There’s nothing currently I welcome more than to hear from a company that I’ve applied for a job with. It’s often nice to know that they’ve taken time and effort to at least read my application, and at best consider me for their role. Unfortunately it’s very rare that this happens. I find it incredibly annoying that I spend so much time and effort completing job applications, and writing cover letters to accompany my CV only to never receive even an acknowledgement that my application has even been received. In my opinion that's rude, and it’s unprofessional.
Of course, that’s not to say that I always agree with companies that send me letters of rejection either. Due to the amount of applications I’m completing recently it unfortunately means that I receive rejection letters on a daily basis; on my desk I have two from yesterday, and in my email account I have five on the front page from the past week. Obviously I believe I was a suitable candidate for each of these positions, or I wouldn’t have applied, but I can also accept that the may have been stronger candidates than myself.
What I can’t accept though, is the rejection I recieved from PC World.
The application itself took almost an hour to complete. It was a frustrating, gritty, and prolonged process. This was mainly due to 6 long and arduous pages of questionnaires and personality tests in a tick box format. You know the type I mean; strongly agree, agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, disagree, strongly disagree, none of which suit the answer you wish to give. All that was left after that were a few details that needed filling in; previous employment, contact details etc. Those details were presented in such a way that it seemed like a formality as I’d got so far, so imagine my surprise when I checked my emails and saw this sitting there:
Re: part time Sales Customer Advisors
Many thanks for your application for the above position.
Unfortunately, your skills and experience do not seem to be a strong match for this role. I regret to inform you that we won’t be taking your application any further on this occasion.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in joining the team and for the time you’ve taken with your application. Please do not respond to this email as we are unable to reply to it.
PC World is part of Dixons Stores Group international Plc, one of Europe’s largest specialist electrical retailers. Our businesses also include Currys.digital, Currys, Pixmania, Dixons.co.uk, Tech Guys, Dixons Travel and DSGi Business. We have retail and e-tail stores spanning 28 countries, employ over 40,000 people and more than 100 million customers shop in-store and on-line with us every year.
This reply was received within minutes (probably less!) of submitting my application for the vacancy. Considering that this application actually took me close to an hour to complete, how on earth someone at PC World was able to read my application form in that space of time and make a formal judgement on me and my suitability for the role actually beggars belief. That someone must be quite inept to believe that I don’t have the ‘skills and experience’ for the role bearing in mind that I have spent over 5 years within a retail environment, experience of targeted sales, and a vast amount of knowledge and experience using computers and other relevant technology. You’d think that’s pretty much everything you need to be a ‘part time Sales Customer Adviser’ at PC World.
Of course, that assumption has a massive flaw; maybe that someone was, ironically, a computer program; one that scanned my application and rapidly decided against offering me an interview at PC World.
Upon doing some research, I’ve fond that PC World (and many other recruiters) use an online recruitment program provided by changeworknow. These guys are apparently “specialists in online resourcing” who “reduce recruitment spend overall” for companies. Here’s a paragraph from their website:
Driving up quality, driving down admin
Our approach to high volume recruitment maximises the use of criteria based questionnaires with immediate feedback to help each candidate understand how well they fit the role profile and control the quality of the candidates presented to HR and branch managers. Our clients typically experience a 50-80% reduction of unsuitable candidates through self deselection, with a parallel reduction in administration and manual filtering.
There you have it, confirmation that my application was judged by a computer program. Despite me comfortably having the necessary experience for the role, I have been overlooked by PC World due to them seemingly cutting costs within their recruitment department, and opting for a cheaper/easier method of filtering applications.
It makes me wonder how many other companies have overlooked me, and other suitable candidates in the past due to programs and similar cost cutting methods such as this.
I do accept that companies such as PC World must receive a large amount of job applications, and need a way of filtering them efficiently. But I’m not sure that conducting an online test that doesn’t appear make sense in places, is the right way to go.
Still, they’re a helpful, intelligent bunch in PC World… aren’t they?