Douglas, a good friend of mine called me to say that he needed to speak to me about a problem he was having finding work. He said if he didn't speak to someone soon he would probably find the nearest sky scrapper, climb to the top and jump off. Douglas was a real high flyer (forgive the pun), he'd held executive positions in 4 out of 5 of the top blue chip banking organisations in the UK, but after taking time out to have a nervous breakdown, had recently taken voluntary redundancy. Not being the kind of guy to bunker in and dumb down for years, he thought he'd try and secure employment back as a business analyst.
Well, first off, no one wanted him back in the banking business. No one said it, but, well perhaps he was too much of a risk - given he'd has a full on nervous breakdown. After six months of lonely, unsuccessful job searching following the "Pull up your Parachute" How to get a job book, Douglas decided to throw himself at half a dozen recruitment agents. After a few weeks of discussion and umpteen reconfigurations of his Resume, Douglas finally was invited to interview for four BA posts.
His agents were extremely well spoken, upstanding (looking anyway) positive in their approach and promised that with his background, the whole thing would be a breeze.
After two hours driving he arrived at the First interview where he was pumped for as much information on the competition as time would allow, the result being that the agent informed him that the employer had decided to review the role further and would be in touch shortly. He didn't hear back!
Second interview, he was pumped for as much information as possible on past employers, the result - he was told that the recruitment agent in question had resigned and no record existed to support his interview. Six weeks later he received an email from the same agent, but now working for a different agency. Even more worrying was the email contained 300 other addresses for business analysts, which had obviously been borrowed from the candidate database of the original agency.
Third interview, he was pumped for as much information as possible on past projects, the result - he was told by the recruitment agent that they were unable to get any response back from the hiring company and he never ever heard from them again.
Fourth interview, he turned up, but they said he must have the interview dates mixed up, he called the agent but they were away from their desk and the colleagues said they would call back. He never heard back from them again.
£200 later, stripped of self-esteem and racked with major anxiety and stress Douglas gave up and gave me the call.
Poor old Douglas I felt. Better make sure i've got plenty of scotch in the cabinet when he arrives.
To cut a long story short, Douglas finally secured employment with a leading investment bank in London. He is now Head of Outsourcing where he definately does not invite the four recruitment agents mentioned above to tender for major contracts.