I must admit, I’ve had a reasonably easy ride since landing on England’s soil. Most ex-pats experience a few excruciating weeks jumping from hostel to hostel in 28-bed rooms, curled up on their bunk at 3.00 am and desperately applying for flats on Gum Tree while an Irish couple have drunken sex on the bed below.
I was also fortunate enough to not settle in ex-pat hotspots Shepherd’s Bush or Clapham Junction. I really don’t see the point in moving to another country and then relocating to a community where everyone is either an Aussie or a Kiwi. Plus, they are quite terribly located at the fringes of London’s Heart. And they also kind of sound like third-rate brothels.
Not only was I was fortunate enough for my accommodation to have been sorted out for me, my boyfriend waiting with glee, but he had secured a flat in Shoreditch – the heart of mustard chinos, quiffs and military boots – with three quirky, queer Brit boys.
Getting a home is tough and I was lucky I didn’t need to arrange it, but I also met some migration milestones on my own. Before I left Australia, I had already arranged to have interviews with three different recruiters in the first two days of my arrival. Over zealous with naive enthusiasm, I arranged to meet a recruiter at 3pm, having arrived in London at 5.30am on the same day, leading to a severe jet-laggathon a few days later.
A few days later I also managed to charm my way into opening a bank account without any knock-backs or interrogations, I bought a sim card with a UK telecom provider, and I joined a gym that had half price memberships for February.
I was on a roll!
My first three meetings with recruiters were invigorating. Each one greeted me with a warm welcome, indicated their shared enthusiasm for my exciting new step in my life and praised me for my good-natured enthusiasm. They also each told me that they were “very impressed” with my experience, I was coming over at the “right moment” in my career and that, even though the market was tough, they were “certain that I would get a job very quickly.”
After these first three meetings I was giddy with recruiter compliments and I was ready to meet more! I figured, the more recruiters I met, the more chances I had of securing a job.
However, after 2.5 weeks meeting with some 10 to 15 recruiters, the whole thing started getting tiresome. And soon, I noticed a trend. As with the first three, each recruiter would greet me and tell me how DELIGHTED they were to meet and what FANTASTIC experience I had. They would follow this by telling me that the market is not great, but they had a FEW FIRMS IN MIND that they would like to touch base with to see if these firms were interested. Foolishly, after each any every meeting, I would think, “that’s it, this is the one that will get me a job!”
How foolish was I.
Personally, I thought that with a career like recruitment, it would be imperative to keep in contact with your clients, answers your client’s calls or emails relatively quickly, make sure your client’s are happy and feeling secure, and ultimately try to place your clients in a job. That’s how they get commission, right?
SO WHY WON’T THEY ANSWER MY FUCKING CALLS?
But seriously, this perplexes me. Look, I understand that recruiters aren’t miracle workers and they can’t get me an interview for a job that doesn’t exist. However, if I email or call and ask for an update or just a general chat, I expect that, as a client who has signed up for their services, they could be decent enough to answer my communication attempts. No?
To be fair, they haven’t all been bad. One placed me in a temporary job for a couple of days. Another one got me two interviews (for jobs I presume I didn’t get, as I never heard from them again). And another one completely revamped my CV. That is service! But why should I be impressed by these 3 recruiters who have simply done their job? Because the other 12 haven’t. That’s some pretty shitty odds.
Word on the street among the other unemployed ex-pats is that some of the recruiters have to meet a quota of signing up a certain number of people with their agency each week. So, once people come into the office and sign bullshit agreement for their “services” they do everything in their power to never speak to you again. It sounds like a really full proof business model.
SO WHY WON’T THEY ANSWER MY FUCKING CALLS?
Because they don’t have to. In this market, they have thousands upon thousands of applicants to choose from in their recruitment pool and if I don’t fit their bill at any moment in time, they don’t want to know me any more. At least not until their computer spits me out as being an appropriate candidate. There is no need to treat their clients with respect once they are in the system because they know that every sucker is desperate for a job and jump at the chance with any recruiter, even if that recruiter has been a Grade-A Asshole for the past month.
So for now, I sit in my flat in my flannel jim-jams, watching Man vs Food for the 7th time this week, trawling the internet for jobs, cursing the Recruiter Gods and yet waiting by the phone for their call like a battered wife. And as I watch Adam Richman shove a ten pound burger into his gigantic face, I think, why the hell is he the one with the job and I’m the one mooching on the couch. Seriously! I can’t believe some one is paying him for that shit! And yet I watch on…
I’ve recently started to try and think of alternative career paths. Or at least, alternative jobs to tide me over and pay for my bills. If only someone would pay me to blog. Who knows, Rolling Stone could call me at any moment: “You wrote the Chronicles of Creepy Pants? Dude! We love that blog! It’s way better than watching a fat man eat unhealthy amounts of food! We want you to write our next feature article on Radiohead!”
It could totally happen.
I have an abundance of checkered shirts. Perhaps it’s time to consider bartending.