Return of the Red Tape…

Red Tape

Red Tape (Photo credit: Free Press Pics)

…And this time it’s digital.

It’s been a difficult few years for most of us, economically speaking, and as such it’s great to see how government departments do everything they can to make it quick and simple for employers to employ new staff, to help provide growth in the economy and give someone a purpose.

Oh, wait, no, sorry.  When I said quick and simple I meant difficult.

Once upon a time when we wanted to advertise a job we’d ring the local job centre and give them the details, they’d be typed on to a little card and slotted onto a holder on the wall.  More recently we’d ring a centralised call centre and they’d take the details and put them on the computerised version of the little cards and virtual wall.

But the last time I rang I was told that we couldn’t do that any more, all job adverts have to be placed using the online system, the woman I spoke to put the ad on but I was aware that really she was breaking the rules to do so.  I was sent information on how to do it in future and this week the reality of this futuristic way of doing things hit me.

This is meant to improve the service, and meant to be more secure – after all, we’ve all heard stories of rogue individuals pretending to be HR staff from small glass companies and posting fake job adverts.  Okay, so first step, log in to your Government Gateway account.  That’s all well and good but when it was set up the one used for the company is in the director’s name and when I try to add the Universal Jobmatch tool then I get asked to answer security questions, for verification.  Right, how would I know our director’s first girlfriend’s name, his first teddybear’s name, which school he went to?  I’m not kidding, these are the personal questions you need to provide answers to in case you ever ring them and need to prove it’s you.  He’s not here to ask and to be honest I wouldn’t ask him anyway.

No problem, as this government gateway thing turns out to be more specific to a person rather than a company I’ll set one up in my name, at this company, and I can tell them what my favourite childhood toy was.  All good so far except I can’t add Universal Jobmatch to my profile because it’s already on the director’s even though it’s not fully set up.  Ok, so I log back into the other account, remove it from there and add it to mine instead.  Now it’s true that I could only do all this because the Universal Jobmatch had been already set up and had a private ID number allocated by the woman I spoke to last time so it’s good in terms of security but it’s still an hour’s faffing about rather than a ten minute phone call.  You bored yet?  I was.

But it’s not over yet, once I was able to enter the job details all was good, in so many ways it’s easier to manage your own adverts, I’m sure the government can be happy it’s saving money by having employers do it themselves too, but what made me laugh was at the end of the process when the system told me I hadn’t entered enough characters in the job description – minimum of 200.

Ha, I thought, I go to advertise a job and they want War and Peace instead, do they think I’ve got all day?

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