1) I have worked with 3 different contractors (agencies.) In all of them one thing was common: Numbers!!! Everyday, we’d been pushed to reach our number goals. Job seekers were numbers! Jobs were numbers! Placements were numbers! Our performances were numbers! This emphasis on numbers was not the fault of the centers themselves though. At the end of the fiscal year all contractors were evaluated by their numbers for placements.
2) Because of the focus on numbers, quality was shadowed by quantity. I don't want to say nobody really cared much about the happiness of a job seeker or the employer, of course it was a concern and that's why retention departments were there but as soon as we made the placement the jobseeker became a “number'" even though in most cases those jobs were temporary or the candidate wasn’t staying there long for some reason. In the end, we could use that placement as one plus number.
3) We were re-cycling the same candidates over and over again. I’ve had clients coming to the center for 5 years or even longer (how can I forget Salih, I met with him in three WF1 locations during those years.) Half of the clients were somehow the same people who used the center repeatedly. The centers needed new faces but hardly any new candidates knocked the doors. So many other people (New Yorkers) are not even aware of this wonderful free service.
4) Likewise, the system had the same employers as job providers. There was a need to reach out to a wider range of employers. The centers were so focused on numbers that we didn’t have much time for marketing.
5) I think these type of services are out of date. Numbers don’t work anymore. Quality should be the key target. Educating the job seeker on how to look for a job rather than keep referring them to similar jobs is more important. Don’t give them the fish, teach them how to fish. We are living in a tech savvy environment. I've had candidates who doesn't know how to use a computer, even how to use a cell phone in a reasonable capasity at least for texting.
(Me with a job seeker after a successful placement as a school bus driver.)
My humble suggestion is to turn these centers to "Career Empowerment Centers" such as job seeker and employer education / training hubs and let them find each other themselves. Therefore contractors (agencies) can focus on quality rather than the quantity. And both parties (job seekers and employers) learn how to reach their hiring / placement / career goals independently.
Every candidate and employer can have a point system regarding their performance and the centers can be evaluated by this point system (every successful attemp by the jobseekers and employers could be one additional point.)
Those centers should be “guidance” centers (mentorship) not the “placement“ centers itself. Then the whole system will not turn to become “numbers centers” although there is a training department in all of them but they are not as functional as they should be because at the end they can’t reflect numbers.
(Andrew Kertezs, RIP)
Tribute to Andy: We've lost our dear ex-colleague and friend Andy (Andrew Kertezs) to Coronavirus. He was such a legend in our Career Development / Business Development business in NYC. He was a mentor and a good friend to many. You will be missed and remembered dearly Andy, may your soul rest in peace.