Most of us have seen the movie Maze Runner…young boys pitted in a futuristic experiment where they are conditioned to fear the maze. They are gripped by obstacles, threats and unrelenting fear to navigate a maze that would eventually take them to the other side, and free them from their current surreal incarceration…and so the the story goes.
So what has this got to do with job search…have I completely lost my marbles and my expertise in practical job search techniques? Just stick to the routine I hear you say…keep with the script!
In my book, How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks, I discuss managing the myriad of employment agencies and their respective consultants during your job search. Just like another famous movie western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, it’s precisely what your going to encounter. Some employment agencies and their consultants are terrific at managing the relationship with applicants…and some are just plain terrible.
There are reasons for such a diversity in the level of service…and it comes down to one thing only…care factor. The better employment agencies care about you as a person and also help manage your career aspirations. They understand they are dealing with an important and sensitive issue around your professional and career advancement. Looking for a job can effect family, income and social status along the way. Dealing emphatically with these needs rather than just a name on an application form is what makes the difference. Some of the excuses you hear are centered around time versus effort and reward. That is, employment consultants can’t respond to every applicant personally because they are time poor and don’t have the resources. They need to get top candidates in front of clients quickly and strike while the irons hot… so they can make commission. It’s an economic reality driven by highly incentivised agents and the pressures associated with hitting targets. Understanding this reality will help you better manage your job search so that you don’t get too frustrated with the lack of care and attention you may receive as you navigate the job search maze.
On the flip side, the are employment agencies that manage the job search process much better and will dedicate some time in assisting with your career aspirations. They understand every candidate is a marketing prospect and a potential client in the future. They are just not spending time with you for the sake of it…they are fully aware of the future benefits of a satisfied job seeker with their business. In some cases, I have met employment consultants that really care about you as a person and genuinely try to provide whatever assistance they can to help you achieve you objective.
So what does this mean to you as a job seeker? Here are some tips to help you manage your aspirations when dealing with employment agencies:
- Choose employment agencies you want to deal with when registering for work that are closer aligned with your values and career expectations…employment agencies compete heavily for recruitment assignments that are often outsourced by companies to multiple agencies
- Understand that not one employment agency has a monopoly on the job market or sector, and they don’t have a bucket load of jobs to tap into
- You should seek feedback after you have invested time in a recruitment process and been unsuccessful…you may be denied feedback…however, you have a right to some clarity if you can get it because it will assist your learning and help you develop your job search skills
- Unless you have been treated unfairly and there have been breaches to your rights…if you have not had a good experience, just move on and don’t let it get to you as more opportunities will present themselves in the future.
- Build good relationships with employment consultants that share your values and are prepared to respect and assist you along the way.
Employment agencies…friend or foe? As you navigate the job search maze and just like the maze runner…there is a new beginning when you finally get there. Keep your spirits up and focus on overcoming the obstacles in front of you in the best way you can. Job search is a temporary process and eventually we all find jobs and move onto the next chapter in our career.