Proof of ID for recruitment agencies

I’ve now had contact from Computer People’s legal department about my initial post. Read my post about it.

Following up from my recent post where I suspected that a request for a copy of my passport and my national insurance number was a scam:

I didn’t receive (and still haven’t) any mail back from the agency clarifying their request after I asked for it, and I couldn’t find anything at all on their website about it. However, following up this “Is it a scam?” thread on which asks the very same question, I was lead to this page on the Square One website (Square One are a UK recruitment agency) which says this:

For candidates seeking permanent employment through Square One, the only noticeable change to the service we offer will be in relation to confirmation of identity. In order to ensure our compliance with the regulations, we will ask you to send us a copy of your driving licence, passport or birth certificate in order to verify your identity. This is required by Regulation 19 of the Conduct Regulations.

Interesting stuff indeed. Fortunately for me, they also link to the PDF of the Conduct Regulations themselves, hosted on the DTI’s site, Regulation 19 of which (on page 18) says:

Regulation 19 Confirmation to be obtained about a work-seeker

Provides that an employment agency or employment business must not
introduce or supply a work-seeker to a hirer unless it has obtained
(a) of the identity of the work-seeker. This will mean seeing any
document which provides evidence of the work-seekers identity,
such as his/her passport, driving licence, birth certificate.

So, at last! Clarification! How hard could it be to at least include links to this information in a request? If I sent you an email asking for a photocopy of your passport and your national insurance number, would you be perfectly happy to send it off to me? Especially if you weren’t sure of my identification (because it’s never the actual recruitment agents who talk to me who ask for this, it’s from people I’ve never heard of who happen to have domains which appear to be from the same company) ?

Next-gen IM

Instant messengers with bluetooth detection facilities. That’s where it’s at, man.

If you’re on Linux, you’re probably a step ahead of the game already, given this page on the Gentoo Wiki (courtesy of Jim’s links) which shows you how to perform an action when your bluetooth phone comes into or leaves the proximity of your computer.

Psi will soon(ish) support Ad-Hoc commands (see the Feature Request and the examples), making this kind of thing all the easier. I can’t wait!

(I guess “Next-gen IM” is over-egging it a bit, but I do think it’s next-gen presence. Once Psi supports Ad-Hoc commands, I’ll be able to fulfill my dreams of changing my Jabber status based on my calendar too.)

Charges, charges everywhere

Orange charge for copies of bills older than three months.

Orange provide your last three months bills online (including complete itemisation in a PDF).

I smell a screen-scraper which generates RSS feeds with enclosures. I want to be able to access whichever of my bills I like, thank you very much.

My broadband connection is provided by Freedom2Surf (and very good they’ve been, too). Since I’m moving house in a couple of weeks, I want to cancel our contract, but because we signed the contract fewer than twelve months ago, if I cancel it now they’ll charge me £70. It’ll be cheaper for me to wait until after the move and cancel it then (I have unmetered access). That’s just insanity – what do they gain by doing this?

Review sources

Sites where extracting review information and generating feeds would be easy:

What you’d really want to do is build a list of “favourite artists” or something, and then whenever one appeared in a review feed, you’d get notified of it. So what’s the best way of building the artist list that you’d want to match against?

Gmail Conversations

One of the big things about Gmail is supposed to be how it deals with messages and threads. Everything is a “conversation“. There’s no flat view of all your mails. Except I don’t have any say in what’s a conversation and what’s not – it’s all worked out by Gmail. The machine is overlaying what it thinks is going on to what people are actually doing, and whilst it’s got a nice 80-90% success rate, it doesn’t succeed all the time.

If I send someone an email, and they reply by starting a new mail themselves, instead of hitting “reply”, then we lose the conversation. If they use a different email address to reply, but keep the same subject line and have my message body inline, we lose the conversation. If someone sends me a new mail by replying to the last one I sent them (so they don’t have to look for me in their address book or whatever), then that mail becomes part of my last conversation with them, although it’s entirely unrelated.

Gmail needs to have some advanced conversation management. “Join conversations”, “Add mail to conversation”, “Remove mail from conversation/Start new conversation with this mail”.

They know that this is a problem, so we can hope that features like this will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, on those occassions where it does occur, it’s bloody annoying. Annoying enough to blog about, anyway 😉

Moving home, what to do?

I’m moving house and job in the next few weeks (although I don’t actually have a job to go to yet), and so I will need to tell lots of different people about my change in contact details. Herewith, a short list, both for my own reference and in the vain hope that someone will tell me what I’ve missed 🙂

  • Bank
  • Credit card company
  • Mobile phone company
  • Address on my CV/job websites
  • Specsavers
  • Electricity supplier
  • Water supplier
  • Telephone provider
  • Internet provider
  • TV Licensing people
  • Council Tax people
  • National Insurance
  • Student Loans Agency
  • Electoral Register
  • Mailing lists I’m signed up to at work

Hmm, what else?