Agencies: Know your patch

Yesterday I spoke to an agent on the phone. They were based in London and I had responded to a job that had been advertised in the Northeast of England. I sent my CV and got a call back from the agent handling the advert.

She then dropped the bombshell that the job was based in Scunthorpe, that’s in Lincolnshire. That is NOT the northeast.

In fact, to take up the position I would have to drive 212 miles every day, that’s 1,060 miles per week. That would add 4 hours on every working day, assuming there were no roadworks or traffic disruptions due to accidents. In other words a clear run. That is before you get in to the cost of fuel, maintenance of the car etc. which the wage did not allow for.

When I said “I thought this was for the northeast?”

She replied “Oh is that an easy commute for you?”

Absolutely staggered by her lack of any sense of distance outside London I said, trying to suppress my sarcasm, “It’s about two inches on the map.”

This went completely over her head.

The upshot was, the incorrectly drafted advert wasted my time putting the application in. It wasted her time responding and phoning me to discuss the vacancy. It wasted the agency’s clients time because she could have been dealing with someone who lived in the right geographic area.

The underlying message is to agencies, know your patch. Know about commuting times in the areas. I am sure you clients will thank you for asking a few extra questions of them to ensure you get the right fit for the role on the first batch of applications.

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