There are hundreds of recruitment agencies and executive search firms in Ireland. This is good news for working holiday makers who will be seeking work.
Recruitment agencies were originally the vehicle for women to re-enter the work force; thus the abundance of office support agencies. Employers these days have realised the potential and flexibility gained from employing experienced staff through temping, outsourcing and contracting so now there are agencies covering a whole gamut of skilled and unskilled professions.
When you attend your appointment make sure you dress appropriately. I have waited in many agency receptions and seen consultants look prospective temps up and down. It is their belief that if you don’t dress properly for them (after all, they are your employer), you will not dress properly for their much-valued clients. For office based work, dressing appropriately means a corporate wardrobe. For other professions such as a chef you don’t have to wear your uniform, just dress neatly.
Besides dressing appropriately you should take with you an updated curriculum vitae (CV). This should be no more than 2-3 pages long and state your name, contact details, qualifications including the level, year completed and the institution attended and list your employment history from the most recent position to the earliest. You should also have at least two references that can be confirmed as recruitment consultants will contact your country of origin to check your references. At interview, be prepared to have your skills tested, e.g. a typing test or a literacy test which can take a couple of hours.
If you are a working holiday maker take your passport, as employers like to see your working visa. They will also want your PPS so they can deduct the correct tax when you begin work and your bank details to credit your salary.
When registering, ask about the rate you can expect to receive. Rates are usually determined by what skills you will be using on the assignment, though some agencies put you on a specific hourly rate.
Be honest and tell agencies what your skills are so that they can place you in an appropriate position. Don’t let an agency bully you into accepting a position you know you can’t do. Some agencies will do this just to fill the position, although most have in-house training programs to make you more marketable.
Agencies expect you to be flexible and to adapt to their clients’ needs. If you find yourself in a situation you don’t like, don’t just get up and leave. Once I was assigned to a place where I couldn’t handle the employer so I rang the agency. We arranged for me to go home ill while the agency found someone new to fill the position. The agency never held this against me.
Try not to get involved in the politics of the place. Be courteous, punctual and appropriately dressed. A good rule of thumb is to dress up the first day, see what everyone else is wearing then blend in the next day. Do not abuse the telephones.
Note that many agencies send out appraisal forms for feedback on your performance. This, in turn, can lead to you being requested again.
As I mentioned, there are temporary agencies specialising in a broad spectrum of work opportunities, and I have tried to give details of as many as possible. There is no guarantee that you will obtain work through them but to give yourself the best possible chance you should register with more than one agency.
It is usually best to register early in the week, as from mid-week to the week-end salaries are paid and consultants are busy. On Thursdays and Fridays agencies ring their clients to find out their temp requirements for the following week. This is when temp contracts are renewed for the following week.
To keep your consultant up-to-date with your availability, try and ring in at least once a day, preferably early in the morning so that if a job comes in you are fresh in their minds. Keep your mobile handy.
When agencies are offering you an assignment they will go through some details with you first. They should tell you the nature of the position, the skills required, some background information on the company, the full address and how to get there. They should advise on any dress code, the length of the assignment and most importantly the rate you will be receiving. Once you’ve accepted the assignment they will send you a time sheet. If you don’t have one because the assignment is only for the day, ask the client to state on their letterhead hours worked, the date worked and your name and have them sign it.
Payment from agencies is weekly (on receipt of your signed time sheet), on a certain day determined by them.
The employment agencies listed in this booklet are in alphabetical order and not in order of my preference. I have chosen them as they are happy to take on travellers. They are just a sample of the agencies available.
Any included rates of pay are just a rough guide and were the latest at the time of publication. They can change though, so you shouldn’t automatically expect to receive them.
Excerpted and adapted from the ebook “Live Work & Play in Ireland” by Sharyn McCullum.