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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

You Want The Truth? You Can't Handle The Truth!...

...I'll be the judge of that, thank you very much.
There's something I've been wanting to get off my chest for several weeks now, and I feel the time has arrived. I'm talking about The F Word:
In the past couple of weeks I have applied for about 6 different jobs and, of course, I've been unsuccessful for all of them. When I say unsuccessful, I mean I didn't even get to the interview stage. I should like to point out that I don't apply for any jobs where I don't meet all of the essential requirements, so in theory I have been turned down for 6 jobs I am capable of doing.
Here are the jobs I am not suitable for (You will notice there are only 4 listed. Apparently the other two companies were so horrified at the prospect of me thinking I could work for them that they didn't bother replying):
  • Admin Assistant (essential requirements, GCSE in English & Maths, ability to use photocopier, telephone and computer).
  • Customer Service Team Manager
  • Customer Research Centre Manager
  • Any Job with B&Q

I am more than a little concerned that I am not suitable for a job as a Customer Service Team Manager when I have worked've guessed it, a Customer Service Team Manager for the last 5 YEARS. So this begs the question, if I can't apply for jobs I am not qualified for, and I can't get a job I am qualified for, what the hell am I supposed to do?

Your guess is as good as mine. I approached each of the recruiters for the above roles to ask for feedback on my applications and this is what I was told respectively:

1) "Due to the overwhelming response we regret that we are unable to provide feedback".

2) "Whilst we felt you had lots of relevant work experience, we had so many applications we ended up only interviewing those with experience working for local government" - which is funny as it didn't say you needed experience in local government in the person specification and one of my former colleagues got an interview. Guess what, she's never worked in local government and neither had three other people she met at the assessment day. They gave the job to an internal candidate.

3) "Whilst we felt you had lots of relevant work experience at Team Manager level, we had so many applications we ended up only interviewing those with experience in customer research" - which is funny as it didn't say you needed experience in customer research in the person specification and a different former colleague had an interview. I'm fairly sure she doesn't have experience in customer research.

4) "We have based our decision on our experience and research of the unique B&Q culture and the profiles of our top performing staff. Unfortunately, your individual profile does not show a close enough match to the required staff profile" - This is referring to the results of the "there are no right or wrong answers (unless you want a job with B&Q, in which case there are plenty of wrong anwers)" personality questionnaire I was forced to take which painted me out to be some kind of unemployable nut job who would probably be better off withdrawing from society altogether, spending the rest of my days looking forward to the next episode of Jeremy Kyle.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying I am the most perfect employee in the world, but all I am asking for is an honest reason for not being selected. If I am doing something wrong on my application forms and nobody tells me then I'm never going to know! And I'm not saying I am more deserving of a job than any of my former colleagues, or any of the other applicants, just don't lie to me about why I didn't make the grade!

If I couldn't handle the feedback, I wouldn't have asked.

By the time you access all the relevant information, fill out the (usually very badly formatted) application form, tailoring it each time to the individual role, it probably takes an average of 2 hours to apply for a job. For the Customer Service Team Manager I spent TWO DAYS making sure I was happy with my application, and took up the time of my old boss who also checked over it. Considering the amount of time I have invested (or wasted, some might say)I don't think it is unreasonable to expect someone to give me some constructive feedback as to why I was not suitable, so that I might be able to improve my chances next time round.

The excuse that recruiters are too busy to provide individual feedback is a pretty poor one as far as I am concerned. If someone has bothered not only to apply for a job but then to ask for feedback when they got rejected, it's only fair that someone has the decency to tell them why. I'm not asking for war and peace, just don't gave me the big Fob-Off!

A friend of mine works for the Police, and applied for his exact job but with the Metropolitan Police. When he didn't even get an interview, he tried to find out what he had done wrong and was simply told "The Chief Executive reserves the right not to provide feedback". Thanks for that, very helpful.

If you would like to join my campaign to make it mandatory to provide brief, constructive and HONEST feedback to all applicants who ask for it, then please leave some comments!

Hi Suze! x


  1. Hi,

    I lost my job in may. I am a qualified Retail Manager with experience running a store with 3 million pound turnover. That said, the B&Q profile thingy also suggested that I was unsuitable for a management or in fact any role.

    In the last 6 weeks I have applied for 35 jobs, I have not had feedback for a single role either. I have even started applying for retails sales roles and have dumbed down my cv but to no avail. I fully understand your plight and annoyance. Perhaps we could start a business advising business to provide feedback for candidates! Lol. Good Luck

  2. Leigh, thank you so much for leaving a comment, I really appreciate it and I am so frustrated on your behalf.
    Fingers crossed something decent comes up for you soon x