Saturday, 27 November 2010

In the Court of the Recruitment King (Censorship Lifted)

Happily Beverly (the Employment Inquisitor) and I have not crossed paths in the last few weeks. I've been hiding away from people who ask me questions like 'What are you doing with yourself at the moment?' Meaning all people. In short, I haven't left the house.

But this lonely life is occasionally punctuated by calls from people with names like 'Tracy' and 'Bella'. Astonishingly they are all from 'London's top recruitment agency' - though not, it seems, the same one. They leave endless voicemails. They really want to 'catch up with me' or 'have a good chat about what I'm really looking for'.

'Babe seriously, the company's got
great career progression.'
It's not the endless phone calls that grate (I rarely answer anyway), or Tracy and Bella's exhausting enthusiasm for jobs for which I'd apparently be 'perfect', but rather the irritating artificiality with which Trace and Bells make like we're best friends. I'm not averse to having a good weekend, or - at a push - a fabulous Friday, but I'm not keen on sharing my life's ambitions and next year's holiday plans with someone, just so they feel they've earned their commission.

But the combined persistence did pay off. Last Wednesday I found myself at a day of recruitment fun. We were instructed to arrive dressed in corporate fashion very much on time for an application day for a 'super-duper' job. The final message contained four exclamation marks and a smiley face in the subject box alone. A scam perhaps? No - just the cheery world of recruitment.

Recruitment Blueprint
It started too early and there were too many people around. And not enough lunch. The recruiters had warned that we'd be being graded on the way we interacted with the other 'candidates' (Sugar-style), so interact we did. Competitively. The fake bonhomie was retch-worthy. Someone next to me managed to speak for a full five minutes on panini choices, in a terrified attempt to appear approachable.

And then, having listed our greatest achievements, we were on to the team-work exercises. The recruiters seemed intoxicated by having so much freshly recruitable meat at their whim. They kept us from 9 until 6.30 with dictatorial delight. By the end it smacked of a junior school field weekend I once went to in Devon. Though at least we weren't forced to go 'caving'.

At last, the most pompous recruiter (the Recruitment King) asked for our attention. He called names. People wept. Sharon Osbourne made a moving speech in the corridor about how the trials we'd all been through would make us strong. I and six others were summoned into the largest conference room. A miserable looking girl in high heels (Tracy, probably) closed the door. She turned to us conspiratorially.

'Guys,' she said. (Our best friend, remember.) 'Guys, I'm sorry to say that ... unfortunately ... well ... YOU'VE GOT THE JOB.'

This, recall, is not the X Factor. Or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It was a contrived exercise in self-justification for an overpaid recruitment firm.

As the other successes started peaceably high-fiving, I found myself bemused by Tracy's galling performance. The company makes money from this.

Perhaps I should start one myself some day.


  1. why is your censored post back up? have you been f i r e d? surely not!

  2. changed it a bit + manned up. it's not that rude really x

  3. I had a ploughman's lunch the other day....he wasn't very happy.