This week’s letters

Ageism is alive and well in HR

I feel compelled to write about the state of recruitment today. I want to
share with you how it feels to be over 40 years of age and looking for work and
how you are treated by HR departments and recruitment agencies.

I strongly believe there is a real problem with ageism and poor
communication within the HR profession. I lost my job as a manager of an
internet company six months ago. It ran out of money and suddenly went bust.
However, I consider myself to have had a successful career working my way up to
senior management positions prior to that.

It has been the most difficult six months of my life and it’s hard to
explain the stress of trying to find a job. But it isn’t the financial
restraints that are the worst problem – it’s the lack of communication by
recruitment agencies and HR departments.

To date, I have applied for 439 jobs. I have had 182 replies, 13 interviews
and four shortlistings. Most have been through recruitment agencies but I could
only recommend one at a push.

I have been told on no less than eight occasions that I am too old to apply
for a position. I watched a member of staff in one well-known agency going
through a large pile of CVs doing nothing but circling ages. When I asked her
what she was doing, she replied: "I have to pull out anyone over 40 as the
client will not consider them for the vacancy."

The worst thing is the lack of communication. If you apply for jobs directly
with companies, you never hear anything. Furthermore, in six cases I have had
to ring up a company after I have had an interview with them to find out what
is going on.

Finally, in this e-enabled world, why is it that I have only ever had three
replies from 47 jobs applications via the web?

At 46 years of age I have more enthusiasm and determination than ever
before, so why am I being ignored?

Name and address withheld

Career advice falls way too short

Your panel of experts failed to give a recent enquiry ‘Can I change from
manager to HR?’ a decent response (Careerwise, 12 March).

I would ask Peter Sell, joint managing director of DMS Consultancy, what
chance this person would have of getting on to the CIPD professional assessment
scheme with the sort of CV he is suggesting they prepare.

I would ask Tony Clarke, senior consultant of Macmillan Davies Hodes, what
hope this person would have in applying to a recruitment agency for a job in
which they were not already a specialist.

I would ask Peter Lewis,consultant at Chiumento, how he expected the person
to handle the continued rejection they would inevitably face if they followed
his plan.

None of the experts got anywhere near giving any real careers advice to this
person. Come on Personnel Today, provide the readers with real red meat to get
their teeth into rather than these milky ‘write a CV’ type of careers approach.
Anybody who has really faced the difficulties of career change knows this is
not where to start.

Les Simpson
Operations director, JMPS

Agencies lacking in basic courtesy

I read with great interest the comment piece by Chris Matchan (Comment, 19

I am a personnel manager with more than 20 years’ experience and have been
looking for a new position for several months. I am realistic in my demands and
am willing to keep my options open when looking for a new position.

In view of this I have registered with several well-known recruitment
agencies for both permanent and interim assignments and have found their
attitude and treatment less than professional.

It has been my experience that their staff ring you up and present an opportunity
and then badger you constantly until they can arrange an interview. Once this
has been accomplished they fail to contact you at all and eventually you have
to ring them to find out what you already suspect – you have been unsuccessful.
In some cases I am still waiting to hear whether or not I have been successful
for jobs I applied for six months ago.

The courtesy and professionalism required to tell you that you were not
successful does not seem to be part of their function. I always ensure job
applicants are advised of the outcome as soon as possible as I appreciate how
important it is for them to have an answer as soon as possible and move on.

I would appreciate being treated in the same way and hope that any agency
staff who read this letter bear this in mind when dealing with their clients.

Michelle Bailey
Group personnel manager, Crown Group

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