The majority of temp or contract positions are managed by recruitment agencies. For those who don't know how that works basically job seekers register with a consultant, consultant has a pool of candidates, consultant tries to win business from recruiting organisations by providing a recruitment service, consultant fills vacancies for the organisation charging them fees for doing so. Candidates that register don't pay just the recruiting business. The fundamental thing and the thing I spent 5 years training consultants, is that although candidates don't pay directly, a consultant's money making strategy and success rate will be seriously flawed if they don't have a pool of loyal and reliable candidates to fill positions with. No candidates = no jobs filled = no money.
I'm not saying all Australian recruitment consultants are bad. Nor am I saying all UK consultants are perfect. I am sure there are some not very good ones in UK and given my friends have often been candidates, I know there are some bad apples but naturally the ones who have paid attention when I trained them are brilliant! Ha ha!
I am ranting that the ones I have come across in Australia have been disappointing. I have no rapport with any of them and wouldn't recommend any one of them. What makes the disappointment even sharper is that I know how a good recruitment consultant operates, I know some personally and I know what the ones I've come into contact with recently, could be doing to make me happier. I think if I had no understanding, I would be more accepting.
Anyway back to what actually riled me...well here's a few scenarios and you can tell me if I'm just being overly demanding and sensitive.
- I've applied to a job ad online in the morning and decide to call the consultant in the afternoon to ensure safe receipt and to schedule a meeting so that she can represent me better and help me find work. I speak to receptionist explaining this and am put on hold. Receptionist comes back and says, "She's not taking calls and just says apply online". I have to explain again that I've done this and am keen to progress the applications. Response from receptionist, "Well like I said, she doesn't want to take calls and if you've applied online there is no reason that she won't have not got your application so she'll be in touch" and with that I am dismissed. If any consultants said to their candidates via the reception that they didn't want to take their call where I previously worked, they would be dismissed!
- Same background as before and this time the call goes straight through to the consultant. I explain the situation and she says, "Your resumé will be going through the system so there's no point talking or scheduling a meeting till it's gone through the system and this can take a few days". I just wanted some empathy that she undersood it's frustrating waiting but this was how it worked and the best thing to do would be to sit tight...just a more personal touch. Is that too much to ask? And days for a resumé to go through the system. Really? Either their system is archaic or I'm missing something. I alway received applications instantaneously when an applicant responded to my adverts.
- I met a consultant 2 weeks ago. She asked me to email her some further information that day after the meeting which I did. No response or acknowledgement from her. I then email her a week later to confirm she received the information and to ask for any update. No response or acknowledgement from her. I then call her and leave a voicemail. No response or acknowledgement from her. So I turn into one of those dreaded stalker candidates but her lack of response has turned me into this I swear! So two emails and a voicemail and I hear nothing. I know she's not on leave as she told me she had no leave booked when we met and I've spoken to a colleague of her's who confirms she's around. I've checked her email address to give her the benefit of the doubt and it's gone to the right address so unless something completely unanticipated has happened, then I get the impression she doesn't want to talk to me and isn't interested neither of which is a nice pill to swallow.
Therefore the conclusion I come to following my experiences is that consultants don't actually want to speak to their candidates initially. You do everything online, they don't even really like it if you email them directly with a CV and would prefer it if you just applied for one of the jobs they have online even if it's not a job you want. The one meeting I have had with a consultant and the one I have lined up for next week have both happened through my suggestion and encouragement rather than the consultant's.
After these experiences, I've learnt that I can't make things happen and have to work to their process and speed so I have to wait. I'm not very good at that!
Steve is telling me it's one of those things that I have to accept about Australia like they require photographic ID for everything even posting a parcel which is annoying but if I want to post a parcel I have to live with it. And every time I go to the bank they want to see my passport before I can do anything, even requesting a balance; a bank card that they issued me is not enough.
I appreciate the consultants will receive huge numbers of applications that they have to work through, which from a recruitment consultant's perspective is a pain but I can't imagine them having much more than their colleagues from the UK big cities like Leeds, Manchester and London all of whom I trained to have empathy and treat their candidates with a personal and individual touch. I'm not saying every consultant in UK did but I do know some who do. The closer relationship you have with your candidate, the more reliable they will be and more likely to come back to you with business as a client or refer you to others.
I don't think it's personal that the consultants have upset me.I don't have something against them individually. I think it's more the Australian system and the fact that the consultants follow the process so precisely. If you know me and have worked with me, you'll know I am all for process. I love process but not at the expense of the customer experience and if it's going to cause the company to lose revenue. Both these things are at risk if we go by the Australian process. If someone who has experience of recruitment in Australia wants to defend fellow consultants I am really open to receiving information that may make me look at this differently.
Now this isn't about to send me running back to UK because I appreciate jobhunting in UK is now bed of roses either. So today and this weekend I'm taking a break from recruiters and hopefully on Monday I'll be refreshed and motivated to find work again.