Time to give something back

Earlier this year, Sam Carroll of Clearcut Recruitment, began speaking to me about some of the frustrations she was experiencing.  Through no fault of their own, some candidates she had seen had been unemployed for a while.  They had lost confidence and the advice they had been given was simply not from the real World.  Sam decided to do something about it.  She had the brainwave to set up a free initiative to help unemployed people back to work with practical advice.  She knocked on doors but found the response distinctly disappointing.  Undeterred, she arranged a meeting with her MP, Anne Main – which is where I joined the party.

Together we outlined our plans to set up a workshop to give commercial advice to unemployed job seekers.  Our first workshop took place on 25th March 2014, at the premises of the Shaw Trust.  We were delighted with the response

The frustrations of being unemployed

While our job seekers had very different reasons for finding themselves unemployed, they all had the same frustrations:

  • They were forced to apply for every job going, even if they did not have the right skills or any interest in that role.  No wonder so many employers shy away from placing roles with Job Centres, fearful of being swamped with CVs.
  • They rarely got feedback from interviews.  Not knowing where they went wrong, they did not know how to improve for the future.
  • They were being advised to take any personality out of their CVs.  Strangely, this included being told not to put their address on a CV.  I understand the need for data protection but surely if you are applying for a local job, the recruiter needs to know where you are based?

The most shocking thing I heard though was from a lady looking for work as an administrator.  She needed to use a stick to walk.  Apparently, someone at the Job Centre had asked her if could “do without it at interviews”.  What on Earth did her use of a stick have to do with her ability to work as an administrator?


The Want to Work Initiative

Sam and I were able to give advice, tips and hints on looking for work.  We talked about how to be a proactive job seeker, what to do with your CV, how to prepare for an interview, the interview itself and how to follow things up.  We gave practical, real World advice based on our own experience that everyone on the course appreciated.

I was able to tell people the things that put me off candidates from “the other side of the desk”.  My top 5 pet hates are:

  • no evidence to support bland statements, eg “good communicator”
  • confusing, lengthy or badly laid out CVs
  • poor spelling or grammar
  • no effort to prepare
  • being late and not calling ahead

What now?

Our attendees are already putting things into practice.  One had an interview that afternoon and reported that he had “used the final questions in his interview and extracted more information than the interviewer had intended to reveal about the ideal candidate”.  We are eagerly waiting news.  Another candidate has already secured a job offer, which is absolutely fantastic.

We are going to be following their progress closely over the next 12 weeks.  We will be calling them to keep them on track and to offer further advice where needed. 

Thank you to…

Thank you to the Shaw Trust for their support and for kindly donating the use of their training room.  Thank you also to Daymedia, who kindly offered to donate their services to design a logo for the future.  Thank you to Sam at Clearcut Recruitment for getting me involved in such a worthwhile project.  Finally, thank you also to all those that came along and for giving us such great feedback.  We wish you all the very best of luck in your job seeking!

Categories Uncategorized