Do jumps, try zumba, throw a ball as far as possible, improve your endurance… with your Pôle Emploi adviser, and the person who can hire you an hour later. Thursday, April 14, in the brand new premises of the EACPA (Agglomeration agreement Cergy-Pontoise athletics), athletics club of Cergy-Pontoise (Val-d’Oise), 130 job seekers (half of them young people) have participated in an unusual “job dating”, based on the values ​​of sport.

In practice, the day is organized in three parts: sports workshops in the morning, lunch at noon and recruitment sessions in the afternoon. Thus, at 9 a.m., thirteen recruiters mingle with the queue of registrants to collect a bib (on which only a first name appears).

If the principle is disconcerting, it is not a question of putting unemployed people in competition on the track, nor of reducing job search to a game: it is a question of using the practice of sport to desacralize the job interview. hiring from people far from employment. By bringing recruiters and recruits back to the same level in the morning and by creating social ties between all the participants, the idea is to make professional exchanges in the afternoon more natural.

Shyness disappears quickly

This event is part of the “Stade towards employment” operation, which is aimed at all unemployed people registered with the Pôle emploi agency in Cergy. In the Cergy-Vexin employment zone, which brings together 120 municipalities in Val-d’Oise, the unemployment rate is 7.3% of the active population in the fourth quarter of 2021, quite close to 7.4% at the national level. .

“You can have fun working out and ending up in the interview with the same clothes on, sitting on the perch mat. At first, some were reluctant to come in tracksuits, now Pôle Emploi warns them that they have to do it. Jean-Jacques Godard, president of the Ligue de l’Ile-de-France d’athlétisme, does not hide his enthusiasm: “We have more and more requests from employers, each time it’s a hit. »

On the slopes, timidity fades quickly and a certain enthusiasm emerges. The most motivated encourage very strongly those who have more difficulties, especially the older ones. Doura Souaré, 23, quickly established herself as a kind of head coach. He knows he is tempted by the police, present at the “job dating”: “It’s a childhood dream, I tried several courses in college, but I stopped. I worked for three years in fast food, I just got fired. Gaetan Wehl, 31, a former engineer in industry, is mostly satisfied with “the good-natured state of mind: it allows you to go there in relaxed mode, to laugh, while seeing several companies in the same daytime “.

The Pôle emploi and Cap emploi advisers, dressed in a blue chasuble, are identifiable. They contributed to the meticulous preparation of the event, pre-constructing each team according to the offers targeted by the candidates: the latter had been informed beforehand of the companies present and had already applied for certain jobs before the day.

In-house training

Recruiters and advisers have only one expression in their mouths: soft skills, or soft skills in managerial jargon, demonstrated by candidates on sports fields. “We have prepared job seekers for these skills, which are found in sports workshops: team spirit, commitment, being motivated, respecting the rules, listening,” explains Jean -Nicolas Ascencio, Pôle emploi adviser in Cergy. In all trades, skills are called upon, from catering to mechanics, including sales. »

Many job seekers admit to lacking self-confidence when they have to participate in traditional interviews. “We have people very far from employment in Cergy, in particular women who do not feel legitimate, who have taken care of their children, come back and do not know how to make a CV. Our job is to tell people that they have the skills,” insists Emmanuelle Gruchet, business advisor.

Around 2 p.m., the masks fall off. After the lunch break, where the athletes discussed over a meal – talking about both football news and the jobs that interest them – the recruiters, called one by one, reveal themselves, sometimes to the great surprise of all. They represent the national police, personal assistance companies or building security companies. For two hours, job seekers follow one another in front of each of the thirteen improvised stands, on a sports or pole vault mat.

Although the majority of the jobs offered are low-skilled, there are also positions for managerial technicians in industry, and several employers offer in-house training in the event of hiring, for example in the job of sales consultant in optics, on a permanent contract. “We just ask for the baccalaureate and a little experience in sales, people who have good interpersonal skills and are presentable”, explains Marine de Araujo, recruitment officer for BK Concept.

The competition rages on

Interviews are done in a very informal way: standing up, recruiters ask candidates about their experiences and availability. Sometimes the competition is fierce, especially for a fast food chain. The restaurant manager asks questions and demands a show of hands: “Who worked in the restaurant?” The majority of the dozen present raise their hands. “Me, catering,” adds one. “I’m a sandwich specialist,” says another person, who complains a few minutes later that she couldn’t get a job immediately, as she had understood on her way to the stadium.

Indeed, out of the hundred or so job offers offered, almost none will definitely find a taker on the same day, in particular for reasons of administrative formalities: this remains a pre-recruitment event and some stands refer job seekers to a form fill. Pôle emploi, however, puts forward a figure of 50% return to work rate for applicants who participated in previous operations.

The public operator is not the only one to bet on this principle. The establishment for integration into employment (Epide) in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), which accommodates 160 young people who have left the school system without diplomas or qualifications in boarding school, regularly organizes football, paintball and a few events linking sport and recruitment for the young people of Epide.

In the private sector, the interim agency Adéquat, in search of profiles, has also launched a “challenge tour” in several cities in France, which offers 18-25 year olds the opportunity to meet employers in their region, on land of basketball. Pôle emploi has planned a hundred operations similar to that of Cergy-Pontoise for 2022, around athletics but also table tennis, badminton, rugby or basketball.