job?  At the very least, she should have asked me to come in and talk to her.  If my resume was good enough for a call back, there is no reason for not taking a chance on me, especially since the agency was constantly looking for candidates.
  • Of the 16 other resumes, I received two interviews and was offered a position by one of them, which I turned down. I received a special call back from the other employer telling me that they would like to keep my file close by just in case another position became available and that the final decision was literally between me and one other person.

How can this be accurate?

In mathematics, it cannot be.  Technically, it means that there is something very wrong here. In fact, based on the numbers of the call backs that I got from direct employers, I should have gotten at least a 25% call back rate on the ones I sent to agencies or at least 30 potential interviews.

After further examination it became apparent to me that employment agencies are not helping but hindering people from gaining employment, in my opinion, because:

1. They create a huge bank of resumes that they never intend to use just so they can appear to employers that they have a large candidate base, when in fact they do not.

2. They have a select number of employees that they want to send to employers and this creates a block for other people applying.

3.They are simply not that good at their job and do not understand the industry that they are seeking candidates for.

I for one am going to continue to search for employment on my own and while I cannot say for sure what the real reasons are, it is time for employment agencies to be held accountable for helping get people back to work. Anyone can create an employment agency, only a few can truly deliver.  Be wise and choose carefully because online job sites make money just for people to log on to them.

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