Is it just me, or do other people find most recruitment websites useless? Well, maybe useless is the wrong word. Hit and miss, certainly. It’s hard to find a good one and I’m yet to hear of anyone who’s actually snared their dream job by using one.
In case you’re not familiar with the process, you sign up to a website, upload your CV, spending hours trawling through the various screens to fill in details about your profile and experience with the aim of receiving carefully selected email alerts with zillions of relevant jobs to apply for.
That’s the theory.
In reality, I have to say that these job-schmob.co.uk websites are pretty useless.
My profile is fairly self-explanatory: I am looking for copywriter and editor roles, I’ve got 12 years’ experience as a writer, editor and proofreader and have worked in broadcasting and media, customer relations, corporate communications and journalism – and I’m prepared to sell these well-honed skills within the rather modest “at least 30k” bracket. I’m worth a lot more than that, I would argue, but that’s for another blog post.
And yet, after going to such pains to make sure my profile was as perfect as I could make it, the other day inaccurate-job-opps.co.uk sent me a job alert suggesting that I apply to be a tree surgeon.
Not that the idea doesn’t appeal to me, in fact, on some level. I quite fancy wandering around Hampstead Heath or Regent’s Park all day in my jeans, racing green “Royal Parks” sweatshirt and hiking boots. Maybe they’d even let me loose on those buggies they drive around in occasionally. Given that I frequently spend nine hours a day in a converted factory in a 10×10 “pod”, in a pseudo-altruistic role as a subtitler (providing the subtitles on TV for the hard of hearing, primarily) which essentially makes me little more than a touch-typing battery chicken, the thought of being “free range” out in the open air is very appealing. But that hardly fits my profile on sell-your-soul.co.uk, does it?
Even when I do receive job alerts from incompetence-rules.co.uk which manage to fit some of my skills, my heart just sinks when I look at the wording in the adverts. At the risk of repeating what I wrote in blog post no.2, “I Should Of Got My Spelling Write”, what right does an employer have to expect “excellent written and spoken English” when they then manage to refer to “adition” and “borchures” in the very same sentence? Oh, and I needn’t apply if I’m not “pracitced in writing effective press releases”.
But this isn’t my only bugbear when it comes to job sites of the workforpeanuts.co.uk ilk. Not long ago, I went to a recruitment fair. Don’t those two words fill you with bile-inducing dread? They’ve managed to take the exciting word “fair” which, to me, conjures up ghost trains and waltzers and candy floss and then turned it into some sort of disturbing Kubrick-esque nightmare. Anyway, I went along, suited and booted, with a stack of carefully pressed CVs, a warm handshake at the ready and my opening patter…down pat.
What a load of toss.
Many of the recruiters there were simply taking CVs and putting them in a pile on the desk behind them and handing out business cards. I didn’t see any actual recruiting going on. Welcome to the recession, I suppose, but come on, people, make an effort! Aren’t you supposed to sell your company to us willing-and-ables too?
You will have noticed that I have avoided naming real job sites thus far. I don’t mind naming this company which made a particularly bad impression on me at the recruitment fair: Hilton Hotels. The guy on the desk was audibly slagging off candidates to his colleague in what he obviously thought was a whisper, but wasn’t. And when I approached him and stumbled on “c-c-c-communications” (stammer) he openly smirked and said “YOU’RE in communications?” When I left, flushed but composed, I turned back to see the same conspiratorial nod to his colleague aimed at me.
No word of a lie. This cretin was chosen to face potential new recruits. Staggering. Yes, I did write to the Head of Communications at Hilton Hotels in the UK. No reply.
Personal bad experience aside, the presentations at the recruitment fair by the staff of monstrous-waste-of-time.com were, at best, shit. You would think that someone of my extensive vocabulary could think of a better adjective than this, but in fact, this was a careful choice. It was shit. In almost every way. The recruitment “expert” from monstrous-waste-of-time.com held a microphone a foot away from his mouth so that he was inaudible (yes, someone did shout out that they couldn’t hear him) and then proceeded to stand in front of the Powerpoint presentation which he had prepared on an overhead projector. He was vague, uninspiring, inarticulate and patronising. So describing his presentation as shit is arguably, in fact, being generous.
Really, all of my freelance work as a writer has been gained via word of mouth, which is a far better way of doing things. Yes, you need to be proficient at networking and being nice to people (and obviously have the skills to back it up) but the strike rate is pretty good, in my experience. So I think I may withdraw my profile from the various recruitment-hell.co.uk websites. Actually, maybe I won’t. I quite fancy seeing what other little gems they suggest for me and my skills. It’s a good outlet for what you may perceive as my anger, for a start! Just browsing now… Damn, I see the vacancy of chairman of ITV has just been filled.