Most of this unfortunately is not a surprise to me, as I'm sure it will be to no surprise to many of you reading it. It goes on everywhere, it's rife in London as it seems one man and his dog can become a recuiter, it takes time, experience and a seasoned approach to be able to spot them, of the 10 or so recruitment "pimps" I had contact with in adelaide, I'd say 1 maybe 2 were of any use and one of those i simply used as a factor once I actually got the position, contract and negoitiated them as a middle man becuase I did not want to deal direct with the gov, dodged a cashflow bullet on that one.
Of the 10 or so recruitment "pimps" I used in London, similar story pretty useless, marginally better than adelaide if you stick to reference and the specialist agencies, currently no pimp needed so direct.
These kind of plays by these people are survivable in a thick market with substantial programs of work underway, in a small contracting market, it must be hell, becuase they exclude, block and arbitrage their mates and best-margins into the jobs, so the experienced (read more expensive) applicants never get a look in...
Adelaide's private recruiters are listing false job advertisements, harvesting resumes to sell training and lying to candidates about their employment prospects.
Thousands of job changers and desperate job seekers are wasting their time sending online applications off for jobs that don't exist. They are grilled by recruiters about their recent job interviews, then recruiters contact those employers to try sell them their candidates. Applicants are simply 'resume meat'.
The English poet Shelley wrote, "in me lies such power, for I grow weary to behold the selfish and the strong still tyrannize without reproach or check." It's the tyranny of the few over the many as recruiters have inveigled their way, by craft and guile, to become the gatekeepers of leadership aspiration in Adelaide.
Not a day goes by without my professional writing clients venting their spleen at private recruitment and private training agents. "As low as a snake's prostate," one client spat.
In the journalistic spirit of a latter day Barbara Ehrenreich, I applied for a three-month position through a recruitment agency in Adelaide as a Senior Assessment Officer, working for the Commonwealth Government. The Government wanted 12 people to assess aged care grants across the state. It required a sound knowledge of policy and working within legal frameworks.
I was interviewed and told a week later that I had not got the job. There was no feedback. No transparency of process. No accountability. I know why I was knocked back. I'm 56 and over qualified. Qualifications and executive experience are negatives in Adelaide. That's why I run my own business.
I had previously worked for the Department of Employment in Canberra as an Associate Director in Labour Market Strategy. A core area was ensuring there were trained staff as the first wave of Boomers hit residential aged care homes.
There's also rash of online jobs boards run by current or former recruiters, who funnel resumes directly to private training organisations. They use the resumes' private contact information to sell applicants training and then get them to access their VET FEE Help accounts.
Private VET trainers (many are recruiters) have cajoled, scammed and burdened thousands of kids with unwanted VET-FEE billsfor rubbish training, delivered by people who can't teach and who are in it for the fast bucks.
It wasn't until I saw a client, Bill, in his late 20s, that I realised how far and deeply entrenched some of these scams were. Bill saw a job advertised online at OneShiftfor a warehousing position in Adelaide. He sent off his resume. Three days later he was called by 'Guy' from OneShift in Sydney, who said he had not been short listed for the job.
Guy said Bill's employment chances would 'improve drastically' if he undertook some Vocational Education and Training (VET) at a national private training provider. The cost was about three times what a TAFE program would cost and all he had to do was access his VET FEE HELP account. Bill said 'no'.
In a world where the lowest common denominator is not hard to find, private recruitershave carved out their own niche. Unfortunately, they're also not the smartest girls and guys in the room. At a recent work function I spoke to a senior recruiter in her early 30s about the emotional impact of visiting Auschwitz in Poland. She looked puzzled. 'Did you go skiing?' She was hiring executives in Adelaide.
Recruiters know very little about the competencies or capabilities of the advertised roles. Many have never been to a mine, a factory or know what an IT specialist does. If the recruiter doesn't know what the role entails, what's the point of talking to them in the first place? The brand damage to employers is incalculable.
When liberty's light falls full on recruiter's startled faces, they scatter like cockroaches and wait nervously for the danger to pass. Or else they stand like pious deacons, full of their own importance, with one hand in the client's pocket while humbugging the career aspirations of tens of thousands of South Australians.
A 2015 Four Corners program called The Jobs Game, found that some Job Service Australia (JSA) employees in Adelaide's northern suburbs put clients into courses run by the company's own registered agencies. There's no pretense of separation let alone transparency or accountability.
Some jobseekers believe JSA's have forged their signatures and turned in false paperwork. A 2012 government audit found only 40 per cent of fees paid to agencies could be verified. What happened to the other 60 percent? Australia's welfare to work program costs $1.3 billion-a-year.
Last year I emailed the reporter on the Four Corners program, Linton Besser, and he said that not one single local or Federal Government agency had done anything about it. It's a free for all with taxpayers money. One gets the distinct feeling that both the Government and the Department of Employment have put this in the 'too hard basket'.
The time is ripe for a class action by those who, with evidence in hand, are willing to tell a judge and the media how they have been abused and how this scurrilous and predatory practice has effected their life. It's time to name names.
We live in a world where corporations are judged by their partnerships. We should not support businesses who hire sharks and buffoons to traduce the character and intelligence of prospective staff. We live in a state that can only survive if we have the right people in the right jobs. We live in a time that cries out for authenticity, not deceptions; for truth, not lies.
About the Author
Malcolm King works in generational workforce change. He was an associate director at DEEWR Labour Market Strategy in Canberra and the senior communications strategist at Carnegie Mellon University. He also runs a professional writing business called Republic.