Friday, August 22, 2014

The beauty of research. A list of the top ten sites.

The too good to be true offers - we've all had them. We're looking for something and think we find it online and then we investigate and often waste gas and time on a hoax. This is not specifically about online purchases but more online deals and more specifically employment. All photographers need a main job to supplement their hobby job of photography.

Research is what is needed and to aid with that, the internet has a veritable plethora of review websites ranging in prowess from good to abysmal. These are two sample reviews that were located today (August 14th).

Without naming any agencies, the following are comments seen online:
  • <agency name removed> are temp staffing agencies in the Portland and Beaverton area. They require lengthy at-home testing programs from your personal computer that require downloading of their programs on all Microsoft office skills testing. After you have completed the alpha-numeric, typing and ten-key tests, you are taken to the Microsoft testing.  Unfortunately, as my computer did, it refused to allow such a program and came with a warning that this program "may be harmful to your computer" and not to proceed. Which I did not. Then, a phone number is given so that you may "report a problem". You simply reach that receptionist, who tells you that you can come into the office for testing. Since I have no Microsoft skills, that would likely be a waste of time. With a 4 yr college degree and over 20 years experience in my field, there's no way I'm about to play their game. Especially when the job I was being referred to was already listed with Oregon Employment Dept, for free. the receptionist at <agency name removed> (a male) told me that the clients they refer people to require that those tests be taken. What a LIAR! I called the clients directly and they told me that they do not require anything more than a resume and interview. I am done with temps as they all seem to be pathological liars.
  • I submitted my application one morning and a few hours later, I received a phone call to schedule an interview for the position that I applied to. During the phone call, they told me to dress professional and to be there for a specific time. I wore some nice black slacks, a button down polo, and some black dress shoes. During my interview, the HR woman told me that I would not be a good candidate because it was a dirty job. I went on to tell her how I have worked on oil rigs and railroads. She mentioned other job openings on the telephone but during the interview, she was eager to let me know that I was too clean for the mechanic job, and apparently, she forgot about all of the other job postings. She also told me that since I had majored in music on an online program, that I would also be unfit for the mechanic position. I just feel like I was totally stereotyped! After my experience and reading other reviews, I see that I made a mistake trying to find a job through them.
There are many such stories littering the internet - tales of woe about companies. The whole point is though that they're searchable. Research before spending money on fuel and time. Only the other day, somebody rang from an agency in Spartanburg. No message was left on the answerphone which was curious. After calling them, it was apparently essential that an interview be attended. Never once was the position mentioned. Upon enquiry it transpired that it was a position that was entirely unsuitable. Then the research was done. Many had complained about that agency calling to interview people for jobs that either didn't exist or that were unsuitable. In fact there was a litany of complaints - all recorded online. 

Care has to be exercised reading both negative and positive reviews. Because one person, one time had a bad experience does not mean the company is bad. They could have had a bad day and the recruiter could have had a bad day. People, being human, do have both good and bad days. Similarly good and bad staff come and go.

To read reviews constructively, ask two questions:
  • Has the reviewer potentially been the problem with unrealistic expectations?
  • How recent is the review? If it's over 6 months ago and there are no fresh negative reviews, does it represent the current state of the business?
Returning to the plethora of review websites, the following is a list that is generally pretty good
  11. <-- This is a BONUS link. This is very useful for checking up on phone numbers of who called. If it comes up as VOIP or mobile and it's supposed to be a business, forget it. It's not genuine.
There are other sites but that's a generally pretty decent line up of what are probably the top ten - in no particular order. Before you rush off now to write your angry review, stop. Think about it. Your review could be the review that drives the company out of business and puts everybody out of work. Your angry review now could be regretted bitterly in the future. Be careful with reviews as some are not removable. Your name, your signature on a review could lead to legal action by the business or individual concerned. Be careful.

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