A Test (part 2)

I wouldn’t try to convince anyone the world is an ugly  place – it isn’t the world merely most of the people in it. Either way it’s not for me to convince anyone of either of those things. I would however like it if more often those people selling ‘think positively’, ‘self-help’, ‘self-development’ and ‘life is marvellous’ would be told to stop trying to convince, and brow beat us all into their world view. Alas it seems we prefer a rose tinted life view rather than reality.

I will be honest; often I require a sick bucket whenever I read that type of rose tinted twaddle, as it is so far from the mark for most people.

What I believe, and think about life is merely the alternative side. It is what people do forget about; the real life story. I am neither a positive nor a negative person; I am just being real and I am not succumbing to a notion of selling a fantasy cure all. I do dislike people who perpetually sell life as a bowl of peaches and cream (in that I won’t lie); the reality is that FOR MOST PEOPLE LIFE ISN’T AND WON’T BE PEACHES AND CREAM. Recognising that and representing a real world alternative actually is a balanced and helpful method.

Why must we all always pretend EVERYTHING is marvellous, and disparage those who state otherwise? 

As there will be people, more than less, who wish to see that their life and their feelings about it aren’t as amiss or as fundamentally wrong as most of the ‘positive’ and ‘all is wonderful’ camps state that it is. I feel I can state that life does suck – if not always, mostly; reassuring people out there that they are not alone in thinking this thought.

The fact people remain hopeful, and also keep moving on regardless of the bad is a great thing. I certainly wouldn’t wish for it to be any other way, as I wouldn’t want to see anyone flounder. I ONLY WISH THE BEST FOR EVERYONE; if only that was true of everyone else I have encountered in my life.

Yet does wishing the best also include selling a lie? 

My motivations for stating my views regarding life being quite rubbish for most people is not based upon a sour, miserable or jealous outlook either. I AM NOT NOR EVER HAVE BEEN A JEALOUS PERSON, that is not who I am and that is not my reasoning for thinking or believing what I do. I merely want to convey and establish the state of reality experienced in most people’s lives, and the limitations they face and can’t often change.

Knowing life isn’t peaches and cream doesn’t make me revel in amusement, but I have come to find myself ambivalent. I do admit that perhaps my high expectations for myself, and for others to be kind, genuine and respectful has no doubt affected my view. Perhaps I have expected too much from people, and from life in general. Yet, others have high expectations of achieving material gains, commercial and fame based successes and so on and so on; which for me are high enough to be more often than not unreal and unobtainable. Nevertheless these things are also reinforced as obtainable, normal and desirable by positive thinkers.

So I suppose with this carpe diem philosophy it has become normal for such small gains like genuine kindness to be overlooked in life, because we all want a perfect life and an image of positive greatness. LIFE IS MARVELLOUS after all, BUT WHAT MAKES IT SO? How we treat one another or what we achieve via positive thinking?

By stating all of this doesn’t signify that I underestimate myself or my life either; I have lots to be proud and thankful for, but I now have more realistic expectations of the world about me. What job I have, how new my new car is or how far I’ve travelled – doesn’t matter to me and in truth never did. What has mattered is realising life is flat, dull and fruitless. The other things are just distractions from the realisation.

Those silly things that often cloud people’s perceptions such as; material wealth, healthy living in the gym, obtaining immortal beauty, adhering to the rules of attraction, travelling like a nomad and securing high-flying jobs don’t cloud my realisation. All of these things are equally as worthless; merely an enforced life checklist of procedures to get through (because the time is ticking and you might die tomorrow).

What I do believe is that YOUR LIFE SHOULD BE YOUR LIFE, and you should do with it what you will – not what others churn out you should do; in vast vapid quantities listed as good advice, positive thinking, self-help and self-development.

If you are going to take advice from anyone, THEN TAKE IT FROM YOURSELF NOT OTHERS; who haven’t a clue about you, your life or your limitations. No one can tell you that by thinking positively or being optimistic and buying into ‘life is marvellous’ things will change substantially within your life. Regardless of how much you may plan or hope for the best or even try to change things; often things can and will go belly up! I am sorry, but it is true.

See life as being as empty as those ‘think positively’ promises and things may be better. 

I suppose what I am trying to state is that I can’t jump on the ‘life is marvellous’ bandwagon without admitting the real and severe flaws of it first! Even though many people can and do just to raise their ratings, because they actually don’t give a damn about the consequences of their twaddle.

P.S: This is a sort of response to a conversation – via comments – between myself and Green Embers. Just so he knows I am happy to credit him for the inspiration, and to tell him I do believe him to be a very good sort of person 🙂

A Test

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday so far – well of course you all are because you are wonderful people!

I just wanted to spread the love today. I am encouraging everyone out there to trust in themselves and to believe they can achieve. Life is a gift and connecting to others is part of that gift.

Spread the love people, and share your support and goodwill to those who need it. Do something for someone else and make their day fabulous too!

Life is wonderful and deserves to be embraced by you wonderful people out there!

You are fabulous and strong and life is good!


UK and EU Split

Shock – or not, the UK have officially voted to LEAVE the EU.

Did the country vote LEAVE as a reaction to their emotional distaste? Probably; in some instances certainly yes. Yet, there were always to be benefits and drawbacks to either option; STAY or GO.

The IMPORTANT question is; what will the agenda NOW be? A case of MPs and the media impeding this massive, and important change for the future with fighting, squabbling and trading insults – I hope not.

Whatever anyone wanted the outcome to be I certainly hope everyone in a position of power will pull together to ensure the exit plan agreed, and future progress benefits the entire of the UK.

Make this about THE ENTIRE of the UK, and not merely just the financial world of London.

I just hope (there is that word again), this result is a mandate to deliver democracy, and will help everyone; not merely as a vehicle to push MP’s private agendas, and create waves of further angst and discontentment.

Whatever, it is not a simple matter or resolution, and I doubt it will become so anytime soon.



A Game of Dodge Ball

Following on from my very old post; What is Hope? which I recently re-blogged, below is a new analysis of why I hate hope (what a change of opinion, and in only 3 years).

I may seem cynical. I can actually recall sitting in a Sociology class at college and my tutor calling me cynical, because I disagreed with him over Joseph Rowntree’s findings on poverty. I also remember my retort to him; “I’m not cynical, merely truthful and stating reality”. So, I wonder what changed within me; why did my opinions shift so radically from stating reality to becoming optimistically hopeful?

Hopeful is not a word I would use to describe myself now. Why? I actually despise hope.

Hope is a false friend. It is a cruel lie and a myth. Pandora should have been shoved head first in her antiquated box for her part to play its very existence. Why? Well because we cannot see hope, we cannot touch it, we cannot reasonably explain why it is; hope merely is or is not. This is not helpful or useful.

If you have hope you sail along foolishly thinking all will be well with the world. If you don’t have hope you realise life is a game of dodge ball (putting it politely). The best you can do with the latter scenario is laugh (possibly just as you might if you had hope); as who could imagine any other way of dealing with things that seem so grotesquely out of kilter?

“I just hope things will get better”; I am sicking of hearing this phrase! No, they won’t. You can’t just hope bad things away. Hope is another aliment just like being positive, and it wrecks havoc on your life (your real life), and you will never face the fact things are poop. SO, WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Hope is the thing that keeps you dangling in some strange in-between place that you can never really find. It is as frustrating and maddening as it would be searching for the end of a rainbow.

Without hope you probably do die in some metaphorical way, but with hope you will die anyway, but without realising you have been conned by the very thing you clung onto for comfort and truth.

Hope makes you believe in more, but it alone cannot get you what you want. Hope is not some miracle cure all, there is only you, and you alone may not be enough to get enough to make your life what you want.

“Abandon all hope ye that enter here”; yes please do as hope is not going to protect you from any storm, illness, death or mishap. I suggest arming yourself with something more powerful and potent to help you with that.

Sorry for being the cynic and distrusting the motives of hope, but to be blunt hope sucks!




What Is Hope?

Oh dear, I cannot imagine what planet I was on when I wrote this post! A blast from some crazy past; when I had hope. Career aside, as that really is inconsequential right now; perhaps because I have had too many careers to count, and never really settled down. Content, no; hope, no; change, yes – and too much of it!

The Savvy Senorita

Hope, the best weapon against life. Hope, the best weapon against life.

I had a rather disconcerting conversation with my friend yesterday, which all began because I asked the question; “What makes me unusual?”

Somehow the topic shifted. Soon we, I.E my friend and I  begun discussing my desire to pursue a career, and the reason why I insist upon believing in a dream job (term applied loosely; this represents a job I truly enjoy, and feel good about doing).

My friend told me; “Dream jobs don’t exist! Plus, they are immaterial because everyone only works for the money”.

I then tried to explain my take on the dream job; “I need to feel I am achieving something and also progressing. My work life cannot be static; it has to move forwards and not backwards. I need to feel I am respected, appreciated and have responsibility in a job. I want to be treated like an intelligent…

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A Thought on Positive Thinking


For the love of sanity; can everyone PLEASE let up on the mantra “the world is wonderful”, because I am left wondering who it is you are all trying to convince by saying this. Let me enlighten you; the world might be wonderful for some people, but for a vast majority who live in the REAL WORLD it isn’t all roses and miracles – nor will it be.

I have come to think that the people who perpetually peddle this “positive attitude”, and push all of the self help nonsense are the same people who’ve had very little negative things happen to them during their short lives.

Of course there are many people out there who would love to be sailing away on their mega yacht to the Caribbean (although not me as I am not fond of yachts, sailing or the Caribbean), I have to tell them that this WON’T happen. WHY? Well this cannot be everyone’s life course, because we live in a state of reality and not FANTASY.

99 times out of a 100 people’s lives consist of sucking up the ordinary and mundane whether that be; homelessness, inability to pay their way, horrible jobs, bad wages, no family or friends, death of loved ones, divorce, terrible family lives or whatever else! This is because some people need REAL and constructive help and support, not merely positive thinking alone to change their circumstances.

I know in this world of FANTASY such words are cold and harsh, but they are at least reality; which by the way it seems NO ONE wants to face up to. Of course there is also that other annoying word to deal with too; responsibility. Most people don’t want to just get up and walk away from everything in their life either, or perhaps they just can’t.

An example of those who can and do walk away; a Life Coach once told me he had become a Life Coach merely because he decided one day to this and drop everything else in his life; which also included his Wife and kids. He believed running off to “find himself” was far more admirable than dealing with his reality; his family. What a great positive life message for anyone to emulate; if you happen to be a cold, callous psychopath that is. This Life Coach then wondered why his kids no longer wanted anything to do with him. Erm, I wonder why too.

What truly peeves me though is the PRESSURE applied to people by this positive thinking and self help belief systems. It is the case that people are being told to be things that others deem necessary, and that if they don’t concede then their life cannot be classified as successful or happy. That in itself is a course to unhappiness. The best advice I’ve ever received is JUST BE YOU and BE HAPPY about that.

I wish people could just admit, without guilt, the fact that perhaps they don’t want to do anything with their lives! Why can’t people accept the fact they prefer watching another episode of their favourite TV show, lazing about and eating take away food while drinking too much wine! When people can do this, THEY CAN BE HAPPY or best of all CONTENT.

In this fantasy world we certainly DON’T like to endorse contentment; we weren’t all born to have bigger breasts, younger faces, bigger pecs, porn star sex lives, plenty of money, good jobs and so on and so on and so on, blah, blah, blah.

“We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very p****d off” (Tyler Durden – Fight Club).

In my opinion the positive thinking and self help industry has modelled itself on the cosmetics industry; honing in on everyone’s low self esteem and lack of confidence. They all ONLY WANT YOUR MONEY and in return will ONLY SELL YOU FALSE PROMISES; “if you buy into this new scam everything in your life will become wonderful over night”. Erm, no it won’t!!!! You will still be you and your life will still be what it is.

The key to the positive thinking and self help success is that no one EVER really tells you HOW to achieve anything truly concrete. Yes, it is a secret because YES there are NO REAL answers.

Do you still want that profound over night life changing experience? YES PLEASE! Well, in that case here is my advice for you;

  1. Be ruthless, selfish and determined to the point that no one else and nothing else matters.
  2. Learn to say “sod it” and just do it anyway.
  3. Leading on from this is the necessity to take risks without fearing the consequence of your actions.
  4. Plus, it will certainly help if you have the funds to do everything you ever wanted to do, as either way you will have to keep paying your bills (reality sucks I know – but so too does having a Court Judgement and criminal record for debt related charges).

So, are we all feeling positive yet – or are we beginning to feel reality?

If you need more inspiration then please read the below articles for further insights on how to feel, the reality in life……….





How to Guide: Completing Applications

An application form is the initial method for the employer to ask the questions they want answering, so it is important you do exactly that. However, keep it pertinent and succinct just like a CV, with everything an employer would need to know. This is again all about selling yourself to prove that you possess the skills required to do the job, but with an application there is more opportunity to celebrate you in more detail; so ensure your do.

Format: Every application format is different, just like a CV, but it runs on the same type of info requirements; personal details, education details, work details and then skills section, equal opportunity monitoring, plus your references. One thing to note here is that if they ask for your National Insurance number as proof of eligibility to work in the UK on the form, you don’t by law have to submit this. Your National Insurance number is highly confidential and sensitive info. If this was to become lost so too is your entire life history and details of all of you, be warned. They will no doubt ask to see your ID at interview anyway, so let them see it then.

Employers have definitely become nosier: I have noticed that now online applications often ask for submission of qualification certificates. Again I am always cautious and recommend people send the info (as often the form will not submit without these), but ensure certain elements of the documents remain obscured. Think about it, unless the employer is guaranteed as reputable and even then, things can go astray; especially so if the application is to be posted to the employer. If you have submitted all of your life, address and then qualifications too, not to mention a picture of yourself perhaps, then a potential ID thief has it all.

Skills Prep: As we now know employers are fond of their long winded person specs and lists of wanted skills, so check off all of the points they categorise as essential to the role, and as many from their desirable list as possible too. When it comes to constructing your skills section, once again tell them how you match their requirements with your skills, experience and education. Include relevant stuff, and use working examples not just; “I have excellent communication skills” – really, well how? Prove it. Once again if you are unsure there are plenty of online examples, some will be absolute nonsense, but some sites will give you better understanding of what you could include. If you need any help on this matter let me know – I prepped people daily with recruitment and interview skills and I am used to giving my advice to employers regarding their recruitment processes.

Answer the question: The other thing I would always stipulate is how important answering every question is; even if it is a case of placing ‘none applicable’ in the space. Otherwise it looks as though you have forgotten about it, and this looks careless. Often questions can be repeated in one version or another IE ‘Where do you work now or have worked most recently – include address’, ‘Reference address for current or previous employer’ – they will be the same, but include the info twice anyway. Annoying as it is though.

Honesty: If the form requires your reasons for leaving a job don’t be too blunt. Instead of saying ‘I was fired’, explain why you chose to leave in a positive note. I know many people who have left jobs on not such good terms, but manage to secure another, mainly because of how they explained their departure to their potential new employers. Always think; reinforce any negative with a positive outcome, as employers like this.

Check and double check: Ensure the spelling and so on is correct on your application, just as you would with your CV. I advise, especially with lengthy and complicated applications to complete rough drafts, and allow plenty of time to complete the actual version. Ensure you make as many final checks of this as required, and then make amendments. It is rather like completing an essay for university; only after some time away and reflection can you see the wood for the tress and detect mistakes.

Completion: On many applications it might be possible to reduce time but cutting and pasting information from one document to another, but as my previous post regarding recruitment stated, this isn’t always the case. It can also become messy and upset the whole application format. It is the case unfortunately of adding in the details one tap of the keypad after the other. Take regular breaks though, as there is nothing worse than staring at a computer screen feeling as though you haven’t a clue what to type. If you prep and know the jobs’ requirements, know your skills and strengths it will become easier; use the tips I provided for building your CV to help you with this element.

Interests: If the form asks for your interests outside of work, please don’t include anything you wouldn’t want to tell your Mother, or even things like stamp collecting. There is nothing wrong with stamp collecting, and although employers tend to like innocuous hobbies they prefer those which; A) either show team spirit, B) show creativity or C) prove you have no life at all which might come into conflict with the job you are applying for (which doesn’t signify stamp collecting).

Hope this helps you with your application doldrums; any question regarding this topic and let me know. I am happy to help.

How to guide: Completing CVs

Applying for endless jobs can feel in many ways soul destroying. You may have to spend quite a while perfecting that CV and long winded application form, so below are a few tips regarding CVs (application forms and interview techniques to follow), which will help to ease your strife.

CVs come in many formats containing; skills profiles, personal statements, personal details including height and weight, references attached, colourful, different fonts, pretty boarders and even with the picture of the candidate attached. My suggestion is to always keep it simple, but professional. Apply your judgement to gauge what effect your CV and the contents will have upon the potential audience. Put yourself in the employers shoes; what would you think of your own CV if you were them.

1)Your CV is all about the quick sale: You have to draw the employer’s eye to your CV; to do this you must have your skills and experience where they will see it within a few seconds of scanning the document. Bear in mind that on this document you have to let an employer know everything which is relevant to the job you are applying for. Therefore your skills or experience profile should match what they want from a candidate. To do this reflect back on what you have done, and what skills were required; use Google if you’re unsure where to begin IE ‘the skills required for clerical officer’. This should either provide skills profiles or job descriptions, to help jog your memory.

2) One size does not fit all for a CV: Every time you apply for a new job, change the details of your skills and tailor them specifically to the role. Ideally you want to be listing your most relevant qualifications and work history, not everything you have ever done. The remainder can be referred to under a separate section such as ‘additional information’. When it comes to listing your education and work history always work from the most recent backwards, and keep details of certificates and duties to the point (don’t ramble). You can always elaborate upon your most recent job by adding that extra bit of detail in, so they can get a feel for what you have done most recently in a more robust fashion.

3) Omit the personal details: Other than your contact and home address, because of equal opportunities it should mean that your age and ethnicity are not important; unless specifically asked for by the employer directly. It also saves important space. So too does not adding in your references; ‘references can be supplied’ is sufficient. Also check your contact email address; anything odd or rude and employers see  it as unprofessional.

4) Check and double check for errors: One grammatical mistake or spelling error will automatically discount you from the running. This has been said before I am sure, but I have seen so many applications without this care and consideration it seems the point is worth making again. Also, don’t ramble (as above). I may ramble when I am producing a post for WordPress, but this is not a job application. Employers want pertinent and succinct info which isn’t repeated in one form or another. Also, check the meanings of words if you are unsure of; sounds obvious but these simple errors won’t show up on spell checkers. Ensure to you have the dates of your employment and education matching up, so employers cannot question a huge gap between X and Y. You can account for any gaps in the ‘additional information’ section.

5) Keep it short and sweet: The CV is best when it is the max of 2 sides of A4 and printed out on good quality paper. I know it sounds impossible, but if I can do it with the amount of jobs I have had, anyone can. It is the case of being succinct; cutting out repetition and waffle, but keeping in the quality.

6) Include a cover letter: Cover letters should be professional and drawn up as you would a business letter; employers address and your address, date and Dear…….you get the picture I am sure. Also remember if you are addressing the letter to IE Mr Black, sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’ otherwise it is ‘Yours faithfully’. Keep this letter to the point too and match your skills to their needs. Highlight your experience in the letter and break down sections into bullet points to be more eye catching. Don’t repeat yourself here either; anything you have included within the CV IE skills and experience wise, don’t add into this letter. Make it fresh and include different, but relevant info. Also, don’t use any slang such as ‘thanks’; ‘I thank you for your time and consideration’ sounds better and is professional.

7) Oh, and to return to the inclusion of a personal photo upon your CV; it maybe something done quite frequently in certain sectors and also in some countries. I know it was the norm in Spain and also a few other EU nations too, but in the UK, we tend not to do this. Do some online research first though if you’re not sure. A CV is supposed to be in many ways about a sort of anonymity and equal opps, so whether you are a Greek God or not it doesn’t really matter. Employers should always be reading your application with a view to interview you based upon your skill strength; not your bodily strength. Also a photo can be the cause of a good laugh in the office; I know because I have laughed. If you do include a photo make it a professional one, not your Facebook profile pic or lazing outside in the sun (I have seen these photos on CVs); hence the laughing. It isn’t professional and it won’t illicit a professional response, again, hence my laughing.

Hope this helps give you some ideas to improve your own CVs. Any questions regarding your CV, ask and I am willing to tell all.


Volunteering guide

Volunteering can often be a great way to get involved, boost your knowledge in a particular sector and gain more skills or training. It is also said to be a way to get your foot in the door. You will hear about any new vacancies first, and when you apply they already know who you are and what you can do.

However this being said, employers have begun using volunteers to fill the gap in their employee base; using volunteers more and more frequently to do the job of a paid member of staff. Also, it may be often the case that they are happy to take you as a volunteer as the love all your skills and what you bring to their organisation or company, but when you do apply for a job opening with them and undergo interview suddenly you’re not so good.

Below are my tips for volunteering, to safeguard you and ensure employers don’t take advantage; as they will if you let them.

  • Be choosy. Look at an organisation or company that meets your requirements. Consider what role you want to do, what skills you have to offer and also don’t forget what it is you want to learn and the training you hope to receive.
  • Consider their overall training, support and development package carefully. You would think that charitable organisations for example have invested in these things, however I have found this is not the case due to their funding restrictions. They may not even have meetings for you attend, information to provide to you or supervision meetings to check your progress; but then often they don’t have these for their staff either (so, go figure). In reality they may have very little to actually offer their volunteers in any of these areas, some might not even provide travel expenses and you may have to pay for your own DBS. Just decide what you are willing to give and concede upon before you jump in with both feet.
  • DBS, on this I suggest if you are considering volunteering or a job working with vulnerable adults, children and young people arrange your own portable DBS, via the update service. It costs £13 a year to update and is usable in any place you go. I suggest an enhanced disclosure as this covers the above areas. I do know some charities are super finicky though. For example; you may actually be in the education sector working with a portable DBS, but if you decide to volunteer in another educational sector they may insist that you undergo another disclosure. This will cost money, and can take some time depending on how many occasions you have moved home in the previous 5 years and where you have moved to. I recently had a small disagreement over this myself, as I couldn’t quite fathom why my potable DBS was good in one educational sector but not to become a volunteer at a school.
  • Many organisations now want a long term commitment from volunteers, and also guaranteed working hours per week. This is because the work often replaces what should be the role of a paid member of staff. This often goes against the flexibility of volunteering; most people cannot commit over long periods or to hours during the week, if they already work for example or have other commitments. I would always enquire whether they have short term project you can become engaged within, that way you won’t be tied down and feel bored in one role and area; you can also then do more volunteering elsewhere.
  • Again, check that the volunteer role you are applying for is the one you want to do. This can change depending on what they want and when. It is no good if you wish to raise funds in the community and you are stuck doing administration behind a desk. Volunteer posts are often unclarified from the start though, and although actual paid employment isn’t recruited to the best standard, volunteer recruitment can be even more badly organised and thought through.
  • In consideration to point 5, many places may not have a designated Volunteer Co-ordinator who is responsible for recruitment, or the one person in that role is part time and is expected to do quite a substantial role. It can be the case that as a result of having no Volunteer Co-ordinator or one who is stretched to their limit, recruitment isn’t up to the mark. The problem with many charities/organisations and business is that they don’t treat the recruitment of volunteers as central to their growth, and don’t really invest that much thought to how they usually recruit their staff; therefore you often have huge time delay in response from them regarding your request to volunteer, their processing of meeting with you to discuss, processing of your DBS and reference checks. Either be patient or chase them up, but of course you could go elsewhere. You are after all doing them the favour, and if they need someone ASAP they should be onto it ASAP. Harsh, no it is merely the truth.
  • If all else fails get something verbally agreed and drafted as a contract regarding your role and your duties, and of course the time frame to cover the volunteering. This is especially the case if you are going somewhere and they promise you a volunteer role will become a paid role after a trial period. Ensure they stick to this promise. This type of volunteering should always be carried out under strict timeframes; 4 to 6 weeks. Any longer and they are using you as free labour, and you won’t get that promised job.
  • Reflecting on point 7, watch out for this as often employers or organisations will use a vast amount of volunteers for short time frame; such as running up the Xmas period. They promise you the job at the end of that time period, but miraculously after the 6 weeks are up so too are you. They then move onto another free member of staff to take your place, with the same promise attached.

Hope this helps all would be volunteers out there; if you have questions please let me know and I am happy to help you.

The follow on topics from this post which I will be covering are:

How to guide – Applications and CVs

How to guide –  Interviews

What not to do and recruitment


After many years of working with employers to update their training, development and recruitment processes, and of course as an applicant myself; I have come to realise just how clueless employers can be regarding these key elements.

In many cases employers do not give enough consideration to the needs and requirements of candidates going through the recruitment process, their newly appointed employees or even their current employees. Perhaps it is because employers don’t have a clear enough understanding of what these groups expect, need and appreciate from an employer.

Below are 10 examples of employer’s failings, lessons to be learnt and some solutions to the knowledge gap.

1)Exhaustive ‘wanted’ list on job descriptions; this has to be the top of the bill, and why, well because employers often have an exhaustive list of ‘wants’ from potential candidates. Employers ask that candidates are flexible and can learn numerous duties, but employers refuse to be flexible or savvy regarding what they require – everything is a ‘must’ and top priority. I often wonder who are employers trying recruit; a super hero who doesn’t have a life outside of their work.

In return for this ‘wanted’ list employers offer their candidates no induction process, no training analysis, no support or mentoring, no on-going training, no supervision or appraisal system and no benefits for working with them. They also have the audacity to add insult to injury by offering diabolic wages and hours as a great selling point; bearing in mind these are the jobs which hold more responsibility than simply working as a shelf stacker in a superstore.

Employers please take note; candidates are not to be employed because you as an employer want a general dog’s body about the workplace. It may be a case of an employer’s job market, but how about standing out from the crowd and offering something of worth to candidates. Make it worth their while to apply for your role, and also consider their work-life balance too when you formulate job descriptions. How many times has this got to be reinforced; happy employees are more likely to stay, and also with something of worth being offered you will attract higher calibre candidates not just the desperate.

2)Transferable skills: apparently no longer is there such a thing as transferable skills or the ability to learn and adapt. Regardless of how much or how little a candidate has done in their working career I always taught my life and employment skills students that skills matter. They can work just as well in a retail role as they can in the building profession. Communication, attention to detail, customer relations, problem solving and team work – are all transferable; and yet unless you have worked in one sector and one type of role for at least 5 years none of this seems to matter to employers. I wonder why they can’t seem to attract and retain creative and adaptable staff who can actually think outside of the box.

3)The over reliance of niche qualifications, but no help from employers in achieving them: certain qualifications such as a CIPD (a HR qualification) are extremely expensive to attain as an individual. What is often required is that the company employing the staff member contributes either all or some of the yearly fees. Even so, most HR positions regardless of how lowly require this qualification; even if the employer in question wouldn’t dream of funding it for their employee. There could be an ideal candidate streets ahead of someone possessing this one qualification, but they have little hope of securing a job without it. The employer and employee therefore are missing out on an opportunity to invest in one another.

This then relates back to employer flexibility and their exhaustive ‘wanted’ lists. Perhaps investing in office based training; similar to how things used to be done years ago would prove more beneficial on the long term. Proving that employers are Investors in People as a reality rather than a mere piece of mouldy paper they hang upon their office walls; proof is in the action not the words. It is called investment for a reason, and someone in business should be familiar with this term; you won’t get anything unless you are willing to give something, and perhaps even risk something in return. Buy in to those you want to buy in to you – simple.

4)Application forms; this format in general can be tricky and monotonous. One size does not fit all, but I think it could. If anyone has spent any time completing these boring and often useless things the key to them is loving repetition. Often similar if not the same questions are asked over and over again; for example contact number, skills and abilities, where have or do you work now. One question and one answer to that question is sufficient, but a better solution would be an application version whereby the majority of a CV can be migrated and pasted into the document; this would be a time saver for the job hunter! Seriously though, employers really need to consider and revise the format and the structure of these things. Considering also the appearance of such documents and ensuring they are professional; odd layout, random fonts and limited space for answers is just messy.

5)Recruitment: nothing annoys me more than bad recruitment. OK, employers aren’t necessarily recruitment experts, and yet they should be. If this process isn’t professional, organised and informed then why would a candidate want to work for you? It signifies your company doesn’t know what it is doing; and we all know how important those first impressions are. Small things do matter and are proven to make the difference.

Key information missing from the job advert such as; wages, hours, location, when the closing dates is and when the interviews will take place is just odd; it isn’t a guessing game and leaving this crucial info off the description isn’t good enough. You want a candidate with excellent communication skills; well demonstrate yours – candidates are not psychic.

Another confusing element for candidates; mismatched job titles which do not relate or describe the actual role they are applying for. Is the job what it says it is, or will it metamorphose into something else along the way? Candidates may enjoy a challenge, but they also like to know where they will stand in a few weeks’ time too; keep them informed from the first.

Expecting candidates to attend an interview or undergo recruitment tests without ample prep time; fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Pressurising candidates isn’t a fair game to play, it only creates unnecessary stress and uncertainty, and no one shines their brightest under these conditions.

Expecting candidates to be able to give notice in their current employment ASAP when often one months’ notice is customary; this is again an unfair expectation meeting the needs of an employer not the candidates. If time is of the essence the employer should have begun the recruitment process sooner. As an employer you should know your staff leavers and your staff requirements; if you have been left understaffed for weeks it is your fault as you must have seen it coming.

Reference requests for an inordinate amounts of referees. I have seen employers stipulate up to 6 referees, when perhaps candidates can only produce the usual required maximum of 2 due to their work experience. Not everyone retains communication with their previous employers, and people do move in and out of roles, not to mention are made redundant. 6 referees may be asking the impossible, what do you think? Perhaps as an employer you could use your judgement, because even if candidates can only provide 2 referees these maybe the best quality, plus it doesn’t automatically signal that without 6 referees your candidate is Ted Bundy’s twin in disguise.

6)Equal Opportunities monitoring forms: I hate these. I feel they aren’t transparent at all merely a sneaky tool to discount vast numbers of people from the application process; “We don’t discriminate, but please tell us your intimate details such as whether you have a disability and your sexual orientation so we can see if you’re the right sort of person for us”.

7)Interviews: badly organised interviews create yet more negative impressions, but also they won’t fulfil their primary objective; to secure the best candidate. Employers, who allow staff to perform an interview and quite clearly they shouldn’t; because they have no interview skills at all isn’t a good start to the process either.

Odd questions: Asking odd questions such as; “How are your communication skills” – when the interviewer asking this clearly doesn’t possess any themselves. This is something I have seen over and over; why ask a candidate for something you as an interviewer or employer do not possess? Another odd question not to ask during interview; “Are you suitable for this job; based on your CV you are over-qualified”.  A) This is not a bad thing and can bring a new perspective to the role or new skills into a company; it makes me wonder if the interviewer asking this one is actually insecure about their own skill level. B) The employer obviously hasn’t read the candidates CV before the interview; bad prep! Either way; the candidate is there at the interview because they actually want the job. As an employer ensure you have the best interviewers interviewing the candidates.

Another complete discourtesy is when the interviewer pays no attention to the candidate’s responses or their presentation. This is plain and simple rude behaviour. Why ask a candidate to interview if you as an employer haven’t intended to give them a fair chance? It might have been a long day, they might be the last candidate but this type of behaviour is unforgivable on every level, and demonstrates your lack of merit as an employer.

Give them the info: Another no is allowing a candidate to leave the interview without clarifying their duties, salary, benefits, work hours and also the response time for the interview decision to be made. Candidates may feel unsure if they should ask any of this information at interview, so as an employer you should make these things very clear to them; keep them informed.

Providing zero feedback: Employers should always provide feedback to their unsuccessful candidates, if they don’t it is sloppy and insincere; stinking of a nonsense reason for not hiring that candidate. An email won’t cut the mustard either, call each candidate who attended the interviews and explain why they were unsuccessful. They took the time to be there and to prepare so you should show some common courtesy to them.

Another element to consider regarding the interview process is; stop setting candidates up to fail. Remember it might have been 100 years since your last interview, but the thing is to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Interviews are stressful and unnatural situations; how often do you sit in a room with complete strangers and tell them your whole life history, er, never! Have some respect it takes courage and effort to sit there and often be grilled by interviewers with a sense of humour by-pass. Have some thought for those who are trying to impress you.

8)Nepotism: this can be related to the interview process also; often it isn’t a case of what you know but who you know. I have seen many well suited and qualified candidates being refused a job, with very little understanding as to why – making me wonder whether the more a candidate has to offer the less likely they are to secure a job. First impressions you might say, but I call this face fits and it can refer to a case of nepotism. The employers colleague, friend, relative, neighbour already has the job and the interview process was a formality to ensure employment laws are not breached. Remember that the best suited candidate, IE the one who matches your requirements as set out on the job description and person specification is the one you should be hiring. Regardless of whether you like their hairstyle or not; otherwise this is a breach of employment law, and is called discrimination.

I have been told of many stories that point to nepotism. Someone I knew secured a job when a long serving staff member decided to leave that particular company and go elsewhere. This particular person then returned within about a month to ask for their job back, because they hated their new job. The person I knew was then turfed out under some nonsense excuse and the ex-staff member walked right back into their job. Again they were working through their probationary period, and couldn’t prove that their dismissal was due to the other staff member returning and asking for their job back, but it was the reason and everyone who worked there knew it.  I think that this is the biggest waste of a candidate’s time and effort, not to mention rude, patronising and completely unfair.

9)Probation period: the first 6 months of any new employment is often termed the probationary period. Candidates who become new starters have to diligently prove their suitability for the role within this period. Fine, OK, but it is very often that the employer holds all the cards during this period.

If the candidate/ new employee asked all the right questions during their interview regarding; their duties, place of work, colleagues, team, support structure and training – all the better. Yet, if they didn’t receive the absolute truth from the interviewers; any new starter may find that they are stuck in a role that isn’t what was sold to them. Yes it is a case of false representation, but what can a new starter do other than look for another job? Well, not much. If the new starter was caught out as having lied on their application or during their interview they would be fired for it, but when the shoe is on their foot a new starter has no avenue of recourse. Why, because they don’t have many rights during their probationary period (even if they are a member of a union). Basically it is a case of tough luck.

Whether the new starter is treated or spoken to badly, given more duties or different duties than they thought or basically shoved in a room alone to get on with it; no one cares. An employer can also concoct any excuse during this time to remove a new starter from their payroll, and if a new starter becomes too rebellious this could occur through performance management; “You weren’t suitable for the role because of blah, blah, blah”.

A new starter, whether in post one day or one week will be subject to the same standards, rules and regulations as any other employee, and will of course pay their tax and national insurance; therefore I believe a new starter should be also protected from unscrupulous employers who may take advantage of them and use and abuse them. As probationary period is a strange no man’s land for employment rights, I wonder how many people have encountered horrendous treatment but let it slide; A) to save the hassle, B) to save their reference, C) because no one cared enough to actually deal with the incidence and how could they prove their rights were being abused in any case? It is just one pf those things and comes with the territory of probationary periods.

Regardless of the length of time an employee has been on the payroll, their rights should be the same as any other employee to ensure such abuses don’t occur so easily, and don’t go unaddressed and unpunished.

10)Providing an ex-employee with a reference: I believe an employer should only provide a good, but impartial reference for an employee. I know that by law this should be the case, but the ex-employee has no forewarning regarding the questions a potential employer may ask an existing one. Also they have no say over how or what will be discussed about them in what might be deemed to be confidential terms.

For example; how well an employee performs in a team, what type of person are they, what is their sick leave record like? Such questions may at first sight appear innocuous, but what if an employer has an axe to grind with their ex-employee? Will the employer then tell the truth about the ex-employee, and if not how would the ex-employee know what lies are being told and then prove them to be lies? Some might refer to the training and development the employee underwent, such as supervision and appraisals, but there are still some companies out there who don’t have these processes in place. So, where is the proof that what the employer has to say is of more credence and relevance than the ex-employee? Prove what you say to be the truth.

I believe that anything personal IE time off work with depression, surgery and personal leave for family death and so on should be up to the ex-employee to relate to their new employer. It is after all personal information of a sensitive nature, and often relates only to a one off time period. If it is depression; most cases I have come across are in fact due to work related stress incidences. Therefore once the ex-employee has left their current workplace and are feeling happier and more valued, this is unlikely to reoccur. Although even if it does, depression is recognised under employment law as a disability; even if many employers don’t regard it as such. Given the fact that this illness is on the increase, many employers do little to help employees with this; depression remains frowned upon as a sign of weakness. What utter callous nonsense.

It is the case that one person’s impression of another person can vary; therefore believing an employer just because they are an employer is unfair. It ensures the employer remains in a position of power over an employee, and can abuse this as they see fit. The reference should be simple; when an employee worked there, what role they did and their skills – end of.

To sum up:

The recruitment process is often a difficult one for both candidate and employer. What I too often see are guides for how candidates can improve their chances in this process, but I believe based on my experiences that employers need guides also; especially when they often have little clue about the processes, how to relate to or interact with candidates. The key is to learn and then revise the process; create solid job descriptions and job titles, ensure interview questions match the role, get in the best interviewers to interview (train them with the skills if necessary), keep candidates informed at every step, treat them with respect and acknowledge them, be transparent and provide reasons and proof for everything to ensure no candidate can excuse you of being unfair because of your approach.

                      Any questions regarding your recruitment processes? Let me know and I am happy to answer them.