Monday, January 31, 2011

Beware the employment agency (sorry, serious post)

Ok, this one is not about an FUNemployment adventure or even a frustrated missive about Citibank. But I believe it's key information for the unemployed that must be shared: Beware anyone asking you to fill out an I-9 that's not your new employer (company where you'll actually be working).

Typically, you're asked to fill this form out on your first day of your new job along with a W-2 and various other forms. It means you're on the road to being put on the payroll.

As someone who is FUNemployed and in the hunt for a job, I have submitted my resume for various jobs to companies and recruiters.

I got a call today from what I thought was a recruiter about a job that I'd applied to. We made an appointment to discuss the position and she said she'd send me an email with some paperwork to fill out. When I got the email, I saw that there was an I-9 and a W-2 to fill out. Confused, I asked why I was being required to fill these out prior to interviewing. This is confidential information and I'm not in the habit of providing my social security number (and photocopy of my passport) to anyone with whom I don't have a bank account or a job.

This "recruiter" is actually an employment agency. The problem with employment agencies is that once you fill out this paperwork, you're their employee. Which means you'll get sent out on gigs. But once that gig ends, you may have trouble collecting your unemployment.

As their employee, chances are they'll always have another gig and you'll have no choice but to take it since you'll need to get paid. So you may need to drive to another county or take an assignment in an unrelated field. If you refuse, you may find that the employment agency claims that you've "quit," therefore, jeopardizing and canceling your unemployment claim.

I know that the goal is to get back to work. I'm only writing this to provide some information that you can make an informed decision. If the gig is good enough and there is a strong likelihood that it'll go full time then by all means go ahead. Just think it through. Here is a link to more information:

My stance is that I'll never, ever jeopardize my unemployment for a possibility, especially prior to determining if I'm right for any of their current listings. I give out my phone number and email with abandon but never my social security number. Cause the key word in that name is security. And as far as I'm concerned, there is no security with an employment agency.

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