Steve (akicif) wrote,

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I've said it before, but "Bloody Agencies!"

Just back from what was meant to have been an interview for a contract working on an e-learning web site for one of the local councils. Apart from a minor hiccough at the beginning, things went swimmingly. Content editing on the site is done using tools I already know (okay, I've not used that particular flavour of DreamWeaver, and I've not used ToolBook in nearly a decade), and the other bits (converting material from tutors' notes into actual deliverable courses, and being a generic tech resource and general trouble-shooting dogsbody) are things I should have no problem with at all.

The minor hiccough at the beginning was that there wasn't actually a position at all.

The whole thing seems to have resulted from an agency (no names, no pack drill, until I decide what to do about them) had got in touch with the organisation more or less out of the blue to enquire as to what they were doing that might, conceivably, need any external IT resources at some point in the future, and then converting the answer (quite off their own bat) into a job spec. They proceded to send a whole bunch of CVs of dead clever e-learning hotshots to the HR department, who replied saying that they were all too massively high-powered for what they'd likely need (in fact, they'd laid off their previous web person as there wasn't enough work for them). This resulted in the agency deciding that they needed a "more junior" person (you can visualise me bridling somewhat at this - I consider I'm pretty good at what I do) and readvertising the "position" on JobServe.

Muggins here sees the ad and fires off a CV. So far, so standard. What happened next, wasn't. Person A at the agency tells the HR guy that they've got this consultant who'd like to come in and have a brief chat about how they'd like to progress their e-learning site, while person B tells me that yes, they're really impressed with my CV and would like me to come in for interview ASAP, please.

Not having much else to do with my copious free time these days, I agree. I should have smelt at least a small rat when there was a problem finding out exactly where the interview was to take place - the office wasn't at all near the location multimap gave for the postcode and the agency were distinctly unhappy about me phoning the council for directions. Which I did, anway.

The office turned out to be about a mile down a dual carriageway from the railway station, and through the sort of houses where people look at you very oddly indeed if you happen to be wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase (reminding me of when I was mistaken for someone from Glasgow Council's collections department in Maryhill), but I'd allowed plenty of time to get there (in fact, even after spending about half an hour wandering around the area, I was still about twenty minutes early).

Anyway, the first thing the Nice HR Man says to me is that he wants to make clear that it wasn't an interview and in fact they're going through a reorganisation after which they just might be in a position to decide if they actually need to take anyone on.

Cue the rest of the conversation, which as noted above went pretty well, and a "test" which was remarkably similar to explaining how to take a screenshot of a web page and putting it into a powerpoint presentation.

I phoned the agency person almost as I left the building, and they were quite sure that they'd been told there was an actual job and such, but they did admit to having "been pro-active" and "pushing quite strongly" for an interview.

So, do I chalk it up to experience and mistrust that particular agency, or do I try and bill them for wasting my time?

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