Jobseeking in an oil price downturn

The current drop in oil price has meant many experienced professionals have found themselves out of work. It is an unsettling scenario, leaving many uncertain of where to turn. With this is mind, Jobs in Scotland hears from people on both sides of the divide, jobseeker and recruiter, to better understand the bigger picture

By John Dickson

As the oil price develops a cough usually originating in the Middle East, Aberdeen develops the proverbial cold. As the cold sets in we begin to hear that familiar tune of ‘batten down the hatches’ and ‘ride out the storm’  which usually contains words or lyrics of lays offs, pay offs, redundancy, administration and closure.

I unfortunately was employed by a company suffering that fate. Last year started off brightly, promising a great future, recruitment drive to support projects locally, in the Caspian and Canada and to deliver ongoing projects to Dolphin Drilling and Worley Parsons. Midway through the year the warning signs started to show, with projects cancelled or put on hold. The inevitable happened – the administrator was called in and the company closed.

Still reeling from the first shock, I was now thrust into the world of the DWP, CV’s, portals and the recruitment industry. A requisite is that you register on the government website of Universal job search. Once registered you are flooded by recruitment companies, social networking sites UK-wide looking for your CV and  personal identity. Companies can review it or rewrite it all for a handsome fee.

As you plough through websites you have to find a way of putting many years of experience into 800 characters and have your CV focus on five key words or skills. No mean feat.

Enter the recruitment companies, small, large, independent, or company owned all in search of your CV and personal identity to sell to the highest bidder. All chasing the same vacancies for a very condensed market and local resource. Telephone interviews, visits to plush offices, promises of finding you a role that matches your portfolio leave you with a feeling of euphoria of someone looking after you.

After a week or so, that feeling quickly disappears, as do the recruitment companies with your personal identity in their files. As you see roles that you are qualified to do slip by you, you find that recruitment companies are not submitting your details as they cannot maximise their fee on recommending you for a lower position and salary.

As you interrogate the major company websites WGPSN, Petrofac, Aker AMEC etc and apply for positions available, your CV now enters a black hole. As you wait with anticipation it becomes apparent very quickly that there will be no response, not even automated emails. Even finding a contact and writing to them direct brings no response. More frustrating is that those vacancies are appearing weekly and monthly and it is obvious the website is not being reviewed for accuracy.

You cannot afford to sit back and wait for companies to come to you, you have to be prepared to constantly review websites, telephone and keep in contact with all these companies. As this situation continues to evolve and the oil price struggles to recover and the number of people seeking employment grows, many recruitment companies have to take a long look in the mirror.

Are they being responsible, and accountable for their actions as good people are scarce? On reflection, I would liken my experience of finding employment to a consumer experience. There are recruitment agencies out there which I would certainly not return to.

Brenda Bryant

By Brenda Bryant, managing director of Bryant Engineering and Personnel Services Ltd

The recruitment market can be a daunting place for any candidate, whether an applicant is just starting out or is highly experienced with many years of service under their belt. We understand that it can be a strange and very competitive environment in which to seek out, apply and interview for roles at the best of times.
However, the dramatic drop in oil price has presented the energy recruitment marketplace with a multitude of additional challenges for all concerned, recruiter, client and candidate.
  which we might not normally face to such an extreme.

As some companies move to make redundancies it has meant that there has been a consequential spike in job seekers. This, coupled with a reduction in the number of available jobs, has made recruiting and applying for jobs particularly challenging.

There are many approaches to recruitment, and although I cannot make comment on behalf of any other recruitment agency, here at Bryant, we have from the beginning, set out to ensure all our clients and candidates establish open, honest and transparent relationships with our team.
We want to successfully place a candidate as much as the candidate would like to receive an offer of employment. It is because of this that we believe it is essential to respond to each and every candidate, even if  they do not suit the advertised requirements or we do not currently have a suitable role. Implementing ‘the personal touch in personnel’, our service is at the heart of Bryant’s ethos and is something that we can attribute some of our 35 years of success to.

We believe that it is very rare to effectively place a candidate unless a detailed discussion has occurred. A CV does not convey personality traits, and so, we always like to meet or have a telephone introduction with a potential candidate to establish their needs, wants and priorities for their next role. From there, where possible, we will endeavour to find the most suitable role possible, remaining mindful that there are strict criteria, which we must also follow from the client. This might include certain certification requirements and previous experience, which are pre-determined by our client and would be crosschecked against any applications to ensure suitability.

While we have welcomed innovations in digital recruitment and the adoption of online recruitment tools, the need to maintain an open, transparent conversation has always remained a high priority with us. We do not hide behind our computer, and you are not just another candidate but a real person with a real need. It is with this in mind that we move forward and endeavour to make every candidate experience a positive one where your application will not be left out there in cyberspace.


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