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Jewish World Review March 8, 2001 / 13 Adar, 5761

Getting Hired By Marvin Walberg

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Consumer Reports

Know thy boss -- DEAR MR. WALBERG: I have accidentally created a situation resulting in negative references from an employment agency I used to work for.

I was working an assignment for the agency and received excellent reviews from the company; however, I was terminated with 40 other workers when business slowed. I was told the company would rehire.

Not understanding the protocol for working through an employment agency, I contacted the company, asking when workers could expect to be recalled.

Well, that did it. The employment agency got upset and told me I would never be returning to that job, nor would I be assigned other work through them.

I made an honest mistake and now find myself in dire straits, without a job and without representation by that agency. What do I do? I desperately need to work! -E.L., Memramcook, New Brunswick

DEAR E.L.: To set the record straight, when you are assigned work through an employment agency, you are the employee, the agency is the employer and the company where you are assigned is the client of the agency.

The company pays a fee to the agency and the agency pays your salary. Therefore, any discussions regarding income, future job assignments or even conflicts on the job must be directed to the agency, not the company or even the supervisor on the job.

Your role should have been explained to you when you registered with that agency, but to move on, here's what I recommend:

- Write to the employment agency apologizing for your mistake and explaining that you simply did not understand the protocol. Make your letter clear, concise and brief.

- Explain that you were not trying to circumvent the agency's role in that relationship but that you simply wanted to work.

- Send a blind copy of that letter to your supervisor at the company.

If there are other employment agencies in your area, register with them. Move on with your job search. If asked for references, include the company you worked for, not the employment agency.

Whenever an error is committed, let the experience strengthen your future, not weaken your past.

Marvin Walberg is a job search consultant and the author of ''About Getting Hired: the Job Search.'' Comment by clicking here.


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