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I have recently applied for a few jobs through recruitment agencies and i was left a little unimpressed with how they handled my applications

In one case the job was advertised with a note "recent graduates welcome", I'm 48 yo and while i ticked most of the boxes in the list of requirements I was told that my application wasn't going through. The ad has since then been amended, they removed the note about new graduates and added an additional requirement that disqualifies me although the job is entry-level and skills can be acquired quickly

In another case i was told that my application would not be submitted to the company with no explanation at all. I had most of the required skills but no feedback was provided as to why my application wouldn't be submitted.

If an applicant meets most of the requirements can an agency reject an application without feedback? is there any tool that protects jub-hunters from being discriminated against and not been given a fair chance?

Thanks

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    If the agency won't apply on behalf of you, can't you apply yourself? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 17 at 15:08
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    @SouravGhosh A lot of agencies will hide who the role is with until you get through some early-stage check – Scoots Apr 17 at 15:14
  • @Scoots Makes sense, my question was actually a question, not a rhetorical one. :) – Sourav Ghosh Apr 17 at 15:15
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    Recruitment agencies give a « fair chance » to their commission & you come second... – Solar Mike Apr 17 at 17:28
  • It's hard to to give feedback "you are too experienced to extort and you might want to fight back". I've seen enough ads like the first you desribed to notice the pattern. – SZCZERZO KŁY Apr 21 at 8:12
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If an applicant meets most of the requirements can an agency reject an application without feedback?

As long as they don't dismiss you by breaching some protected category or doing it for racist/sexist reasons or breaching the law in some way, they can dismiss candidates for any reasons they want and you are not owed any feedback. Your recourse is to take your application elsewhere, let them make the commission of matching you with a workplace.

Alternatively, apply to the employer directly if you can find out who they are. A good chance is that if they do not advertise who the job is for, it's because they don't have exclusivity, which means there are many other agencies offering the same job.

On side note

I'm 48 yo and while i ticked most of the boxes in the list of requirements I was told that my application wasn't going through.

My worry with someone of your age applying for an entry-level position would be that you are overqualified, so before we can even start to make a profit on you as an employee, to offset the initial training, hire etc, you will likely move somewhere else. There are some great answers on this site about being overqualified and how to try to deal with it, search around!

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  • Thanks for all the answers so far! regarding the overqualified argument, should the agency not have a chat with me to understand my job expectations and probe my motivation for an entry level role before making any assumption? this way they are basically obliterating my chances without giving me a chance – Mic Apr 17 at 16:17
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    @Mic "should" assume that you are owed something. They are free to run their business in any way they please, and if their service is not up to standard you want, proverbially shop somewhere else. They simply deemed you an unsuitable candidate and moved on with others. There are other agencies, and direct-to-apply employees, good luck. – Tymoteusz Paul Apr 17 at 16:32
  • I would like to point out that in some areas (my state for example) disqualifying someone because of their age is illegal because age is a protected status. – Zibbobz Apr 17 at 17:59
  • It's not really good to assume someone is overqualified from age alone... – Bwmat Apr 17 at 19:08
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    @Tymoteusz How does the author do that, when they also provide their 28+ years worth of employment history, on their resume? When you indicate you got a college degree in 2000 (which would be the appropriate graduation year for a 48 year old). – Donald Apr 18 at 5:00
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If an applicant meets most of the requirements can an agency reject an application without feedback?

Yes, of course. Your application can be rejected for any reason whatsoever - most are. And no feedback ever needs to be provided.

is there any tool that protects jub-hunters from being discriminated against and not been given a fair chance?

There is no such tool.

If you feel you are being illegally discriminated against, you should discuss it with your lawyer.

Most likely, there were many applicants who met most of the requirements and one of them met more than you. It happens.

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I think you have a misconception of what a recruitment agency does. The do not work for you, the work for the employer. If they successfully pitch a candidate, they usually get paid a large sum of money (think 3-6x your monthly wage)

They usually try to acquire a large pool of candidates, but pitch only the most promising ones. After all, the employer pays them to get rid of most of the requiting hassle. They may also have hidden agendas for the selection of candidates that are not published because of legal concerns. So in your case, maybe the employer just wanted someone younger - but as long as you can not prove this you are out of luck.

If an applicant meets most of the requirements can an agency reject an application without feedback?

Sure thy can, and most will do either that or give you some unspecific standard reason that was checked with their legal department to protect them from discrimination charges.

Is there any tool that protects jub-hunters from being discriminated against and not been given a fair chance?

Other then leaving bad reviews online I cant think of any.

What you have to realize when it comes to recruitment agencies is: You are not the customer here, you are the product!

So best take your career into your own hands and pitch yourself directly to the employers you really want to work for. When they are interested in you, it adds the benefit that they do not have to pay the premiums of the requiter, giving you more leeway to negotiate an attractive salary.

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  • An agency works for a company, but a Company still has a duty to conduct recruitment within the realms of the law, thus avoiding any form of discrimination. Companies may have hidden agendas like wanting to hire younger staff, but that's discrimination and I dont think they can legally do that whether they hire direct or through an agency. In fact an agency should push back on such requests from a Company. Then again, i won't be hiring a lawyer for this, I was only curious about what tools are available to protect job-hunters from this sort of dynamics – Mic Apr 17 at 17:26
  • @Mic The company will just tell the agency that they need someone who "fits into the team" the agency will then select maybe 5 candidates out of their pool of hundreds they think they can sell the best. May there age discrimination going on? Maybe, but you will never be able to prove it. Companies should do a lot of things, ethically, but most are in it just for the money. Welcome to capitalism! – Daniel Apr 17 at 23:25
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@Mic. I've been in your situation. I was laid off from a long time employer when I was 59. Found a new job and was laid off from that (closing local office) in late 2018. I was 62 at the time. I was able to find a new job within two weeks of leaving.

Please do not sell yourself short. From both the agency and employer my first question would be - "why is a guy with experience looking at an entry level position?" When I was involved in hiring decisions I would have questioned why you are not pursuing a position more in line with your years of experience. You'd ether have poor skills (which I doubt) or a lack of confidence in the skills you do have.

For example: I'm a developer. Started in COBOL and have moved on to full-stack with all the cool new technologies. A job posting for an entry-level position might say "1 year Oracle" experience. I've got that - and a lot more. I could do the job but would soon be bored as I've done a lot more than that.

If an applicant meets most of the requirements can an agency reject an application without feedback?

Yes. They don't own you anything. Agencies are used so a company can have a reasonable number of applicants to review. One position I posted (2014 timeframe) for a junior developer position received 600+ resumes. I'm sorry but I could not respond to each one.

Is there any tool that protects job-hunters from being discriminated against and not been given a fair chance?

No. I don't even know how this would work. Reporting on who gets hired (or not) and why would add huge overhead (cost) to the hiring process. Jobs would rarely be advertised as this could result in liability so most positions would be filled through referrals and networking.


Don't limit yourself. Look for positions that can use your skills and experience.

Good luck!

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