Posted on 19/03/2013 by Phil Hall
In the recession at the beginning of the nineties when being made redundant was still considered to be a black mark on your CV, we were interviewing a lot of candidates to build up our database. Our agency was still a fledgling company, one of only four in Chester in those days, and the bulk of our revenue was generated by our temps.
Even in those early days we were getting a reputation for being different and starting to attract what we saw then as some reasonably senior candidates. One day I interviewed a Sales Director who had been made redundant after fifteen years, from a large engineering company. He was 54, had a BSc and a good CV, three employers, no gaps, since leaving school, and his last salary was £55,000 plus car, bonus and all the bits.
When he came to see us he had been out of work for three weeks and had done little to find a new position and was clearly expecting to walk into a new job. He had been recommended to talk to us by one of our clients but clearly thought the whole idea a waste of time and his demeanour and attitude bordered on arrogance. However, we spoke for some time and he thawed a little especially after I explained to him that his CV did not do him justice. By the time he left we were on good terms and he agreed to follow some of my recommendations.
The recession got worse as the year progressed and even though he had written a considerable number of letters and we had managed to get him two interviews, still no job. His age and his salary expectation were definitely working against him. We had met in February… by June he was a different man, his shoulders bent and the worry on his face was terrible. The mortgage and kids at private school he confessed were eating into their savings and the constant rejection was slowly grinding him down. He was on the phone every week and called into see me regularly as he needed a reason to get out of the house and someone to listen. I became concerned that he was falling apart and asked him what he would consider doing, and his answer was an emphatic, “anything!”
Two weeks later we had a call from one of our clients asking for a temp in its warehouse, paying a mere £6.50 an hour. I called him and he took the job. The difference was incredible – he would bring in his timesheet smiling and looking good. He said it was liberating and just great to out of the house and doing something. Over the next two months he kept his head down, worked any overtime he could get and each time he picked up his weekly pay cheque he’d thank me again.
One day there was an inspection by the senior management with an important client and, in passing, one of them engaged him in conversation. Clearly impressed by his answer they called him into the office and asked how he came to be working on the ‘shop floor’. The following day he was called in to see the MD and within the week, was offered a permanent role with the responsibility of running and reorganising the whole area. He worked there for a further five years before leaving to live in Spain where he started a villa maintenance business for holiday companies.
We kept in contact but sadly he died of cancer in his early sixties. He always maintained that in getting him to take that assignment I had saved his self-respect, his marriage and his home. So you see? Recruitment can be as rewarding as it can be frustrating…a great career if you believe, as we do, that it’s the people that make a business succeed or fail.
Kirsty Craig 27th February 2012
HR Support and Outsourcing – Successful companies treat people with respect.