Warning to all students! Agencies - Beware!

welshwizard Registered Posts: 465 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
I have been trying (in vain it seems) to get employment within the accounting field since finishing my Technician exams this June. I applied for more than 50 jobs - all with 2 'reputable' employment agencies - temporary and permanent. Today I received confirmation of what I thought was happening - agencies do not regard AAT NVQ studiers (who are able to choose to study full time) as viable candidates for employment. This agency (NOW Accountancy) obviously does not feel that people who change their career direction are suitable - indeed, they told me in an email today:

"At present we would be unable to consider you for any of our positions unless we specifically advertise for candidates who are studying, or have studied the AAT that possess little or no experience." - All their jobs (no matter what level require experience (the old Catch 22 situation rears its ugly head again).

This agency is big - one of the biggest - and this is the sort of cr*ppy comment that we more mature candidates have directed at us - it's about time the AAT helped more to get people into employment in this field - especially for those of us who live away from Manchester and London (where all the jobs seems to be advertised on the AAT site. Surely even the most low-paid ledger job would not be beyond my capabilities!

I believed, and still do, that the AAT NVQ pathway is a great, practical way of learning - suited to more mature people because it teaches you how it is done - not the theory behind it. The NVQ pathway teaches practical skills for a practical career and agencies should recognise this and radically adjust their recruitment policies.

I am registered with 2 agencies - one (Reed) never takes or returns my calls and showed little hope for me getting employment when I registered and the other just send me emails containing the words above. I have a BTEC HND in Business, a degree in Business, line management experience and now practical accounting skills - yet because I have a family, need a guaranteed income and cannot consider setting up my own practice (I live in the land of the accountants near Cardiff), I am forced to be treated like dirt by so-called reputable agencies.

I am so angry and wonder now whether I should have run up huge debts and done the ACCA instead (AAT was free because I did it full-time in College).

So the moral of the story? Don't think that agencies will be aware of the benefits of studying the AAT courses. Don't think you'll get a job easily. Don't think that they will help you break into this new career you've worked so hard for.

I know this may sound like I am whinging - blaming someone else for me not getting work, but because I am continually not getting acknowledgements and feed-back for many applciations, I believe it is time that something was said here. I believe the British employment agencies should start treating people better - answer the phones, answer the mails, answer the questions. Give feedback to applicants, tell them why they haven't been successful and never, ever write people off in the way that the one agency has so clearly done to me.

I have references from tutors who say I am a model student and would be a superb asset to any business - one even offered me a job teaching if I could get a teaching qualification - so I do not believe that these agenices have even requested references let alone read them!

I read here: http://www.accountingtechnician.co.uk/atonline/your_career/display/store694/item8382/
that "The AAT Accounting Qualification is more popular than ever and is well-respected by employers. " - all I can say is not here in South Wales!

Come on, someone give me a break - AAT ofificials, if you read this, try telling the agencies (big, big agencies) that the AAT qualifications are not just letters, they do not represent a candidate's ability to remember something. The AAT qualification represents hard work, requiring the practical application of knowledge. AAT students are fully equipped to perform any function within a finance role and the agencies should be reminded of this. Finally, help people throughout Britain gain employment once they have finished their studies.

That's it, I've finished ranting. I just don't know where else to turn now.


  • jorja1986
    jorja1986 Registered Posts: 210 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    I have thought the above for years.

    I can believe that you have been treated that rubbish. I was messed about wih interviews, had my CV changed for me until it was all lies. Very unprofessional.

    The NVQ by many, I hasten to add not all, employers is not taken seriously. They thnk it is an "easy" option and do no take candidates seriously. Truth is I have been told by a large accountants I worked for that they seek NVQ students as many deree students, again not all, think tey are alot more important than the are and are not worth what they expect to be paid. That they can not even balance a basic TB or even understand how a income statement works.

    Keep trying welshwizard. Try all agencies in your area and keep badgering until you getsomewhere. :thumbup:
  • ambitious
    ambitious Banned User Posts: 93 Regular contributor ⭐

    I can sympathise with you on your current situation. I'm from Cardiff myself and find the agencies are not interested but they have told me the market is quiet at the moment which is normal for the summer. I'm amazed you can't at least get a temp job doing accounts. That defies belief. I'm registered with NOW accountancy myself and they not called me in 2 years. Great job search skills they have eh ?

    My only suggestion to you is to keep calling them everyday until they get fed up. It would be a good strategy to take at this time and their excuses to not find you work are pathetic. Also with reed, go on their website, register, post your CV and apply for as many jobs as you can.

    One agency called Nigel Lynn Associates in Bristol refused to find me work becasue I never had a permanent job before which was idiotic to say the least. And I think agencies advertise a lot of fake jobs that have nice descriptions but don't exist. That said I'm losing my job in 2 weeks - due to disgraceful interviewing and favouratism - so I too will need to find work with the "help" of agencies. How reassuring.

    Makes me wonder who does get these jobs ?
  • Melt
    Melt Registered Posts: 23 New contributor 🐸
    Hi Everyone,

    I know exactly how you all feel - I've recently decided on a change of career so I'm studying the foundation year of the AAT, but I'm finding it impossible to get a job - either directly or through agencies - because I have no experience.

    It's a really frustrating position to be in and I'm thinking about giving up on the AAT altogether after this year because what is the point in spending all that money and effort getting the qualification if no one will give you a chance to use it??

    But as an ex-recruitment consultant, I feel I have to stick up for the recruiters to some extent. At the end of the day, they are working on behalf of their clients and can't force them to take people with no experience if they don't want them. And trust me, the recruiters would find jobs for absolutely every candidate that walks through their doors if they could because they earn commission on every placement. So it looks to me that it's the end employers who need to adjust their attitudes to candidates with minimal experience but who have proved their worth by gaining or beginning the AAT qualification - give us a chance!!

    Having said that, the agencies that you guys have written about do sound like their communication skills could be better! To just not ever hear from them is rubbish and these people are probably in the wrong job - maybe one day they'll decide on a career change and struggle like we all seem to be!! Karma!
  • mark130273
    mark130273 Registered Posts: 4,234 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    well it just does prove my theory on agencies.........i always thought they want you to met them and tell them everything but do f**k all about it...been with about 6 in my time and all i have had out of it was and payroll junion for minimum wage?? yeh right ?
  • JayneHogan
    JayneHogan Registered Posts: 697 Epic contributor 🐘
    Hi WelshWizard,

    I went to a careers evening recently in London and got talking to an AAT and ACCA qualified accounting lecturer who had been successfully teaching AAT while she paid her way through ACCA. The approach was to take on voluntary work doing an organisations books while she paid her way through ACCA using her teaching skills to teach AAT. At the careers event this candidate approached the recruitment consultants there with two well respected accounting qualifications, teaching experience and also the invaluable experience of having done a company's accounts voluntarily. Simple but effective technique of taking control of the situation and finding a solution. Needless to say the evening was a positive experience for this candidate as she was so well prepared. Why don't you try this method? Teaching is very rewarding and could build up your experience especially if you do a company's accounts voluntarily.


  • Bluewednesday
    Bluewednesday Registered Posts: 1,624 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ

    I am so angry and wonder now whether I should have run up huge debts and done the ACCA instead (AAT was free because I did it full-time in College).

    I can promise you that on other forums there are ACCA affiliates (passed all exams but no work experience) who are experiencing exactly the same thing. In a way they are worse off because at some point you will be considered for purchase/sales ledger jobs but an ACCA affiliate would turn their nose up at it (wrongly - I am not belittling those jobs, I started that way myself) and would unlikely be considered as they would appear over qualified.

    I can't blame the recruitment agencies, it's not their fault that firms are asking for work experience but I do sympathise with your chicken and egg dilemma.

    Have you tried doing some voluntary work in what little spare time you may have. That may set you apart from other candidates and be enough. That was how I got my break although I appreciate that you have a family etc. I have 2 children and my earnings are now becoming a necessary in the current financial climate so I know what you mean!

    Good luck - I'm sure something will come through for you soon.
  • welshwizard
    welshwizard Registered Posts: 465 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    Thanks to everyone for their views/support I am glad it's not only me that has been a victim of these so called service organisations. I have it on very good authority that it's not the employers that require experience but the agencies themselves who stiulate this - often it is better to train someone yourself rather than rely on an unknown trainer.

    Hi Blue Wednesday
    I already run the treasury for two churches and have a year's experience (albeit limited) runnign a small sales ledger. I don't know what other volunteering I can do.
  • aatfree
    aatfree Registered Posts: 86 Regular contributor ⭐
    Agencies are useless and make up jobs in my experience. NVQs are not highly regarded by lots of employers. The only exception to this is the NVQs which are backed & administered by a professional body i.e. AAT.

    Have you applied for work independently of the agency? What about the public sector? www.jobs.ac.uk has all the university type jobs. I usually run a search by click admin & support, then selecting finance. Does the job have to be in wales?
  • Bluewednesday
    Bluewednesday Registered Posts: 1,624 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    Hi Blue Wednesday
    I already run the treasury for two churches and have a year's experience (albeit limited) runnign a small sales ledger. I don't know what other volunteering I can do.

    Have you had any interviews or are you not even getting that far.

    I would have thought that a year running a sales ledger is more than adequate for sales and purchase ledger jobs where things can progress from there.

    You are right, don't think you can fit any more voluntary work in and you are doing exactly the right sort of voluntary work too.
  • welshwizard
    welshwizard Registered Posts: 465 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    Not one interview has been offered - my advice - avoid REED and NOW Accountancy in Cardiff - Reed finally spoke to me today and the woman there said I had no chance of getting a job. That's it, 41 and recently retrained, and unemployable in the finance industry.

    I wish I'd taken cake decorating like some of us joked about at college!
  • ambitious
    ambitious Banned User Posts: 93 Regular contributor ⭐
    I don't believe your "unemployable" in the finance industry. Welshwizard have you tried Hays in Cardiff ? Reed in Cardiff - I could even guess who you spoke to but I won't embarass them for now - are very very notorious for not people in the right jobs. I got given data entry work despite my finance work experience. Horrible job I only lasted 2 days! Welshwizard the only other suggestion I can make is that you could visit them, with a CV and let them say that to your face. I doubt they would. It's too easy to say horrible things over the telephone or internet.
  • A-Vic
    A-Vic Registered Posts: 6,970 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    Well maybe am one of the lucky or unlucky ones which ever way you look at it whom have been taken one by a number of agencies - who happen to say am underpaid in my current employment then send my to rediculas interviews for jobs that have made it perfectly clear i am not what they are looking for in a candidate (because i havnt worked in industry) ?? ive worked in private practise (accountancy) for 3.5 years?

    Only advice i can say is look either on large organisations web sites or job centre plus.
  • Thomasl1
    Thomasl1 Registered Posts: 43 Regular contributor ⭐
    I couldn't agree more with these posts. I currently work as an admin assistant within a cashiers section of a local authority in South Wales and I have just completed the Intermediate level of AAT. I have joined Now Accountancy about a year ago and have no contact from them whatsoever. I also applied to a different agency this week (A Plus Appointments) who basically told me that because I had no experience in Accounts then they couldnt help me at all.

    I agree its that Catch 22 case of how to get experience if nobody will give you a chance. I'm desperate to put into practise the skills I've learnt within the AAT, but I just cannot get the opportunity. I would love to do bookkeeping/treasury as voluntary work as written in the last issue fo AAT magazine, but cannot find any companies or clubs that need this service at the moment. It really is annoying me at the moment, but I will persevere and continue to send out CV's and Letters until someone will give me the opportunity to gain some experience.


    p.s. Hello everyone, this is my first post on here. :)
  • farmergiles
    farmergiles Registered Posts: 1,693 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    Has anyone thought about trying their local parish/town council for work as an assistant clerk?(paid or unpaid) Most Parish clerks are over worked and would probably welcome some help, and if you want to go on to CIPFA, this would give you a good grounding. Parish clerks also have their own NVQ (Cilca) and this may give you another string to your bow. Just a thought.
  • whos that girl
    whos that girl Registered Posts: 28 Regular contributor ⭐
    yes i also beleave that agencies are a waste of time, reed.hmmm. same here. total joke. when they called me the girl said that they couldnt help me because they dont cover accounts roles and id need to go else where for a job. any way i too need working experience as im a house maker and mother and after my first year of study. have found that after endless job applications and spending hours over the computer looking for recruitment companies that no ones is interested in giving me a chance. i have excellent customer services skills aswell. cheek! anywho, i think i may be in for some luck as i know someone who is a accountant and runs his business in a shop. He has since said that he will help me out once he receives my c.v. ive sent it but heard nothing as yet, fingers crossed.please lord! anyway it suddenly occured to me maybe i should be looking in stores within shopping centres, you know certified account practises, because they are little firms and i think may have better chance befriending them and approaching them regarding a job position. if i have no luck, ill try that next. thought id just share my thoughts. oh and good luck for your exam results.
  • daveb
    daveb Registered Posts: 1 New contributor 🐸
    Getting some work!

    I'm having the same problem with actually getting work - but the three agencies I'm with are at least a bit more pro-active in that they contact me from time to time - if I haven't contacted them first.

    First question - have you gone to each agency and sat down with them for a formal interview? Then at least the recruiter knows a bit about you from a face to face meeting.

    I challenged Reed Accountancy a year ago regarding their claims that temping through them was great for a career change - and they admitted the Catch 22 situation. I said words to the efect - does an want a young fellow with experience - or an older person with a solid work ethic who won't turn up for work on a Monday suffering from the excesses of the previous weekend. The net result was a placement a couple of days later. It was only short term but it was a start.

    Secondly - seriously consider temping to build experience

    Applying on-line for jobs 'blindly' is in my opinion a fruitless exercise. If you see a job listed by an agency you are registered with - phone the person who is your contact and ask to be considered.

    In short - keep above their radar! If nothing else they are reminded of your existence and with a bit of 'luck' that could coincide with a placement becoming available.

    As for the 'ghost jobs' that appear - the most likely explanation is that the client is 'fishing' and hadn't really made up their mind - there's been one or two like that.

    I've been extremely fortunate that since being made redundant I've had a few 'one-off' jobs in the industry I used to be in which have kept some income flowing - but as soon as the exam results are in - I'll be pushing hard for some more temp work in accounting for experience.

    As a P.S. if you can get temp work through Reeds then they have a set up that allows you to claim tax relief on mileage / travel costs under certain conditions - which makes a significant difference to take home pay - if you have to travel any distance.
  • mark130273
    mark130273 Registered Posts: 4,234 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    well ive had another agency last week . one called forest recruitment in chester. and i can say they seemed slightly better than the rest as they did give me a word & excel test to prove how good i am on them...but still heard nothing from them thou ?

    but ill just keep going then send them ALL my cv on the 19th ??

  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    Speaking from my experiences earlier this year and contrary to most of the comments in this thread, I can wholly recommend Reed Accountancy. Within hours of posting my CV online and blitz applying for vacancies, I was phoned back by one of the Crawley consultants and had an interview arranged for Tuesday afternoon the following week. Even though I admittedly have little accounting experience myself I went in full of confidence and smartly dressed in my best suit.

    It must have clearly worked since just after 9am Wednesday morning I'd received my first placement for two months + sickness cover with a firm in Horsham. While I was temping there, I was inundated by other recruitment agencies all wanting me to interview for them even though I'd fairly committed myself for the contract duration with Reed. Towards the end of the contract, I was contacted by my current employer - who are themselves a recruitment company - to work within their own accounts department. As a recruitment firm, they pay Reed and other online CV companys such as Monster.com for CV access which is where they found me. Even better for them, they didn't even have to pay a commission fee for me since I was already a free agent.

    So my own advice would be to get your CV on the Reed website where it will be seen not only by Reed but by other external recruiters too and ESPECIALLY on Monster.com where we find most of our own candidates for employment.

    Do NOT treat recruitment agencies as if they owe you a living and are beneath you. All of our own consultants are highly experienced in their field and if they sense this attitude - and most can - then they simply won't bother with you. If you don't - or can't be bothered to - sell yourself to the agency then don't expect them to sell you on to a potential employer. NEVER underestimate your interview with them but rather treat it as if they're even more important than the end employer themselves since in many cases they are. When engaged on a recruitment contract, agencies are paid to filter the wheat from the chaff and it's firmly in your own hands to decide how it goes. While it's true agencies are paid commission to place candidates with employers, they also have valuable relationships to maintain and will only put forward high calibre people to prevent risking future business.

    Finally, bear in mind that many larger companies - including some well known banks - recruit new people almost exclusively through agencies. Whereas an HR person in a company might have interviewed surprisingly few people, you can guarantee the recruitment agency they're utilising will have interviewed thousands and can spot BS or a disinterested candidate from a mile away.
  • Jan
    Jan Registered Posts: 654 Epic contributor 🐘
    There will be those that think you are bound to support agencies Robert, as you now work for one, but then some of us know you better than that. :lol:

    My overall experience of Agencies is also a good one. I registered with Reed after spotting a job on Jobcentreplus - I must say somewhat reluctantly as I hadn't had any positive feedback from this Forum. This led to interviews with 2 local agencies, one good, one bad!
    The bad interviewed me with a door open to the reception area and staff to-ing and fro-ing. I was unable to relax as I was aware that anybody sitting in reception would be able to hear what I was saying! I had an excel test to do, which threw me as the programme didn't allow me to use the keyboard as I was used to, but amazingly I did quite well. It was also dress down Friday and there was I in my best office clothes and they were in jeans - so I felt totally overdressed, small points I know but they still made me feel uncomfortable. Turned out I was over qualified for the job I had originally seen, but they would look out for anything suitable. I left feeling totally disillusioned. They did make contact a few weeks later and asked if I was still looking - I said I wasn't.
    The other experience was so different - interviewed in privacy and made to feel relaxed. The interviewer (Sarah) knew exactly what my problem was with my existing job, understood my fears about making the change and came up with the right job for me. My new employer had used a couple of agencies and she said that Sarah had a much better understanding of what they were looking for, she didn't push them into interviewing people who they could see weren't suitable. They had already had a bad experience of employing the wrong person.
    My point is - as in everything - there are good and bad out there. One other thought. The agencies are paid by the employers, so it is they that call the tune (he who pays the piper). So if they want someone with experience, that is what the agencies have to find them.

    Quoted from another thread by Mike130273
    ....as i have joined about 5+ agencies and they are all coming up dry..... but someone has said that agencies dont rate AAT at all

    Mark, I think the agencies do "rate" the AAT qualification, but you are yet to complete it !! Hopefully when you have completed this level next week :thumbup1: and are onto the next you may have some success.
  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    As with all other industries, there are good and bad employment agencies and there is no yardstick as to whether small ones or big ones are better. However, good recruitment consultants are always headhunted by bigger and better firms so maybe that could be a slight indication.
    Jan wrote: Β»
    One other thought. The agencies are paid by the employers, so it is they that call the tune (he who pays the piper). So if they want someone with experience, that is what the agencies have to find them..

    That's the nail on the head Jan. Without wishing to demean the other contributors of this thread, we're paid by the contracting client so have a duty bound responsibility to put forward only suitable candidates. The way our agency works - and probably others too - is this;

    Upfront - the first stage; where a potential employer contracts the agency into searching for suitable candidates for a position they want filling. This is usually for a set fee e.g. Β£5,000.

    Shortlist - the second stage; the agency consultants having used their own field expertise - e.g. finance, electronics, semiconductors etc - put forward a list of selected candidates for the employer to interview. This is where the few suitables have been filtered from the many many non-suitables by the agency consultants. The agency will never put forward unsuitable candidates as this will damage the agency-client relationship and could result in a return of fees. This is also usually a fixed fee e.g. Β£5,000.

    Placement; the final stage where a successful candidate has filled the role offered by the client and the fee is usually based on a fixed % of the salary on offer. Usually there is a money back guarantee if the candidate leaves within a minimum time period which ensures the agency must only put forward the right candidates at the shortlist stage.

    It is equally up to the candidate to chase agencies as it is the other way around. Remember; from the candidates own point of view, you are only one person going for one job so you must take some responsibility for it; from the agencies point of view, you are simply one of many and if you do a poor job of selling yourself you will be lost in the mire.

    *** Always chase agencies and make yourself stand out from the crowd! ***

    Oh and the other thing; the consultant who interviewed me for Reed never implied the AAT qualification was worthless and it is actually quite highly valued. I've also heard several people since say that the AAT is preferred to an accountancy degree as it's gained in a real time working environment rather than gained through simulated situations at a uni.
  • MattW
    MattW Registered Posts: 40 Regular contributor ⭐
    my 2 pence -

    I've noticed the AAT seems to be really well recognised amongst employers in the major cities (I currently work in London). A quick browse for jobs finds them in their hundreds on the major recruitment websites, paying decent money for AAT qualifieds - i've seen 45K+ for those with the experience...

    But the AAT doesn't seem to be very well recongnised anywhere else, I was born in Cardiff, but trying to find a decent job to match what I have in London there is virtually impossible - I'm looking at sales/purchase ledger clerks or possibly bookkeeping.

    I also have family in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and hope to live there someday, but of the jobs advertised they want fully qualified AAT people for Purchase Ledger jobs or Bookkeeping. I'm getting hacked off with it tbh, I feel the qualification prepares you for a lot more than that, I don't think it is the recruitment agencies, more the employers not having the faintest clue as to what the AAT means....

    It really bugs me to read a job description with less about it than my first Junior role stating "would suit an AAT qualified". I.e General Admin, S&P ledger, Bank Rec.

    Perhaps the only answer for me is to set up and go at alone...!

    Rant off. Good luck with it all, keep your head up I'm sure something will come along, just a thought have you tried writing to local accountants for sub contract work? It's something I am considering as an option in the future.

  • marknotgeorge
    marknotgeorge Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    I agree with much of what Matt has said. It seems that the AAT is not well known enough among employers and, to a lesser extent, job agencies. I feel that the AAT should do more to inform potential employers of the value of the AAT qualification and what those who have qualified at each level can do. Many people, like myself, are using the AAT as a route to change career. Doing the AAT off your own back does show focus and initiative, but this isn't promoted well enough.
  • speegs
    speegs Registered Posts: 854 Epic contributor 🐘
    I agree that there is a huge problem with the big agencies. When I first starting working none of the big agencies would take me seriously I felt. They all said they were looking for work for me, and they all tried to insist that I was one registered with them, however, I registered with loads of agencies in the end as I figured they cannot tell me what to do.

    Anyway, I finally registered with Monster.co.uk. This changed my life. A VERY SMALL agency called Accountancy Action Ltd saw my CV on Monster and called me. I actually went to the agency managers house were he interviewed me. The reason for going to the house was because his wife was heavily pregnant and would be giving birth at any minute. Well to cut a long story short, he placed at in my current workplace within 2 weeks and I have now been here for over 4 years.

    When I got this placement I had no accounting qualifications. I did AAT after getting this job as it was offered as part of my contract.

    So anyway, what I would say is, try registering on line and also register with lots of smaller agencies. Don't stick with the big guns such as Reed or Hays and people like that. Also keep an eye on your local papers. The job I had before my current one I got from a newspaper ad.

    Another option could be to go self employed and offer book keeping, accounting, taxation, etc services. You can do this with the correct insurance and an AAT MIP license.

    All the best to all of you out there who are finding it hard to get work.

  • blobbyh
    blobbyh Registered Posts: 2,415 Beyond epic contributor πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
    As Speegs has said and in response to my own earlier posts;

    Point one; get your CV onto Monster.com!!! This cannot be emphasised enough. My company has a financial arm with around six consultants and two researchers. The researchers literally spend all day every day scanning the online CV agencies looking for CV's to pass to the consultants. The consultants will then make informed decisions based on the quality and content of the CV to decide if the candidate is worth taking forward and meeting in person or immediately discarding.

    So naturally point two is; make your CV stand out from the rest. Don't lie outright on it - be realistic - but don't sell yourself short either and a little sprucing up doesn't hurt.

    Point three; your CV will get you noticed but your attitude will get you a job! Don't treat the agencies with disdain and that they're merely your servant - they work for the client more than they do for you. As I said previously, there will usually be many candidates for just one job - it's up to you to make yourself fit that job more than any of your competition.

    Agencies DO work despite some of what's been written repeatedly on this thread. We wouldn't exist if we didn't but we do have a duty to the clients to filter out the good quality people from the poor ones - it's solely up to each applicant to decide which category they'll fall into.
  • marknotgeorge
    marknotgeorge Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    Ok, so I've put my CV on Monster and other CV-uploading services, registered with agencies, taken trips to meet them in my best suit (basically treating the meeting as an interview), explained what I'm looking for, signed all the paperwork, listened to their advice (for example, I would have thought that I would be unsuitable for temporary positions due to lack of experience, but apparently they're a good way of gaining experience), taken tests in Word and Excel despite my qualifications in those applications (why can't there be tests in Sage, for example?) and travelled home with promises that although it might be difficult, they would post my CV to various clients whom they know have taken people like me on in the past.

    So now what? What do I do to prevent me dropping off the radar? I could continue to scour the websites, but I've been told that by the time vacancies hit the website, they've been filled.

    What I find irritating is the lack of feedback sometimes. Several times I've has agencies ring me with suitable sounding positions, and they've told me that they'll put my CV forward, then nothing.
  • welshwizard
    welshwizard Registered Posts: 465 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    Mark - I whole hartedly agree with everything you said - it sounds just like my experiences!

    I have now resigned myself to not working in the finance/accounting field and have approached a local college to train to teach - not the best outcome considering it will take me 2 years (and by then I will be 44!). After the 2 years training I will then have to try to find a teaching role at one of the local colleges and (if I am lucky) then acquire the NVQ assessors' awards. So no pressure there.... I think I will have to wend my wife out ontot the streets to earn a crust and sell my kids for scientific experiments.

    I would like to thank those that gave advice and related similar stories - I think the AAT needs to do more to make employers aware that this qualification is extremely useful to them and also that there should be more help from agencies and careers advice centres for those who are career changers. The 'you haven't got experience' excuse is wearing very thin with me and many others I have spoken to - I know employers pay agencies ot find the best staff but do the agencies ever tell them how experienced, qualified and potentially valuable some candidates could be to other areas of an organisation - also, those of us who have undertaken the AAT courses off our own backs show intitiative, drive and commitment - these are often key competencies that are needed for jobs but never considered by the agencies.

    Anyhoo, thanks all, sorry to moan at the start of the thread but I was so down and fed up that I was not able to see a way forward.

    With that, I will trundle off back to college to learn yet another trade .........OMG! :ohmy:
  • richardw
    richardw Registered Posts: 108 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    I think the thing with agencies is that they vary across the county, it really is down to the staff in each branch to make it work.

    My own experience so far in Birmingham:
    Hays - crap!!! went for an interview with them, about a month later they came up with 1 position which was precisely what I had told them I didnt want, & didnt really have experience of.
    Reed - seems that loads of the jobs on their website are agencies posting the same job every day for a week, & some of the jobs you can easily tell have been passed to 2 or more agencies. So when they claim x number of jobs on the site, in reality its more like a 1/5 of that.
    RK Accountancy - called in for an interview for a job id applied for, no mention of job at interview, just seemed to be a 'recruiting numbers' exercise.

    So employers are using agencies to find staff? Do they actually know that most of the 'consultants' in these agencies dont know anything about their industry specialism?
    Do they know that a lot of them have got appalling english language skills? Do they even read the rubbish that gets sent out by the agencies?
  • marknotgeorge
    marknotgeorge Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    My last post might have seemed like a rant, but there was a serious question in there. What do I do when I've registered with an agency and see, either on their website or one like reed and monster, jobs that I know I can do and are the sort of thing I'm looking for? Fair enough if the company needs someone who can hit the ground running, but seriously, how often is that the case? Companies have different systems and procedures, and do things different ways. I've got the skills and knowledge, and the determination and drive, so show me what to do and let me get on with it!

    (Deep breath, swig of Irn Bru...)

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not tarring all agencies with the same brush. One agency I'm with, Blue Arrow, is brilliant. Through them, I've had two interviews. Okay, I've not got the job, but at least I'm getting my foot in the door and doing the best I can at interview. The first I was told that they were concerned about what I was going to do after I'd got my AAT, and the other one I was beaten by someone with experience (don't laugh...)

    I've also been looking at jobs in local government and the NHS. I've had an interview with the NHS, and it was more like an oral exam! But then it did give me a chance to show my skills, knowledge and experience. And the benefits are good (27 + 8 days holiday, anyone?). And although I didn't get the job, they rang me and told me that evening, and suggested that I kept an eye out for some temporary jobs they were hoping to advertise soon...

    I suppose I've got to keep my head up and keep going. I know I can do it, and if they can't see it, they don't deserve me anyway... :lol:
  • marknotgeorge
    marknotgeorge Registered Posts: 158 Dedicated contributor πŸ¦‰
    richardw wrote: Β»
    RK Accountancy - called in for an interview for a job id applied for, no mention of job at interview, just seemed to be a 'recruiting numbers' exercise.

    Oooh, RK. Living in Derby, I've figured that a reasonable distance for me to travel is as far as Sheffield in the north, Stoke in the north west and north Birmingham in the south. So I signed up to their mailing list to cover these areas, based on their full page ad in the AAT magazine. Thye have offices in Birmingham and Leeds (covering Sheffield). Every application I've made to their Birmigham office has been ignored, and the Yorkshire ones come back with a 'sorry, but you live too far away for you to come to our offices' email, even though I've said that I'm more than willing to travel up there. Complete waste of time.
  • atlan
    atlan Registered Posts: 21 New contributor 🐸

    I am new to this site and have just seen the original post from Welsh Wizard and am so shocked I had to write.

    I fast tracked my first 2 years of AAT at college before getting an job in accountancy and studying my final year whilst working.

    I applied for my first accountancy job after college through an agency. My part qualification was treated with respect and the practice which I finally chose to go with (based in Mayfair, London) supported me fully for my technician level. At the practice, I was the only AAT student, all others were studying ACCA, ACA or CIMA but I was not treated any differently from them.

    Welsh Wizard, I hope your luck changed and you have found a firm which respects your quali, you deserve to. :thumbup1:

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