28 February 2012

Am I Just A Number?

I really don't want to be done for libel but I'm about ready to turn an unfamiliar shade of puce and start yelling awful things on the streets of London about a particular company we shan't name here. It seems to me that not only do jobseekers have to contend with a worsening job market, fewer jobs, redundancies, never-ending applications and inevitable rejections, alongside all of this, we are treated in an almost inhumane way.

HR, headhunters - we are all just numbers to them.

I recently did an interview for the role of Publishing Assistant with a certain magazine. It went surprisingly well considering it was the first interview I've ever had for a job that I actually really want. I wasn't a shaking ball of nerves, I actually remembered everything I had read about the company on their website and, after I left, the recruitment company rang me to say that the interviewers really liked the way I had answered the questions and that I had a second interview.

The next week was spent diligently practising my practical skills. I printed off proofreading tests and even watched every single video on YouTube narrated by a geeky American middle-aged man about how to use Adobe InDesign. Needless to say this all took hours and I turned down shifts at work in order to be at my best as well as turning down another work experience placement at the Daily Mail.

It's Thursday evening, the night before my interview and I'm in Tesco buying aubergines or something, when my phone rings. In two minutes my soul was shattered. The guy from the recruitment agency tells me that the company decided to go with someone else.... before even giving me my second interview. Cue me wandering forlornly through Tescos with my aubergines and wondering whether I should just take a job there instead.

I just don't understand. Why tell me this the night before my interview? In my eyes, I am not only down one job interview, I am also down at least £40 worth of work and a weeks worth of experience. If they thought someone was better than me, why did they ask me to do a second interview? I thought they were really great people when I met them but now I'm glad that I'm not working there if they treat people like this. I got from over 300 applicants down to the last 5 and I was still just a number to them.

In my eyes, all job applications should receive a letter/email of  recognition, followed by one saying whether or not you have made it to the next stage. The number of applications I've spent hours on to receive absolutely zilch back from is countless. Even an automated email would be something. So far I feel like the people in charge of actually giving us jobs are cold-hearted machines. I don't know whether it's their fault or that of the economy/job market but it's still not acceptable.

Perhaps I should go into HR myself and revolutionise the way job applications are processed. None of this computerised CV sorting. We need real jobs for real people. 


  1. Agreed, you cannot judge someone by a piece of paper. And most of the time, when I've walked into an interview they haven't even read your credentials anyway and ask questions which are blatantly, obviously, answered on that damned piece of paper in front of them!

    I'm sorry about your job but it just means it wasn't for you and something better is on the way :( Don't worry ... my future is also pending as I am about ending my temp job and hoping it will go permanent or to some other internal transfer...but if not, i'm back helping you row that boat round in circles :(

  2. http://agarlandcrown.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/seriously-am-i-an-ahole/ - my work stresses :(

  3. Thanks agarlandcrown - let's hope you're right about something better being on its way. Good luck to you too! I hope you manage to keep your job and don't end up back where you started.

    I think that the job market is different here to in Australia; that said, they do normally like you to follow up a job and I have had some good feedback when I did so here. And as for employers not liking your sense of humour, you are clearly not looking in the right places and you wouldn't want to work for a company who are deadly serious all of the time anyway.The company needs to suit you just as much as you suit the company.

    I hope it all goes to plan and I love the blog :)