One up, one down.

My OH went for an interview today, and came back feeling that he had done a good fist of it.  He looked quite hopeful and I do hope that he gets the job – he is so much better than some of the jobs he has been going for lately, which makes it difficult when he doesn’t get them.

I get really incensed at the way job seekers are treated.  I have been there, and now see that things have not changed in the last three years.

There are idiots who design application forms with the smallest space for email addresses and yet three lines for a post code.  Some idiot saved a word doc on the Internet marked as read only – FFS.    Another designed an application pack in A5 format – in size 5 pt text you wouldn’t get the information on and it would not be legible if you did.  Would some person tell the design department that PDFs may look nice but are no use for editing as application forms.  Then there are still health questionnaires sent out with the standard application forms which ask the most personal questions, which should really only be asked after interview if there is the chance that you may be employed.

The interview process is also fraught.  The other day my OH turned up for an interview which the interviewer had forgotten about and had taken the day off.  He was interviewed by someone who was not only not confident but not really happy about doing it.  Do you think he had a fair interview?   He makes a special effort to be early and well dressed, unlike the interviewers.  A colleague of mine is notorious for appearing at work half an hour after the first interview should have started, and regularly relies on junior staff to prepare the questions.

Whilst I was job seeking I would spend an average of five hours filling in an application form.  If I got an interview I would then spend several hours preparing presentations (if requested), an hour or so at least on research of the post organisation and location, plus a while working on possible answers to questions that might be asked.  I always ensured that I had questions to ask at the end (it looks as if you are not interested) and a list of things I felt I had to say at some point during the interview.

When you have done all that preparation and you don’t get the job it is absolutely infuriating to not even hear the outcome.  I have often had to ring to be told that i didn’t get the job and that there was no-one available to give any feedback.  After the effort I have gone to i think that at least five minutes should be given to explain where you might improve your interview technique, or what experience you might gain before trying for such a post before.  Even if you don’t get the job, a piece of feedback can be very useful, even uplifting.

The reality is that many of those jobs that I applied for and probably those that my OH applies for are already ‘unofficiailllly given’ to an internal candidate.  In some cases the outsiders are invited just to make numbers up.

I remember one case where I applied for a post which had clearly been offered to an internal candidate.  One interviewer refused to look up from her paper, even when it was her turn to ask the question.   When they rang me to inform me of the decision I pointed out that I felt that I had an unfair interview and was told that it was felt that I had not engaged the whole panel!  Sometimes you cannot hope to get the job, and often you know as you walk in.

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