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.





That Friday feeling…….

That’s the only trouble with Bank Holidays, it is lovely to have a day off from work, but then, for the remainder of the week you are playing catch up, trying to cram 5 days work in to 4. And, suddenly, it’s Friday again!

I have to admit that I do love Fridays. It is a feeling that has stayed with me from my schooldays, leaving school and getting on the bus to go home, lots of chatter about what people had planned for the weekend. In summer it was especially nice, the anticipation of two whole days off, staying up later, being allowed to go into town to meet up with friends and the joy of shopping, when you had a bit of pocket money or birthday money to spend. 

Friday evenings were also the time my sister and I would go to the little sweet shop across the street, to spend the money our grandmother had left for us.  She called in every Friday to see mum and left some money for us for sweeties!  We had such a selection to choose from: Refreshers, Smarties, Fizzers, McGowans Highland Toffee (anyone remember them?) there were Gobstoppers, Aniseed Balls, Rainbow Drops, Liquorice Twists, Butterscotch Tablets, Punch Bars (do they still make them?) Fruit Salad Chews…the list seemd endless.  We would buy as much as we could, quantity over quality every time, then go home and put everything on the table and share it out. Trouble was, my sister’s share would last her all weekend and mine was gone by Saturday!!

Even now, the sense of something to look forward to is still there; Fridays for me, are still the best evenings to meet  up with friends; for a drink after work, for a trip to the theatre or cinema or a meal somewhere.  Or just chilling at home, relaxing after a hectic week, knowing that you can switch off the alarm and have a lie in if you want one. 

So, I’m off home to pour myself a cool glass of wine, sit in the garden and relax.  Hope you all enjoy your Friday and have a great weekend!

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

Friends Reunited

Just heard the news that ITV has sold Friends Reunited to the company who owns, so the Genes Reunited part will fit in alongside that quite well. Friends Reunited was one of the first social networking sites, but seems to have lost ground to newer sites such as Facebook and certainly got to look a bit old fashioned in my opinion.

It was a brilliant idea and I certainly used it to find my old school friends, to see what they were up to and where they had ended up. It produced a lot of memories and it was good to catch up with people who had meant so much, when we were all starting out on the road to becoming an adult. I hope it continues and, perhaps like me, it just needs a revamp!!