We have been recruiting recently. It’s a sobering business. One route is via job-boards, though it’s certainly not the only way. We have had 450+ applications. I use the word applications loosely…. Many of them have been a series of meandering words, some have been remarkably self-congratulatory in content but with no perceptible reason, quite a few have applied several times for the same job, many demonstrate grammar and typos that would make my cat blush and overwhelmingly they fail to follow our very clearly stated submission procedure. Only about ten have done so in a meaningful way.
We emailed a pack and a covering email to each one. It was brutally honest .......:
“I attach the information pack to help you decide whether you would like to progress with your application. Please read it carefully. There is some guidance about making your application on the last page. This will be the basis for shortlisting, not a CV alone.
We have now had [450+] applications for this role. To date, there have only been [nine] correct submissions for consideration. So although the application process is in the information pack I am setting it out again here to reinforce the essential nature of the requirement and in the hope that if you are really are genuinely interested in the role that you will make your application in the way we want.
You must write a letter (grammatically correct and correctly spelled) setting out evidence of the following.
- an ability to correctly carry out HR admin tasks;
- an eagerness to learn and a willingness to listen;
- a practical approach to problem solving;
- detail consciousness;
- grammatically correct, clear and accurate written and spoken English;
- an analytical approach to assessing data;
- research skills;
- flexibility in terms of time and travel;
- full driving licence and your own transport;
- emotional resilience;
- a willingness to work hard.
NB We don’t even look at CVs without a letter that meets our specification.
If you can’t or won’t do this task it’s very simple. You won’t be able to do our job.”
And then we go on to set out the recruitment process itself.
We took the time to regret all unsuccessful applicants, which included the 440 who had not submitted a letter. I made it clear that if they still wished to submit a letter they could.
It was clear from the response that they aren’t used to prospective employers doing this. Only one person was rather sniffy and wrote back: “Good lick (sic). This is an exhausting recruitment process” Well, quite. I’m fairly sure he wasn’t our ideal candidate.
It’s taken about 15 minutes a day to manage the applications, plus the ten minutes to screen the applications from people who bothered to write the letter. In other words we have attracted a reasonable number of decent quality candidates and deflected the rest without much effort on our part.
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