Before applying for that job vacancy – Are you sure you are ready for work?


JobSeekDuring the past few weeks I have spent a lot of my time interviewing candidates for a vacancy we had in our service department.  When you cut away all the job description jargon, the job is basically one of providing the best in customer service.

The ability to write clearly, spell most common words and know what numbers are, is a distinct advantage in this and I would dare to suggest, in most other jobs.

On-site training is provided, so an ability to understand and assimilate spoken instructions is also essential.

In the past, to save time, we have used recruitment companies to help find us the ‘perfect candidate’. My experience of using this method has left me very cynical.  Despite talks of ‘criteria’ and ‘job positioning,’  I find that inevitably I receive lots of CVs that bear no relation to the original ‘perfect candidate’ we first spoke about.  It seems sometimes that the recruitment company’s idea of finding the right candidate is a bit like testing if spaghetti is cooked, if you throw enough of it at the wall, some is bound to stick!

A recent article in the local paper about the level of unemployment in the 17 – 24 age group  pricked my social conscience and I placed an ad in the local job centre, giving a full description of the job and what was needed for a candidate to be successful. I was heartened and also saddened by the 145 replies I received via email.

I have often been criticised for being ‘too grammatically correct’ when writing an email – I tend to use capitals at the start of a sentence, proper words and spell them correctly and, horror of horrors, I break my message down into paragraphs to make is easier for the recipient to read.

This is an extract of one of the emailed CVs I received:

 I’m writeing about the job you put in the job centre as I think I could do it.  I am working as a carer at present but the moneys not much good and im a bit fed up and could do with a change.the only thing is the advert said I’d have to work some Saturdays and Friday night is mostly when I see my mates down the pub so I couldn’t do many Saturdays I hope that’s ok with you

There were a few that were really good, but too many were like the example above. They had no idea what a prospective employer was looking for. No grasp of how they should present themselves.

I asked about twenty people to attend interviews. Five just didn’t turn up or bother to get in touch; six were already receiving unemployment benefit and had no intention of working for me, just wanted me to sign their sheet to say they had turned up so their payment would continue. Surely this can’t be right?

Of the remaining nine, they all turned up on time and were reasonably well presented. I offered the job to a young man who I thought would work well with our team; he was young and bright and with training I thought he would do well.  I arranged some training days for him and spent some time re-organising the service reception area, setting up another work station in time for his first day. He didn’t turn up for work.  I rang his home to enquire if he was ill and his mother told me he had taken a job at a nearby Call Centre as ‘the money was a lot more than what you offered him.’

All this left me wondering just what happens these days when teenagers are getting ready to leave school. What sort of advice do they receive about the world of work?  Do they really have any idea what will be expected of them?  And, most important of all, do they get any advice or help from their parents and immediate family?

It’s all well and good government telling the private sector to buck up and take on more young people, whilst I fully  expect to offer them training to do the job, I don’t expect to have to give them training in basic courtesy and common sense.





Not drowning, just out of his depth

It’s that special time of the week , the post for Friday Fictioneers. This week the colourful photo is courtesy of Doug MacIlroy – a great teller of tales. Each week the one and only Rochelle Wisoff-Fields casts her net and draws in writers from across the world, all eager to accept the challenge of writing 100 words, (no more, no less) inspired by a different photo each week. Join us…

Doug McIlroy

Doug MacIlroy


Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

One day a man started a job. It was the job he had always dreamed of, but it brought him unhappiness. The job demanded skills he didn’t believe he possessed.

Dejected, he asked his grandfather for advice.

‘A fish set off on a journey. Swimming strongly and steadily, it encountered many problems but stayed on course. The fish found itself in churning water at the foot of a waterfall; it paused not knowing what lay ahead, then plunged in and battled to the top.’

‘If you believe you can, you will, if you believe you’ll fail you will; your choice.’

click the little blue frog for more stories

What do I want to be called?

This lovely cartoon is by Pamela
Perry courtesy of

I have recently become a grandmother for the first time and
will soon be a grandmother for the second time – did my sons and
wives get together and plan this? I did have a few
words about the lack of grandchildren, but that was AGES ago!! So
now, I have an adorable granddaughter and am waiting very excitedly
to see what the next baby will be. I have been more
interested in the names that are to be given to my grandchildren,
but it seems that everyone wants to know what name I am to known by
and, to be honest I haven’t got a clue. My granddaughter already
has a Grandma and I’m told that two grandmas would be confusing for
the child, unless of course we are known as Grandma A and Grandma B
which does sound silly and why use grandma again when there are so
many other names I could have. Grandmother Grannie Gran Nan Nannie
G-ma And a few foreign
ones too

  • NaiNai
  • Lola
  • Bomma
  • Grandmere
  • Meme
  • Oma
  • YaYa
  • Tutu
  • Savta
  • Nonna
  • Oba-chan
  • Halmoni
  • Busia
  • VoVo
  • Babushka
  • Abuela
  • Bube

There are some great names there, but I still haven’t chosen mine.
I thought there was no urgency as it will be a while before
either of the babies calls me anything, the parents however, demand
a name! So if any kind person would like to help me with
this, I really would be very grateful

Christmas Eve – one more sleep

I went to a carol service last Monday and I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember the last one that I went to.  It was a beautiful evening, the church which is very old, was lit by hundreds of candles which made the occasion magical. The service was lovely and the singing just amazing.  All the carols I knew from childhood, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Silent Night”, O Little Town of Bethlehem” …. were sung with gusto by all the congregation.

As I walked home through the snow that had fallen earlier that day, I got to thinking about past Christmases and, as a child, how excited I used to get. Making paper decorations with my sister, going shopping with my mother, seeing all the lights in the windows, hearing people calling out “Merry Christmas” to strangers as they passed in the street.  It seemed everyone got caught up in the Christmas spirit.

I tried to give my children the same wonderful Christmases that I had and relived mine again through them.  Watching their excitement as the time drew nearer, counting the sleeps till Christmas Eve, when HE would come, hopefully with the sackful of  presents they had asked for. Hanging up the stockings, which somehow became sacks over the years and the frustration of trying to find small inexpensive things to fill them with –  a tangerine, a handful of nuts, a bag of chocolate coins, football socks, gloves, while still somehow manging to put a pile of presents under the tree for them

They are all grown up now, but still come back home with their partners for Christmas.  Their rooms are all ready, the shopping is done and I will be waiting to greet them when they arrive this evening. I will watch them as they put their presents alongside ours under the tree and wonder where all the years have gone.

After a late supper, when we have had time to catch up on everyone’s news we’ll got to bed for one more sleep………….and then it will be Christmas

Well it’s Wednesday

Where did the weekend go? It disappeared in a whirl of shopping and houswork that’s what! And the dog isn’t any better yet either, she is still coughing and sounds like an old smoker on a 50-a-day habit!

I have been watching some of the Tory Party Conference and listening to the changes they plan for the country if they win the next election. That something serious needs doing is in no doubt. The Labour government has lost it’s way, trying to be all things to all men with a one-size-fits-all approach was never going to work.

Now it is very easy to sit in your chair and moan about the state of the economy and politics in general and a very different story to have to actually do something about it, I fully appreciate that, but where do some of the ideas these politicians expound actually come from and what is the reasoning behind them?

I never understood why education had to be  messed around with as much as it has; my generation grew up with standards that have held fast for forty years and most of them were learned at one education establishment or another from teachers who were free to do their job and not worry about budgets and balance sheets! I learned respect for people and I grew up with a strong work ethic, instilled in me by both my parents and this is something I have passed on to my children.  What worries me, is what is going to happen to the “lost generation” who have never had a job and see no sign of getting one any time soon.

Someone once said ” a country gets the government it deserves” in that case, heaven knows what we have done, but we surely deserve better

Makes you think…

I was very sad to hear of the death on Saturday of Harry Patch, Britain’s last surviving WWI veteran, he was 111. I saw the interview with Simon Weston and found it very moving. He had seen so much in his lifetime and still thought war “a waste of time” and people should talk more.

I find the interest shown in him and his fellow soldiers, by so many people fascinating. A page has been set up on Facebook to remember him and so many of the posts on there are from people who have no idea of the sacrifices made by Harry and his generation, or indeed by the next generation who fought in WWII. They never lived through bombings, rationing, deprivations that hardly bear thinking about, or any of the other things that made the people who did, value and protect what they had, no matter what it cost.

I got to thinking about how lives have changed. Harry and his friends would ride on bikes without helmets, live in houses with no central heating and in lots of cases, no running water. No shops opened on Sundays, but they didn’t starve! They would have to work from a young age to help support the family but mum was always at home. When they played they had things like catapults and air guns, if they fell out of a tree, got cut or bruised or tripped over in the cobbled streets, there would be no lawsuit. They ate white bread plastered with butter and sometimes covered in dripping, they had full cream milk in their tea, but were not overweight as they had to walk everywhere.

I know life was not as idyllic as it appears in some films and televsion programmes, it wasn’t always sunny and there wasn’t always an abundance of food or enough money; but by and large the values that they lived by were better than we have today. Family and friendship were extremely important as was religion of one form or another. Neighbours supported each other, the police were respected and teachers were looked up to.

With the passing of the years “self” has become more important. “What’s in it for me” is still heard more loudly in one way or another than anything and the thought of doing without just doesn’t bear thinking about, as the crime figures show. Harry and his friends had a hard life compared with today; wouldn’t it be wonderful if, by the publicity surrounding his passing, people get to understand the values Harry lived by and learn to accept what they have, not think that they have a god-given right to have everything they want handed to them on a plate.