I have been working in Australia now for 5 months and have been moving around quite a lot so the best type of work to suit me was temping work. This as far as I can see can only be gotten through recruitment agencies unless you are very lucky to find something else. I am trained in administration in the fianance sector so office work was what I wanted to do as I knew it well.
When looking for a job anywhere in the world through recruitment agencies it is best to sign up with as many as you possibly can. Some companies use the same recruitment agencies over and over again and some specialise in certain areas, but unless you are signed up with them the job will not come looking for you.
**HOW TO SIGN UP WITH AN AGENCY**
Ok so you have decided you want a job and generally you have exhausted every type of media to look for one, whether it is the internet or newspapers. You can find out about recruitment agencies through word of mouth (I asked in the hostels I stayed in), advertisements (billboards or notices in magazines or newspapers) and the internet (either through a search engine like Google or a recruitment website). You will either ring yourself or if you have applied online for a job the recruitment agency will contact you.
So you have made an appointment to meet with the recruitment agency what next? Well you will be given a place and time to meet. You will have to bring some form of ID as you could be anyone, your National Insurance number (in Australia it’s a Tax file number), your CV and proof of your qualifications.
You treat this meeting as an interview, it’s not generally as formal and you can relax more. I would advise you turn your mobile off and wear a suit or business like clothing if possible. The person you meet will give you a brief introduction to the recruitment agency. You will have to fill in a registration form which generally takes 10 minutes (at the most). This will be general details and maybe some general questions as a starting point. You will then be told what the agency expects from you. Then they will go through your CV step by step asking questions and making notes when they are unclear. They will ask you their own set of questions to help them determine what your goals are, what you want from a job and what type of job you are looking for.
Some testing comes next which is short tests to determine your skills and capabilities. As I wanted to do an office based job I had to do typing, data entry, word processing (how well I could navigate around the system), excel and access. This will vary depending on what area you want to work in. I have to admit I found these tests quite hard and scored a lot less than I would have expected. You are not allowed to use short cuts on how to do things and this baffled me completely. Each test takes generally takes 30 minutes to an hour to do. It doesn’t matter is you do badly, but the better your results the more job opportunities will be opened to you. They will let you re-do the tests again if you feel you can do better.
The person who you are dealing with will then look at your results and assess what jobs would be suitable for you that they currently are recruiting for. You will be told about them and asked if you would like to take the job or in some cases you will have to go for an interview or an informal chat with the employer. I was always given a basic description of my role and what the company did and my pay rate per hour.
If you decide to take the job sometimes you will have to complete health and safety modules with the recruitment agency and some basic training and skills which you will find useful. Once this is done you start your job and no more job hunting yeah!
If you chose not to take the first job they offer you the recruitment agency will keep in contact with you. Depending on how good the recruitment agency is (which varies) will determine how much they keep in contact with you. Some of the recruitment agencies I was signed up to rang me every other day to see how my job searching was going, others I never heard from again. Either way you are kept on their books and they will continue to look for a job for you.
I have mixed feelings about the recruitment agencies that I have dealt with so far. It suited me perfectly as I wanted short term temping work. This meant it was on a first come first serve basis as long as you had the basic skills needed. As I went through the recruitment agencies it meant I didn’t have to trawl through advertisements and the internet trying to work out which jobs was permanent and which ones where for a short period of time.
It meant that I didn’t have to explain to every employer I had applied for a job with that I am a traveler and I will not be staying in town for a long period of time. It saved me a lot of hassle. If I was at home it would save the stress of having to look up jobs everyday as you know that someone else is doing it for you.
You will be given a job that’s hopefully better suited for you and your wants/needs. You won’t be told about jobs that are not applicable for you.
If the recruitment agency has a good reputation and you have proved yourself to them, you may be put forward for a job you may otherwise would not have gotten an interview for or even applied for.
Generally I think you are out of employment less if you go through recruitment agencies as they find you work quicker than you generally can find it yourself.
Some jobs are only available by going through recruitment agencies as companies do not advertise themselves as they don’t want the hassle of interviewing and selecting people.
Well there are a few disadvantages and the first one (especially if its was a long term or permanent job) would be money which I feel would be the most important. Agencies will take a cut of your pay and it can work out to be quite a tidy sum so they make off you. This can make you resent them as you feel that you are working to line their pockets, this leaving a bad relationship between you and them as you feel they are profiting for you working.
Some agencies just take a fee off the company you are working for or a one off fee. Make sure you read your contract with the recruitment agency and make sure they are not ripping you off. Each agency has different policies and ways of charging to make a profit.
This is not always the case but some recruitment agencies are hard to deal with. Their staff can be rude and make you feel that your skills are rubbish. They can mess you around with jobs and then give the job to someone else. False information about a job can be given to you.
An example of this is, well I’m in Australia, I have a quite broad accent which Australian’s sometimes find hard to make out so I request that I don’t want to have any telephone duties in my role as it would frustrate myself and the employers clients. So I’m given this job, assured there are no telephone duties and think great no more job hunting. I arrive early for my first day and spend all morning on the reception on a switchboard. I nearly cried no-one could understand me and I had never used a switchboard before so was having difficulty trying to work that over never mind any more complications.
It made me feel really bad as I was unable to do the job correctly. This in my opinion was really bad management on the agencies part. They just wanted to fill the job quickly as the previous girl they had send had left abruptly, so they were only looking after themselves and not my needs.
Some agents only care about their reputation and not your needs so they will do what benefits them most and not you. This is not always the case as I have worked for some excellent agencies who have treated me great, but I had to learn to be firm about what I wanted as sometimes it felt like they were begging me to do a job I didn’t want to do by saying ‘sure your travelling you need the money’. I found this very annoying, insulting and it used to frustrate me so much! My advice is to learn to say “no thank you that would not suit me, I want a ….. type of job”.
You will spend a considerable amount of time signing up to agencies you will never use. This used to annoy me so much I knew I wouldn’t use the 30 agencies I had signed up with in Sydney or the 20 in Brisbane but unfortunately it had to be done. I did find agencies advertised jobs and when I rang them the job wasn’t there anymore someone else had got it but they made you come in and sign up anyway. To me it seemed like the job was never there and they used this as a technique to get people in the door to sign up.
I feel that recruitment agencies have their good and bad points. Maybe the bad outweigh the good it depends on your situation. If I was applying for a permanent job I would use them as a last resort personally, but if you stress out and mess up interviews this may be the way for you.
Further reading on why to travel
Here is some information about my Gap year
If you want to check out some of my travels in Australia they can be found below
Or if you fancy New Zealand tips