“Why two clicks is not enough for a job”

May 2015

Post BoxWe have recently advertised for the most important role at Middleton Hall since I started 19 years ago.  A General Manager/Director Designate.  Someone to take some of the role from my fellow Director Lesley and some of mine in the longer term.  A successor perhaps.

Having advertised it in three places, we had approaching 100 applicants from all around the country.  In fact, several from overseas.  Terrific, I hear you think, to have so much interest in being part of the future of Middleton Hall.

Actually no.  I now realise that applying for a job over the internet is just too easy.

We asked prospective candidates to do just three things initially – look at the website (link to the relevant page helpfully provided) with the overview of the job and what we are looking for, send a CV and write a covering letter setting out why they would be ideal for the role.

Less than half the candidates managed to do all three.  Many failed to even include a covering letter.  Some failed to do any of the three.  Really.

Applying for a job over the internet, broadly involves two clicks – one to attach a CV and one to send.  I won’t get started on spelling and grammar but do some people really think that an organisation aiming to be the best in the UK serving discerning clients would employ a boss that can’t write coherently or even check their work?

Frankly, it was better when technology forced us all to print out our carefully prepared and proof read CV, write a bespoke covering letter, buy an envelope and a stamp and then walk to the post box.  It took some time and effort so we all read the advertisement carefully before deciding if it was worth applying for.

I fear that other employers also suffer from a deluge of inappropriate applicants.  When I emailed one of the applicants to explain he had been unsuccessful, he replied thanking me and saying that normally he does not hear back at all.  Well, of course not, if you apply for something for which you have no relevant experience and have not included a covering letter as requested (or even if not requested).  Although we always aim to acknowledge applications, I can understand why many employers do not.  I did politely point out that perhaps he should read the advertisement next time.

Fortunately, we had the necessary patience to carefully sift through the email barrage and found there were some very good applications from very well qualified people who had taken the time to research Middleton Hall and genuinely wanted the job.  They, of course, also managed to clear the first hurdle and follow the basic instructions.

Next time we recruit a Senior Manager, perhaps it may require the investment of a postage stamp.