toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

September 30, 2012

career advisers and recruiters suck!

Wanda is bored with her life. Her children are grown up and have left home and her husband is away a lot. She wants an exciting new job - and has been looking around for a while - but the local recruiter told her that she’ll have a hard time finding the type of job she wants because at 44 she’s considered to be past her prime and her educational qualifications are out of date.

"Hello? Since when has 44 been old? And since when has a degree had a use by date," laughs Wanda. "The trouble with job hunting is that we tend to listen to advice and follow leads from everyone but I've discovered that there’s a clear distinction between advice given by career advisers and recruiters."

"Essentially they’re not the same fish, and I’ve learned to take with a grain of salt whatever either tells me," laughs Wanda, "especially the recruiters who tell me in so many words that I am too old or my educational qualifications are!"

"Bona fide career advisers have no vested interest in the outcome of the advice they give you; they do more listening than advising; their role is one that helps you focus on what is right for you; their profession requires a degree in psychology or a related field; and if you make an appointment to see a career adviser, either through a private or public organization, you will not be discriminated against or refused help."

"Recruiters, on the other hand," says Wanda, "have a huge vested interest in the outcome of the advice they give you. Their livelihood depends upon placing you in a job, any old job, and being paid by your new employer for this service. If you get a good match from this service, you and your new employer will be very, very lucky."

"Unlike career advisers, recruiters often have no qualifications," says Wanda, "and that's why they downgrade mine. They are primarily business people, and I've noticed that they often dominate the conversation, paying very little attention to what I have to say."

"Their role," says Wanda, "is not to help me focus on the type of job that is right for me, but to place me in a job, any job, as quickly as possible so that they can receive quick rewards for their service."

"I suppose recruiters are useful people to see if you are desperate for a job - which I am not - but I've heard so many horror stories about people being placed by recruiters into terrible jobs that I would prefer not to deal with them."

"But I do concede that it’s important to include recruiters as relevant people to consult between jobs because they often give advice straight from the front lines."

"And, of course, there are ethical recruiters, and unethical ones."

"My alarm bells go off when I telephone to make an appointment to see a recruiter for career advice and I'm given a drilling," says Wanda. "Being busy people - in business primarily to maximize profits - recruiters are often unwilling to waste time with people whom they deign to be poor risks or time wasters. They just want to deal with people who want a job - any job - and right now."

"Some will make a snap judgment about me from my telephone call and if I'm at all anxious or hesitant or reluctant to part with personal information -- which most of us are when cold-calling -- or if I just make it clear that I only wants advice some recruiters will cut me short."

"And, if I make it past a telephone call with a recruiter," laughs Wanda, "I know that the rest of the trip has the possibility of being a hard sell."

"When it’s advice you want," says Wanda, "the last thing you need is a recruiter trying to sign you up before you know what you are getting into."

"Often, depending upon the agency, the type of jobs that recruiters have on their books are not always the best jobs."

"Generally," says Wanda, "the very best jobs are gained through the hidden job market and the next best jobs are gained by responding to advertisements placed directly by employers."

"So, in the sort of situation where agency jobs are not your average dream job, it's the recruiter's task to make them appear as such," says Wanda. "The advice I receive from recruiters is more likely to be geared towards what is best for them, not me. Also, some cannot be relied upon to give accurate information about job trends."

"I talk to a wide range of recruiters and weigh up everything they say, not only to gain a broad picture of the job market but also to sift the wheat from the chafe as far as ethical and unethical recruiters are concerned."

"A big scam of recruiters," warns Wanda, "is that they often place bogus advertisements in order to lure job seekers into their agency. They then tell job seekers that the advertised dream job has been filled, but they do have another job that would be just right for them. Don’t believe it! The other job is invariably wrong for you, and everybody else, but once you are in a recruiter's office you feel that you have nothing to lose by listening to what he or she has to say."

"I believe job seekers have a great deal to lose."

"Unlike career advisers, family, friends and acquaintances - whose advice is basically non-committal and largely designed to be helpful," says Wanda, "recruiters have not only been known to lie about the jobs on their books but also in some cases to attempt to reduce the self-esteem of job seekers in order to persuade them to take a particular job."

"And some can get quite nasty if you dare to question their ethics," says Wanda. "I have been down that road many times I know what I am talking about."

"By telling me that I'm too old at 44, and my degree is out of date, my local recruiter was obviously trying to put me down, hoping I would accept a lower paid job."

"I'm smart enough to figure out that recruiters don't waste time talking to job seekers who are high risk or unemployable," laughs Wanda. "So, I am well aware that when a recruiter does take time to check me out I should not be doubling my value!"

"Even if I don’t find my dream job soon," says Wanda, "l'm gaining some valuable insight into the job market industry  -- and, frankly, I'm so glad I'm married and not desperate for a job because it's a bad scene."

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