It’s Christmas Morning, 9am, what better time than this to check what’s on Universal Jobmatch.
Yes, I suppose this is a bit sad, but Christmas doesn’t mean much to me so I won’t be doing anything different today other than eat a roast dinner (something I do too little off all year round). I thought it might be amusing to run a wee experiment into the veracity of this god-awful site on the most unlikely day to apply for jobs. I shall log on early and check back during the day to see how much stuff gets uploaded (or appears to) and what the quality of these jobs seems to be. I read someone got sanctioned for not applying for jobs on Christmas so I thought, what better day to test the site.
Unfortunately we’re off to a rather depressing start as there seem to be 12 pages of jobs within 10 miles of me (if you set it any further it will be unmanageable) and dated (i.e. uploaded) today. By way of comparison yesterday was 3 pages at this time and the average seems to be about 5.
From the first page alone, most of the jobs come from ‘Company Confidential’ while the rest are ‘CV Library (Jobs Warehouse Only)’. Both of these I suspect are automated mail spam nonsense, though I have no idea for sure. I don’t know who owns or runs (or automates) these sources at all, that’s the problem – you are never given any information at all. Not even an employer name.
It’s only on page 4 that I find a different source: ‘Thistle rec’ (I think it’s meant to be a recruitment agency). That’s a name I don’t recognise. There are two jobs listed one is for a Deputy Manager. The advert is another appalling cut and paste job, evident by the faulty layout (no space after the full stops, which doesn’t make reading it easy). I Google a portion of the text and the job is actually in Scotland. That’s a lot more than 10 miles away. This is nothing new for Universal Jobmatch; good to see the site isn’t taking a break from being crap.
Another two vacancies from ‘CIT’ (I’ve no idea) are listed, including one for a ‘customer collections advisor – housing’ which is local, but closed on the 19th. Why is it being listed today then, of all days? The advert links to another recruitment agency site ‘ukstaffsearch’, but if that’s the quality of their adverts what’s the point, and who are ‘CIT’?
One of the most annoying features of UJM is in how it continually seems to shuffle the adverts. When I click to load the next page of vacancies instead of actually doing that, a simple enough task, it seems to instead shuffle what’s already been seen and mix it with what you haven’t seen, like a broken ipod. Now I’m getting adverts on the page that I’ve already seen – that I’ve just looked at! How on earth is someone meant to navigate this nonsense? Given how generic most of these ads (e.g. ‘customer service operator’) are you have to assume they are different vacancies and so you waste your time clicking to find out it isn’t.
At this point a thirteenth page has been added to the total page count. It’s not even half past nine. I need breakfast. I am aware this may screw up this experiment as when I return to the site later I fully expect another bazillion pages to have been added and the whole thing to be shuffled the next time I click. It is two steps back for every step forward.
I return, having broken my fast and had a walk in the cold (at least it’s not raining). Now there are a total of 15 pages. Again it’s mostly ‘Company Confidential’. I’ve no idea why they would be confidential given that if you work for them surely you would have to know who’s paying your wages. Why does the DWP allow these employers (or more likely the agents brokering these supposed vacancies) to hide?
Most of the jobs do seem to be actually quite skilled or specific, for example there is an advert for a locum GP (the link is yet another agency website called ‘jobsball’ – maybe that’s an agency specifically for trained doctors). Again the UJM blurb is another cut and paste job. That makes me suspect it wasn’t submitted by the employer or even Jobsball. This means there must be people in the DWP trawling these sites and sticking stuff on – perhaps Santa Duncan Smith has a bunch of workfare elves slaving away over Christmas.
There are actually quite a few GP/locum jobs. Other adverts are for engineers and managers and nurses (there are lots of nursing homes round here). Surfing the site is becoming increasingly difficult due to the ‘shuffle’ problem above; I’ve now seen the ‘CIT’ jobs for a third time in as many pages. I’m about halfway through at this point. I’m already tired. Get a life.
About 8 pages in and there’s another source, something called ‘Adzuna’. But click the link and all Adzuna seems to do is redirect to another source, the agency hosting the link. However as we have seen before on UJM this source might not even be the first or original host for the link. It really is a hall of mirrors.
Another break while I explain all the vegetables I hate (HATE!) to my mother. I don’t like sprouts, or parsnips. Sprouts are evil little things and parsnips have fooled me into thinking they were yummy roast potatoes once too often. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…you can’t get fooled again (thanks George).”
Needless to say a lot of these jobs are a mixture of vague ‘customer service’ positions (anything from call centre, sales, to retail, to just about anything), ‘trainee’ positions that are usually apprenticeships and low paid, or the eponymous catalogue distribution. It seems to be either badly advertised, poorly explained cut and paste jobs, and the high end stuff (such as the aforementioned locum position). There is no middle ground; no regular vacancies advertised sensibly. You must buy into the spiel (if you can read the ad); submit your personal details to websites you would never otherwise trust. Such as this, for example. It hardly looks like something reputable and I’ve seen worse. That position is also aimed at people aged 16-19; perhaps obvious when you think about it but since the UJM ad doesn’t mention this it’s possible anyone could be compelled to apply which would be stupid.
I have no idea who ‘company confidential’ are, or who hides behind that title or why they are allowed to. I don’t know what CV Library (Jobs Warehouse) means. Googling helps not one bit; there are so many recruitment websites, agencies and online pages, likely encompassing a wide range of quality and reliability, that it becomes an endless fractal. You click one link it takes you to another, and another and another. You search the web to find a source and it’s the same.
According to an FOI request ‘company confidential’ is to protect vulnerable groups. It allows them to advertise without giving details out, an example being someone looking to recruit home help without giving out who they are. I can understand that, but does that really apply to most of what is listed as ‘company confidential’? Surely it would be obvious from the nature of the vacancy or even the title. As such claimants cannot exempt themselves on the basis they don’t know to whom they are sending their details. For example, one advert says “Dream Medical are seeking a Consultant in Clinical Oncology for a client of ours in Bristol.”
That came from a Jobsball link as well. Thus, Jobsball are acting on behalf of ‘Dream Medical’ acting on behalf of a client unnamed. But that client is most likely to be a hospital of some kind, why the secrecy? I can’t imagine a vulnerable individual will be able to hire (or afford to hire) a cancer consultant!
I have a feeling I could be at this all day and I’m done. It’s Christmas Day, though obviously not somewhere in the DWP. It’s two o'clock, I’m hungry (cook woman, cook!), and I’ve looked at 15 pages of adverts all supposedly posted or uploaded on December 25th 2013. Make of that what you will, happy Christmas!