Over the last 12 months I have made several comments relating to the recruitment agents and HR personnel that “service” our construction, mining and oil & gas industries. Not all of the comments were necessarily friendly towards these entities, and I make no apologies for them. I’ve also received over seventy emails from readers of Mining Australia, all which had a central theme – Recruiters promising the world and not delivering.
Allow me to explain, but firstly and for clarity, this article is not for the dumb and the desperate, the whingers and whiners. It is for the thousands of decent workers who contribute to our industry and society in general, and who are deserving of all the help that we, as individuals and as a community can give them.
What with the slowing down of the mega construction projects and the cutting back and mine closures being sadly experienced by those in the mining industry, particularly coal and gold, thousands of Australians are now out of work, and their skillsets which cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to develop are not being utilised.
Being out of work in a buoyant and robust economy is usually a short break before the next gig, and usually has no adverse or negative impact on the workers or their families. However, when faced with a complete industry slowdown as we are experiencing at present, these dynamics very quickly change from “she’ll be right” to something far more sinister as savings dwindle and no sight of a new job appears in the offing.
It is in times like this that workers seeking employment are at their most vulnerable, not only from the pressures of their families and financial obligations (mortgage, leases, hire purchase etc.), but from a particularly nasty and self-serving individual called a Bodgie Recruitment Consultant (and you can add in labour hire as well).
When you are on your knees because you can’t get meaningful employment in your industry, this is the individual that will promise you the world and instead of delivering it, will put any future employment chances that you may have had at total risk!!!
Please take a moment to click here and read this article by Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human workplace. There is some amazing and very scary insight into how much damage your Resume can do you if it falls into the wrong hands. When you have finished her article, please return to this one, as I wish to add to her article, not repeat it.
Your Resume is your personal history. It is unique, it has value, it has worth. A Resume is like a Credit Rating, it shows capability to perform, balance, integrity, and above all it shows continuity. With these basis points, with references added, you would obtain a loan from a bank. The same applies when job hunting!
Now the difference between applying for a loan and job hunting is that the financial services industry has voluminous legislation regulating it, with a Regulator who actively pursues recalcitrant or deviant behaviours – with severe consequences, and job hunting has no protection whatsoever.
Remember this – you have limited or no protection under law from unscrupulous Recruiters once you hand your Resume over to them. It’s like giving a loan shark access to your credit card and bank details. The chances of you ever getting anything back, let alone justice, is extremely remote. And besides which, the damage that they can and will do to you with Employers will remain unseen and unchallenged – the result of course will be that you do not gain employment.
So here’s a few items to add to Liz Ryan’s article:
There are two types of recruiters. The contingency recruiter and the consultative recruiter.
The contingency recruiter is the dog hanging around outside the butcher’s hoping to pick up the scraps. This is the Recruiter that has no formal commission from a company, and who resorts to “mass saturation” tactics hoping that one of his “baits” get taken. These are the bodgie recruiters
The consultative recruiter is the butcher’s pet, and gets the prime steak. This Recruiter is already providing services to the Company, has proved themselves and has a professional relationship with the Company. This Recruiter will always have a proper Job Description with all the information at hand.
Statistics. Recruitment Agencies are like any other business, they rely on figures to show progress. So the more numbers that they can show as having “prospectives” on their books, the more chance there is of being handed work from the Client.
The bodgie Recruiter is constantly under the pump to produce numbers, because they do not have a formal commission from the Employer. So this Recruiter will do anything that it takes to get your Resume, so that they can load it together with fifty others and fire it at a prospective Client – hoping to get at least one hit from it. This is called speculation.
References. Your references are generally the “hiring contact” within the company you worked for, so to hand the bodgie recruiter this person’s details is like giving a dog a prime steak. Very quickly the bodgie will insinuate themselves in with your reference, hoping to make the placement for your replacement – without getting you a position!
Candidates need to qualify the Recruiter just as much as the Recruiter needs to qualify the candidate. Remember, when there are plenty jobs around, you can be arrogant and offensive. When times are tight as they are now, you have to think and work smart in getting a job. What you do have to do is decide whether you want to go through a Recruiter (and there are some respectable Agencies) or better still find the job yourself.
As I and others have said on numerous occasions, the Recruiter does not work for you! Let me repeat this so that you understand it perfectly – the Recruiter does not work for you!
Here’s a few tips on how to spot a bodgie recruiter:
Every respectable Agency will have a formal Personnel Supply Agreement (PSA) in place with an Employer for the specific job available, complete with full Job Description etc. As all Employers themselves are downsizing at this time, and taking on more of their own recruiting internally, until their own internal databases are robust they will adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the PSA’s, as will the respectable recruiters. Given the downsizing of workforces taking place, it is highly unlikely that the Recruiter actually has a “live” job on offer.
So the very First question to ask the Recruiter is for a full job description, as well as who the Client is. Remember, they have a PSA in place so there is absolutely no reason for them not to advise you accordingly.
What can the Recruiter tell you about the job? If they can’t tell you the size of the team, the reporting structure, the scope of work, rosters, accommodation, flights etc, chances are very real that they do not have a “live” job to offer.
So the Second question to ask is about the scope of work, what machinery, mobile plant whatever is being used, who is the dirt boss, anything to do with your job and what is expected of you.
How long are they on the phone to you? To effectively validate you as a candidate they should be on the phone to you for at the very least 30 to 40 minutes, if not more, initially, with further conversations down the track.
They should formally ask your permission to contact your references (something which I personally dislike, as if you miss out in the job it means that your references are going to be bothered again by someone else), and if they are doing proper due diligence they will check your working rights in Australia (another insult but c’est la vie in today’s Australia).
If they are in a hurry to “get your Resume in front of the Hiring Manager directly” they are probably making up the numbers – simply because Quality Assurance would prevent them from doing just this.
So the Third question to ask them is to meet up with them soonest. If they’re in the same town as you and aver from meeting with you, they’re bodgie as!
Where else is your Resume going? Remember that your Resume is worth a lot of money. It represents years of accumulated education, training, knowledge gained, mistakes made and rectified, contacts developed etc. it is the potential key to your future bank balance, and you would not be giving that out for free, now would you?
So the Fourth Question is “How many other Clients are you sending my Resume to?” If the Recruiter spins you a yarn about other prospective clients, you’ve got a bodgie Recruiter on the other end.
Assuming that you’ve asked all of the above “Spot The Bodgie recruiter Questions” and received answers which satisfy you, then set a few ground rules with the Recruiter. If they are from a respectable agency they should have no issue with this.
Agree on contact levels – Nothing worse than an annoying candidate, nothing worse than a vacant recruiter. It works both ways. If you miscommunicate on how to communicate the relationship will sourly very quickly.
Know where your Resume is going. Log in a diary or a spread sheet where you resume has gone, who has sent it and to what level of contact it has gone to for what position with which company. If you deal with another agency in the future they need to know where your resume has gone so they don’t duplicate it. Resumes are first come first serve (including from the candidate and ownership is typically six months) so if an agency represents you to a company without telling you and you subsequently apply there, they may discard your application on fear of getting billed – Bodgie recruiters will try and bill clients on the loosest of introductions months down the line (typically six months is the limit) so protect your data! (It happened to me once).
Trust them – If you have taken care of yourself in asking the spot the bodgie questions, then you have done a fair amount to cover yourself, and you can do little more than trust that they will represent you to the client in the best light possible. If you don’t get an interview then there’s probably a good reason. A good consultant will always provide feedback from the client even it’s the most basic information. A great consultant will take that feedback, help you overhaul your dated resume, and spend an hour on the phone prepping you for interview and giving you insights into the client’s personality and what questions are likely to pop up.
So what it comes down to is how much do you care about your data, and your next job. If you work carefully and engage the right recruiter you can get access to hidden job markets, have someone verbally fighting your case against other paper applications, and preparing you better than other applicants for the interview. You can also get access to short term and Rapid response vacancies where for a hiring manager picking up the phone to his trusted consultant is easier than ringing 100 people himself.
However, and here’s the kicker – If you are not careful you can effectively have your personal data fired at companies you don’t want to work for to make up a stat. This can damage your potential chances if you then apply to that company directly down the line through fear of assertion of candidate ownership. Also if a company receives your resume from 10 different recruiters they are probably going to think you are a little desperate.
In closing, please remember that your Resume is You, and has value! Treat it with Respect.
I wish you all the very best.