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Job Shopping Agency

Job Shoppers would be paid for looking for jobs and helping place fellow job shoppers.
  [vote for,

When in need of work, it really stinks starting from scratch looking through classifieds and professional sites and sifting through all of the unsuitable jobs looking for a few that look right to go after, and all while not getting any income. I imagine at any one time there is a pretty large group of people doing this in each city. I propose an agency where those in need of work help place each other. You would complete your resume and a quick questionnaire about what your honestly looking for and could realistically do. Then, as other people looking for jobs see something that would fit you (but not them) they would connect you with that job. A small fee would be charged from your second paycheck if you take the job, which would go towards the person who alerted you to it for their trouble. Once newly employed, you could also earn a reward for recommending and placing anyone else from the agency at your new company.

Other ways of making short term money would be to help with upkeep of the agency's service, by reviewing resumes and questionnaires, checking the validity of job postings, providing career suggestions and job counseling to other folks (if qualified).

I think this could be run largely online using a forum/database or social networking type website with an associated Paypal or other bank account for payroll. There would need to be a small regular staff to keep everything running smoothly since their employees/clients are hopefully all short term, but they could oversee several cities or job industries. Major cities should also provide a small physical office location too, since some people wont have access to internet and phones (or office supplies for that matter) if they have been unemployed for a long time.

I think this would help in a few ways. It would help organize people in their search, help organize the jobs available, and give people an advocate trying to place them. Companies in need of staff could benefit from having contacts with a pool of available workers. It does rely on a lot of trust and cooperation from folks in hard times, but I think if it gained critical mass and got momentum, it could work.

gomer, Jul 29 2008

40Plus http://www.40plus-dc.org/Membership.cfm
Perhaps I should stand corrected. Here is at least one chapter/office of the 40Plus network which is still active in the Washington, DC, area, although with some tweaks and changes to the emphases promoted in the 1980's. [jurist, Aug 01 2008]


       So an employment agency for unemployed people? Is that really so different from a 'regular' employment agency?   

       At times when I've been between jobs, I've found temping or other agency-found work to have been by far the easiest way to find my way back into employment.
zen_tom, Jul 29 2008

       I like the idea and have voted for it. I do have a couple of questions, though.   

       One is, if you get these people together, it seems they could actually do some kind of mainstream work directly rather than simply looking for work. For instance, and this specific example may not work, they could do data entry or word processing for a specific employer from home, or crowdsourcing (which is paid below minimum wage though).   

       Another is, would it work for people whose financial resources are low? Our situation is that we live in a frustrated contract (=free but not squatted) house and have an internet connection but have an income way below the minimum wage here. I can imagine people having to use public libraries to do this and i don't know how viable that would be.   

       Would potential employers trust the advocates? They are unemployed. In the minds of the employers, why are they unemployed?   

       Another question: Aren't the people wanting to set this up likely to have poor credit records? Would you think in terms of a credit union or revolving loan fund to finance the setup costs?   

       I'm not trying to put the idea down because it sounds good, and this may just be my own insecurity and low self-esteem talking. Basically, yes, it sounds good to me. It would be a social enterprise and funding is available for that here.
nineteenthly, Jul 29 2008

       It's not only idiocy, it's also successful persuasion on the part of the applicant. It doesn't matter how good an employee you'd be if you can't persuade anyone to give you a job. That talent is more important than actually being able to do it, because it gets you to the stage where you can actually be fired because you've got a job. Then the most sensible thing to concentrate on would probably be how to persuade people that you're doing the job well, which is not the same as actually doing it well.   

       I still think there would then be a pool of talent on which to draw, which it then seems a waste to disperse by actually getting others to employ you when you could effectively just form a sort of temping or outsourcing cooperative which would get work directly and in which the workers would have more control.
nineteenthly, Jul 29 2008

       Nineteenthly - the reason I wouldn't tend towards having the pool of talent do some other task is kind of what zen_tom is saying - it would become another temp agency. I think what would set this apart is motivation. Scouting jobs and placing people is not particularly interesting by itself (in my opinion, I'm sure the people it is interesting to are already headhunters) but it is a necessity that we are all willing to take on at various times (to get ourselves a job or to find staff for our company's project). The point is to tap the energy people with drive and domain knowledge to sort through the available jobs at a point when they're already doing that for themselves. The goal is to place each other in really satisfying jobs that meet needs, not provide a marginally satisfying job that doesn't partially meets the needs. There are other temp agencies out there that would still fill those gaps.   

       The physical offices I proposed too could provide some internet access too for those with a need like yours.   

       I totally sympathize with what you are saying about credit too, but at least this could in theory provide some spending money when it counts for doing a valuable service to other people in your situation. I'm not for an idea involving loans because I wouldn't want any part in putting people in this situation even one more cent in debt (I said the fee would come from the 2nd paycheck because the 1st one seems always already spoken for). Folks looking for jobs need cash, an advocate, and real hope.
gomer, Jul 29 2008

       //persuade anyone to give you a job......persuade people that you're doing the job well, which is not the same as actually doing it well.//   

       Those things used to really bother me, but it seems that those who do the first two things well, but not the third often persuade someone else to give them a job by the time everyone finds out that they weren't doing the one they had very well in the first place.   

       One of the big advantages that this has over a normal placement agency is that the employer doesn't have to pay for the placement. (well, beyond what comes out of the employees 2nd check)
Zimmy, Jul 29 2008

       What i meant about credit is that money is needed to set this up in the first place and it has to come from somewhere. There can be donations of equipment and so forth, but it's unlikely that it could be done for free completely. The individuals involved needn't be in debt. They could set up a limited company (sorry, don't know non-English legal terms for that) and do it that way. We didn't get any loans or an overdraft to set up our business and nor were we rich, but it has grown very little and often makes a loss. That would probably be the situation if no credit was involved at all, and then the people involved really would be in debt, as they wouldn't be making enough money to support themselves. However, if they had a social enterprise set up as a limited company which was also a co-operative, then funded it using a revolving loan fund or credit union, they would have very low rates of interest for which they would have only very limited liability. They would also get tax breaks available to non-profit organisations. They could also look for donations from the general public or philanthropists. Sponsorship would probably be out because of the bias it would introduce towards a particular employer.   

       I am of course self-employed, and i find the idea of working to someone else's agenda demotivating. That may be why i'm not so keen on the idea of the work being to find work as an employee. My motivation is, like almost everyone's, to make the world a better place, but because i'm anal and inflexible about my values, that means i can't work with other people. My problem of course, and counterproductive because lots of people working together can obviously achieve more. However, i don't see that only menial work can be done this way. For instance, i can think of a couple of hundred people, not personally of course, with enough knowledge, skills and experience to provide nursing and pharmacy skills to a considerable extent which are currently seriously underemployed, while public money is being spent on the NHS, i.e. us herbalists - ignoring the controversial parts of what we do of course. That would be satisfying and worthwhile work to do at the minimum wage, and i would consider that more worthwhile than an employment agency. There are countless other people who have similar skills and can't find work.   

       Having said all that, i'm still in favour. An employment agency is one possibility among several. I believe there are such organisations among writers and actors.   

       [Zimmy], yes, that's quite possible though i haven't been in a situation where i'm likely to observe that happening. A potential advantage of self-employment is that one is then being chosen to do work by people who are not competent at choosing the right people for the work done, so one can get away with incompetence or other problems in that area too, which is a similar phenomenon.
nineteenthly, Jul 29 2008

       Employment of the unemployed, by the unemployed, for the unemployed ...
vladv, Aug 01 2008

       Years ago in the States there used to be an employment agency named "40 Plus" which operated very much like this concept. Job candidates who were between jobs and over 40 years of age and usually possessing management , sales or executive capabilities temporarily filled agency slots seeking corporate opportunities and developing corporate client relationships while looking to place themselves. It was not a "Temp Agency" concept so much as an "Executive Networking and Placement Cooperative". It enjoyed some visible success in the 1980's in the US cities where I did business, and from a casual external overview seemed to be a workable and even franchisable business idea in its own right. However, a quick Google tonight of that concept indicates that the US version of that business apparently did not survive the millenium transition, although a UK business using the same name but more traditional approach to employment recruiting is still quite active. [Later Edit: 40Plus is still extant in the US with independently operating chapters still functioning in New York, DC, Philadelphia, Oakland, Columbus and Milwaukee, though much reduced from its former operating size. See link.]
jurist, Aug 01 2008


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