Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘government jobs

Even It Up! meets SA Minister

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Even It Up! likes to take advantage of opportunities to get amongst it, and when an opportunity to meet SA Government Ministers at a Community Cabinet meeting arose (to get some face time), we wasted no time in completing our deputation form.

Issues of concern were: the recruitment industry (how can this we regulated?) and government recruitment practices (how can this be made easier/fairer so more people from “outside” are encouraged to apply?).  We were assigned Minister Jay Weatherill.

We were given 15 minutes to speak to the Minister and we told him the purpose of Even It Up! and gave him a package of information including Even It Up! stories submitted by our members.  He read through them with interest, and said while public service was his brief, this was an industrial relations issues, and would certainly pass this information on to the Minister concerned.

A couple of salient points that Minister Weatherill made (which showed he got what we were about) were :

  • employees are looked after (in terms of legislation) once they are in the workplace, but not before
  • most of this issues seemed to be about process/communication driven (i.e. people don’t mind if they don’t get the job as long as the are treated well and respectfully – we quoted Maya Angelou at this point)
  • that the view of the public service is a brand management issue (people will tell their friends/family etc. about their experience and this could affect image)
  • there was a review of public service recruitment, and he was interested to see whether this was filtering through to actual practice.

One of his aides wondered if it was a gender issue, and we advised it was across the board, and  that there were similar patterns and trends emerging from stories which were submitted by different and distinct individuals.

The Minister gave us a copy of the public service recruitment handbook for our records (we tried to source this online, but no luck).  Minister Weatherill then said he would get back to me on this issue… and we are pretty sure he will, so we’ll keep you posted.

We mentioned that we wanted to work with the government on these issues, and that the goal for Even It Up! was not to exist.  If we didn’t exist, then that would mean jobseekers were treated fairly and with respect by both direct employers and recruitment companies.  Having said that, we’ll be around for a while, by the looks of things!


Written by evenitup

April 1, 2009 at 7:58 am

Some respect for referees, please!

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A friend of ours recently applied for a government role in middle management.  She made it through a gruelling first interview, and then had a second, which was much more informal – a casual chat over coffee (it was to be with the CEO, but that never happened!).  She was told by the recruitment company she was the front-runner, and that that the organisation was keen (although over coffee, they implied that their preference was for a man.  We are pretty sure that’s illegal, but that’s another story!)

Anyway, the recruitment company proceeded to check our friend’s references.  Now we all know that referees themselves undergo an interview when they agree to speak on someone’s behalf.  Often, the conversation can be anywhere up to 30 or 40 minutes, depending on how indepth the questioning is.  Our friend’s referees were prominent, high level businesspeople who took time out of their very busy day to provide information, and from all accounts, the reference check on our friend was glowing.

In the end, our friend was not offered the position.  She feels embarrassed and quite humiliated because she has to go back to her referees and say thanks, but she wasn’t successful.  The sad thing is – this story is not unique.

We’d like to strongly suggest – out of respect for jobseekers and their referees – that references not be checked unless the employer is actually serious about offering the role to someone.  To jobseekers we say: withhold those references until the very last possible moment! 


Written by evenitup

December 3, 2008 at 12:02 am

Posted in References

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