I have been today to re-register at Forrest Recruitment Agency, in Bolton, where I live and whilst they had me register there, around 5 years ago and never got me any temporary work back then, had me go back today to sit another typing test, only to tell me after that they didn't think they could really help me.
They said that as I didn't have any first-hand office experience, since being involved with sales, selling and customer services instead over the past 5 years, couldn't really see themselves offering me any temporary work.
If that is the case, then why couldn't they have found me plenty of work, 5 years prior? Also, explain this over the phone, to save me having to go in and re-register? I am still have very fast typing speeds and could walk into most office jobs.
I feel it has been another wasted trip to their offices and feel as though they mislead people by displaying multiple jobs over their website, for most areas over Manchester also, which is purely to get people in and register and then not necessarily get job seekers any work either - crazy!
Take my advice and steer clear of Forrest Recruitment Agency.
After returning home for the summer from University my mum let me have a week of pure bliss which involved gossiping with friends, shopping and sun bathing
before ordering me to find a job before my money ran out and I started relying on my parents for money. Last summer I spent my three months doing temping work through agencies and decided that was my best bet for this summer. So I got myself onto the internet and started browsing through the possible agencies which I could join before heading into town armed with a handful of CVs, identity and plenty of writing strength in my arm ready to fill in the numerous forms.
Forrest Recruitment was set up in 1985 and over the last 21 years has grown in size it now has 10 branches situated around the North West of England. It boasts itself as being the largest Independent Employment Agency in the North West but states that unlike large chain agencies it maintains a friendly and personal service to all candidates and clients. It deals with both temporary and permanent employment opportunities and deals with small, individual outlets as well as large blue chip organisations. The thing that attracted me to this particular agency is that it promised personal service all too often Ive found you register for an agency and then you either never hear from them or when you do they cant differentiate between who you actually are and the previous 5 people theyve called!
The branches are located in the North West of England and situated in Alrincham, Bolton, Chester, Crewe, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Warrington, Wigan and Wilmslow. They also have a head office which is located in Warrington, in addition to the Warrington branch office. My local branch is Altrincham which is what the majority of this review will actually be based on although from speaking to friends, the processes are identical in all branches.
The Registration Process
I went into my local branch and was told I needed to make an appointment initially to complete the registration process which would apparently take approximately an hour. Luckily they had an appointment for that afternoon so after leaving my CV with them I went and did a bit of shopping start spending my wages that I was bound to earn soon enough! I went back to the branch at my allotted time where I was greeted by one of the Temporary Consultants who took me through the process: -
* Forms the first stage of the registration process involved filling in a registration form which asked for basic details such as name, address and date of birth before moving on to ask for my education and employment history, finally it asked some brief questions such as could I drive and did I have access to a car. After that I had to fill in a more general form asking my likes and dislikes with regard to work did I prefer a job where I was given specific instructions or left to my own devices, did I prefer to work individually or as part of a team, etc. Finally there was a third form asking for my bank details so they could pay me! I also had to fill in a form to say I was exempt from tax up to £4,900 due to being a student. All in all the process probably took about 10-15 minutes and although it was slightly repetitive as long as it promised work I didnt mind so much!
* Tests after Id filled in my forms and my consultant had taken copies of my passport (remember to take a form of ID with you) I was sat down at a computer and given some basic typing tests to complete. The first one was merely copy typing and simply asked you to type as much of a document as you could in Word in 5 minutes, this was then marked for accuracy and speed. Secondly I was given a Word test which involved asking me to complete various tasks on Word which increased in difficulty as you went on, e.g. open a new document, do a mail merge, etc. Lastly I was given an audio typing test as I wanted to be considered for legal secretary and typist work, this was similar to the first test but obviously you heard the script rather than copy typed it. This probably took a further 15 minutes and I have to say I quite enjoyed it thanks to DooYoo my typing speed is pretty impressive!
* Interview as the final part of the registration process youre information is all collated by your personal consultant and they conduct a short interview with you. I was quite worried at first as to what they were going to ask me but I really didnt have any need to be. It was really informal and the consultant was absolutely lovely, she merely went through my forms with me asking me specific questions such as if I was enjoying University, etc. before going on to talk about what sort of roles Id like to be considered for. It was more like a chat to be honest and just gave her a chance to get to know me and see how I react to meeting strangers in a working environment. After this she offered me some temporary work there and then! It was only one day working in a doctors on reception but anything would keep my mum happy for a bit! Finally she thanked me for coming in and promised to be in touch as soon as something else suitable came in. This took a further 10-15 minutes so all in all Id say you need a good 45 minutes for the process.
Jobs & Opportunities
Forrest Recruitment only deals with certain categories of recruitment which enable them to specialise in particular areas. The first one is administrative / secretarial and includes positions such as secretary, legal secretary, PA, typist, telesales, clerk, etc. and the second one is accounts which includes positons such as accounts clerk, credit controller and sales ledger. As you can probably deduce the majority of jobs are typically for secretaries and other similar vocations.
I registered with them having had two months experience last summer of temporary reception work and asked to be considered for similar types of roles again. These included reception work, legal and secretarial work, call centre work and administrative role work. Ive since had three positions through Forrest which have varied in length from 1 day to 2 weeks and have included receptionist at a doctors, administrative assistant at a haulage company and legal secretary at a solicitors. For each opportunity my consultant has contacted me and run the position past me first before sending my CV over to the client. In each case shes then rung me back within an hour and offered me the position! Theyve also rung me on the first day of each new booking to check things are running smoothly for me and Ive not had any problems.
Rates of Pay
Typically Ive found that office temping tends to pay above the minimum rage and also better than many other positions which I considered for summer work including shop work and waitressing. So far the pay for the jobs Ive done this summer have varied from £5.50 to £6.70 which isnt bad at all when you consider I dont actually get taxed due to being a full time student so I'm exempt under around £4,900. With my limited experience I was told to expect anything from £5.50 to £6.50 an hour, sometimes higher although for the more experience PAs and secretaries you can expect to earn up to £12 an hour on a temporary basis.
For each booking I was sent a time sheet which I filled in during the week and then sent back to Forrest on a Friday morning, I then found that my wages went directly into my bank account the following Friday.
Theres many reasons to temp, the main one for me is that it is an ideal way to earn some money during my summer holidays I do admit if I was wanting to work full time then I would probably opt for a permanent position. However if you want to work just 9-5 Monday to Friday so you have your weekends free, enjoy going into new situations rather than doing the same job for works at a time, want to be paid regularly every single Friday and want to be offered a range of opportunities than look no further than temping through Forrest oh and you must live in the North West, or at least be willing to travel!
My Friends Experience
Unfortunately when I asked my friend to tell me briefly of her experience of working through Forrest on a more long-term basis it wasnt quite so rosy. She registered with them back in summer 2004 and spent two months working in temporary positions which all ran smoothly. They then put her forward for a permanent position (as she wasnt a student) which she was later offered the job for. However on her first day there no one told her a thing and she was left to her own devices, she rang up Forrest and voiced her concerns and they promised to ring the company and sort something out. The next day she went in and the same happened again until finally she had to insist that she didnt understand the computer setup or the program she was meant to be doing accounts on shed previously told Forrest she didnt have financial experience but they still put her forward for a job where she was clearly out of her depth, she left later that same week. After that Forrest were quite cool with her and didnt offer her any other positions until last November, shes since started working through other agencies and rarely uses Forrest anymore.
Id thoroughly recommend Forrest Recruitment as an agency to temp with as last summer I found my agencies to be a bit temperamental with the work and also rather pushy when it came to me saying no to some positions due to them being poorly paid or a little too far to travel. I also found some offices a little too formal and often lacking in a friendly atmosphere, therefore I felt reassured that when I entered the branch everyone was chatting and joking around over lunch. Forrest has suited me down to the ground and I hope to continue working through my Altrincham branch all summer long to keep my mum happy anyway!
Thanks for reading!