Tag Archives: Employment agency

How becoming a maze runner improved my job search…

maze 1

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.

maze 2

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.



How I found a job using my own networking principles

Employment Exhibition

Employment Exhibition (Photo credit: Modern_Language_Center)

This is a story I like to tell everyone about how the author of the book, How to Find a Job in 6 Weeks, was once out of work and had to find a job very quickly. It’s a personal account about what I learned through the process and some of the simple techniques I applied to get me back on my feet.

It all happened very quickly. At one point I am recruiting staff for the company, and before you know it, I am looking for a job myself. Within the space of 30 minutes I had gone from recruiting to looking for work. That was an incredible change in circumstances for a human resources professional. I was advised without notice that the company no longer needed someone of my abilities and that my position was being made redundant.

I had a family to support, mortgage and I was the sole income earner. To make matters worse I only had 2 months pay before I ran out of money. How is that for pressure! So what do you do? I had to change from employed into job search mode fairly quickly and my whole life changed in an instant. Here is a list of the first 4 techniques I employed within 48 hours to commence and kick-start my job search.

  1. Inform your professional contacts
    I wrote a list of names of all my professional contacts and I rang them one by one to inform them I was in job search mode. I was surprised how they wanted to help me and  I was provided with assurances that if they heard of anything through their own network they would advise me. Their is no shame in doing this because I discovered that some of my colleagues had been in a similar situation before and were understanding.
  2. Inform employment agencies of your availability
    Advise employment agencies that specialise in your profession of your availability. Write a list of all the employment agencies that are relevant to your profession and contact them. Don’t wait for the job adds to appear in the press to apply for a job because employment agencies  sometimes conduct discreet searches and do not want to advertise the vacancy. I was treated very well by employment agencies, obviously because I was marketable, and they did follow up my inquiry when the right job was on offer.
  3. Inform you non-professional contacts
    In this case I am referring to those professional people you have good relationships with but are not related to your profession such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, councilors etc….I found a short term assignment contracting in human resources through my solicitor. He referred me to a company that was looking for some assistance in this area and this kept me going for a month and helped relieve the pressure.
  4. Register for unemployment benefits
    When people leave their jobs they do so under various circumstances. Whether employment benefits will apply to you will depend on your financial situation and your reasons for leaving work. For example, there is a test to determine if you partner is employed and earning income, whether you have liquid assets, a second property and other non-liquid assets. As embarrassing as it may seem, it is important to find out quickly and register for government unemployment benefits. It is only a short and interim assistance package that may help relieve your financial burden whilst looking for work. The worst thing that can happen is that your are not entitled to benefits for the first 12 weeks before your application is re-assessed.


Just for the record, I found a job in 6 weeks by way of a referral from a professional colleague. The employment consultant had a good relationship with my colleague and had respect for his referral. He said to me that if I was good enough for my colleague then I was good enough for him and he referred me for interview with the General Manager of the company. I had my nose ahead right from the beginning and the rest was history. I got the job I wanted and my networking principles paid off!