I was thinking about the different experiences my sister has faced in the last couple of days having been retrenched from her job last Friday. She loved her job, her workmates and hoped that she would be able to hang on to her job which was becoming more and more untenable as government contracts were lost and work dried up. So along with 17 other workmates she was let go.
Like many of us, she is mid 50’s, still has children at home, a mortgage, bills to pay, a large dog to feed. Also like many of us working mothers, she is not ambitious but has always worked and worked hard, learnt on the job and adapted to each new workplace and had a good continuous job record, her employers soon realising the potential of this self-effacing person.
Now she is in the process of finding a new role and being in recruitment she asked for my help. After fixing up her CV and as she lives in a different city to where I work, I offered to speak to two recruiters in that area that I had worked with previously – one with whom I have an easy personable relationship with and I felt comfortable asking for their help as they are like minded people (Agency A). The other (Agency B) I had also worked but have never had much rapport with but as my sister had obtained her last role through them she was already on their books.
These two experiences couldn’t have been more different for her.
Firstly, my sister contacted Agency B, who took over 3 days to return her call and then flicked her the latest Microsoft Office test by email. My sister rang me in tears saying that she had failed the test as the company she last worked for had not updated their systems and she was not au fait with the most recent Word or Excel. She was despairing and wondered how she was ever going to get another job.
Agency A thanked me for the referral of my sister when I contacted them and then rang her and made an appointment for her to come and see them, which she did. My sister could not have had a more different experience, she said “they were so friendly and positive”. She said that even though they had nothing on their books at that time, gave her suggestions on how to increase her job prospects, training courses, etc. Apart from putting her on their books, the consultant also recommended she register with another larger global recruitment agency (Agency C) as she knew they had more work on the temp side of things. My sister came away positive and upbeat and started putting into place her job search game plan.
This brings me to her third experience with recruiters – My sister rang Agency C asking if she could make an appointment to come in and register as a temp with them. She didn’t get further than the switchboard operator who told her that “they didn’t make appointments, she should just register on line”……
The bad, the good and the downright ugly face of recruitment.
Surely if you take the attitude that recruitment is a service industry (as I do) and we are here to help people at possibly one of the most vulnerable points in their lives (they say for many people losing their job is their most stressful life event other than death of a partner) – then how hard is to treat people the way you yourself would like to be treated! Not hard. Not hard at all.
Go the good guys!