Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Ability: A New Form of Job Discrimination?

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The post Even It Up! wrote the other day about our experience with Edge Recruitment and their feedback on our application has been niggling at us.  It’s not that they were defensive about their processes (who wouldn’t be under the circumstances?) or they accused us of chasing work as consultants (isn’t that how work is sometimes won?).  What bothered us was the overt discrimination against skills, experience and qualifications of the applicant, and that we had dared apply for a  lower-paid position (although salary wasn’t stipulated in the ad).  Is what we experienced a form of ability discrimination?

It’s interesting, because the rhetoric around qualifications (certainly from schools, universities and the majority of employers) is that they are instrumental to (and even crucial in) gaining work.  Certainly, we have all been led to believe this over the years (if we didn’t, why would we spend thousands on our education – both vocational and academic)?  But what if it just isn’t true?  What if having qualifications is as detrimental to finding work as not having them?

If you participate in Even It Up! Forums, you know that this is not a new phenomenon.  Other jobseekers have also experienced the prejudice and suspicion that comes with being overqualified for positions they may apply for.  The recruiter (direct employer or recruitment consultant) often perceives that:

  • the jobseeker will walk (and quickly) once they find another position more “suitable” to their qualifications and pay expectations
  • they may expect (and demand) more money once they are in the role
  • they may be more “difficult” to manage and not be as pliable as someone who has less experience/qualifications.

While there may be an element of truth to the above assertions, it is not always the case.  Jobseekers apply for roles they are clearly overqualified for for a number of reasons:

From our perspective, the issues are: why should jobseekers have to justify themselves for seeking out work they are overqualified for? Aren’t employers being narrow-minded and short-sighted for not embracing the clear skillset that these sorts of jobseekers will bring to the role (and the organisation as a whole)?

And so the questions become: what sort of organisation are you? Are you an organisation that will embrace the various skillsets of jobseekers that apply for your roles?  Or are you an organisation that is suspicious and judgmental of anyone who applies for a role that (on the surface) they may be either overqualified or underqualified for?

And how willing are you to take the time to find out why before discarding “unsuitable” applications?


Written by evenitup

September 9, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Recruitment companies need not apply!

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Even It Up! loves this ad that Parsons Brinckerhoff recently posted on Seek, an excerpt of which is below.  Hot tip: read the sentences in capitals!

Written by evenitup

September 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Recruitment, recruitment companies

Tagged with

Edged out by “instinct”

with 11 comments

At Even It Up! we like applying for roles just to interrogate the process that direct employers and recruitment companies use.  We are a bit like Mystery Jobseekers. The latest one we applied for was a part-time Communications Assistant with Edge Recruitment.

The role was advertised on Seek in early August, and we applied for it by sending in our CV and a cover letter.  Then we waited.  And waited.  A couple of weeks went by and we called to follow up.  We were advised that the person who was responsible for the recruitment was out of the office, and a message was taken.  And then we waited, and waited some more.

Yesterday, we thought we’d call again.  And we got the same spiel.  But we got a call this morning, only to be told that they were sorry for that lack of response, but people were off sick, and our message must have slipped through the cracks (and yes, they got the irony considering the position that was applied for!)….

Anyway.  Back to the position.  We were advised that the position had been filled, and we were told about the background of the person who had been given the role.

Unsatisfied with the response, we dug further and found:

  • They received over 70 applications for the role
  • They could have interviewed 10 people for the position (including us) but decided to only go with three
  • All other 10 people who could have been interviewed (including the person who had won the role) had similar backgrounds, experience and qualifications
  • The recruiter had the same conversation “explaining” the situation to the other people who called and weren’t interviewed…
  • The decision around who to interview was based on follow-up of the application (difficult when your calls slip through the cracks), presentation of the application and was more to do with “instinct”  than science (the recruiter told us that she had been recruiting for 11 years, and often made decisions based on this, although she didn’t want us to think that there wasn’t a scientific process behind it!)
  • When we suggested that as a jobseeker, it was difficult to see how this was a fair process, given that an interview would have been where we could have showed our portfolio and communication skills , the response was:  what would you have us do? Interview all 10 candidates?  There was also a discussion about having to be “ruthless” in the culling process.  Just what every jobseeker wants to hear – not!
  • We then told the recruiter that we were calling on behalf of Even It Up! to which the reply was: why would you apply for a role that you had no intentions of taking?  We said we were like Mystery Jobseekers, but we would like to take our response further: why would you advertise a position, have a number of suitable candidates apply and not interview them?
  • We were then told that our feedback was welcome (and that she knew about our site) and would welcome an opportunity to review the process.   We said: engage us as consultants, to which we got short shrift!

So, the questions that we ask are these: if the so-called recruitment experts are basing their selection of candidates on “instinct” rather than a scientific process (that jobseekers are supposed to know, agree to and comply with), what hope have any of us got?   And how many excellent candidates are excluded from being interviewed because recruiters have not thought about managing the positive risks of too many applications?

We would therefore be right to assume that getting an interview and winning a position is a matter of luck rather than good management (despite all the rhetoric to the contrary).  And meanwhile the evidence keeps mounting about the subjectiveness of the jobseeking process and how systemically flawed it is…

Written by evenitup

September 8, 2009 at 11:56 am

Recruitment: show me the money!

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Even It Up! received a this job ad from a supporter.  It seems that Hydrogen Group is looking for recruitment consultant.  While we don’t want tar all recruiters with the same brush, it is clear that helping people is not even on the radar with this particular organisation… it’s all about the cash!

On the bright side, at least they aren’t members of the RCSA!

Written by evenitup

August 27, 2009 at 9:52 am

Anatomy of a fake job ad

with 6 comments

Even It Up! was alerted to this job ad via Twitter (by the way, if you wanted to follow us, we are @evenitup).  If this isn’t a fake job ad, we’ll eat our hats!

Posted on Hippo, a few things should be setting off alarm bells right about now:

  • No experience is necesary in order to be making mega-bucks (if it sounds too good to be true,  usually is!)
  • Hotmail email address rather than a business one
  • No contact person to speak to about the role
  • Promises of “speedy career progress” to go along with the mega-bucks you are going to make from this role.
  • No website listed, so it’s difficult to research the business. We Googled AbT and came up with nothing.  Abril Commercial Foreign Exchange revealed this.  Typing the URL direct into the browser revealed this.
  • We typed the address into Google Maps and came up with an address that was not in Sydney, but rather near Parramatta.  A street view reveals either a park or residential area, depending on how you look at it.
  • Home-based job workers required (not that there’s anything wrong with home-based work, but in this context, no good can come of it!)
  • Really bad English.  Now we’ve thought about it, this is more like a scam than a fake job ad!  Sounds like something to do with either processing ill-gotten gains or ripping people off.

While the Latin phrase caveat emptor – or buyer beware – applies to buying goods, Even It Up! thinks that an equally appropriate Latin saying needs to be devised to apply to jobseekers.  Beware and aware!

Oh, and if (despite our warning!) you do want to send off your CV, do not include any personal details.  You never know.  The person being scammed could be you.

Written by evenitup

August 22, 2009 at 11:30 am

Posted in Recruitment

Tagged with ,

Update: national enquiry into recruitment

with 4 comments

Further to our post Recruitment: 4 Reasons for a National Enquiry, Even It Up! can let readers know that politicians don’t give two hoots about the plight of jobseekers, other than to spew the usual rhetoric about how important jobs are to the economy etc.

We received this response from Maxine McKew:

Dear Diane,

Maxine has asked me to thank you for your email.  As you are not a constituent she is unable to write to Government Ministers on your behalf and she suggests you may wish to contact them directly.

Prime Minister
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra  ACT 2600
(Chief of Staff – Alister Jordan)

The Deputy Prime Minister
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
(same address)
(Chief of Staff – Amanda Lampe)

Kind regards,

Electorate Office Staff
Maxine McKew MP
Member for Bennelong
Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

PO Box 336
Gladesville NSW 1675
Ph 02 9816 5911
Fax 02 9816 5988

Well.  We have written to all mentioned above via email (at the same time we wrote to Maxine, who, it should be noted did not bother to address any of the issues in our original emails), as well as Nick Xenophon and Kate Ellis (our local member).  Not one politician (or person on the payroll) has bothered to respond.  We did call Kate Ellis’ office, and there were promises to follow up.  So far: Nothing, Nada, Zip.

Can’t wait for the next street corner meeting, Kate!

Written by evenitup

August 21, 2009 at 10:24 am

SARA Awards = big fat joke

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Filed under the You’ve Got To Be Kidding! category, Diane Lee received an email yesterday from Entree Recruitment asking her to vote for them in the 2009 SARA Awards.  Given that Diane has only had one (less than satisfactory) interaction with this recruitment company, you have to wonder about the genuineness (as well as rigour and integrity) of such an award.  Even It Up! has already discussed this in a previous post.

The email urging Diane to vote is replicated here (and yes, “valued candidate” was used.  If Diane was that valued, Entree would have used her name!):

Dear valued candidate,

This year Entrée Recruitment has registered for the SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards (the SARAs) in the category of Small Generalist Recruiter. This category caters to recruitment agencies who place candidates and provide recruitment services to clients in a broad range of industries.

“Now in their 7th year, the SARAs are the recruitment industry’s premier popular choice awards. Winners are determined by votes cast by jobseekers – the most qualified people to judge which recruitment agencies are performing exceptionally.

The SARAs aim to recognise and reward the outstanding performance of recruitment agencies in Australia and to give jobseekers a chance to identify and vote for their favourite recruitment agency.”

Please show your support by voting for Entrée Recruitment via the link below!

(Note: there was no signature on this email, simply a link to SARA)

And Diane’s reply is here:

Dear Entree

Why would I vote for you WHEN YOU’VE DONE NOTHING FOR ME!?

In fact, if you want to know what I REALLY think about you, got to www.evenitup.com.au – and you’ll also find the opinions of plenty of other “valued clients” who think recruitment companies are full of glorified sales people on a power kick.

Happy reading!

And Entree’s reply to my reply:

Dear Diane

I am sorry that you feel that way.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss anything further.


Acting General Manager
Entree Recruitment

No wonder Even It Up! has such an issue with the recruitment companies and the recruitment industry in general.  What an apathetic approach to managing their brand! Any business that was serious about their brand would (and should) be making it their business to find out why a “valued candidate” had such a bad experience, and doing everything in their power to fix it.

After all, you never know what reach the “valued candidate” has… !!

Written by evenitup

August 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm