Friday, July 10, 2009

The Replacements

The advert has been placed to find my replacement and the applications are rolling in. Its not looking good. I don't think I'm irreplaceable. Far from it, I think my job could be done by a trained monkey, so long as that monkey was trained in databases, web editing and desktop publishing. Its just the quality of applications so far has been poor.

Shrewdly, my manager has asked for applications the old fashioned way, a CV and letter by post and the majority of applicants have fallen at this first hurdle by emailing their application, thus proving they are unable to follow simple instructions.

And it seems that the young generation can't write covering letters anymore. "Here is my CV" alone on a page is not a covering letter. At the other end of the spectrum, a rambling three page missive about what you did at university with no reference to the job offered, isn't the way to write a letter either. You don't start a business letter "Hello". And a letter starting "You must be sick of reading these letters by now" may make yours stand out from the crowd, but in the wrong way.

Then there are those who don't actually want the job, but are unemployed and have to prove they are looking for work. So we receive a CV that has been photocopied badly folded twenty times to fit in a miniscule envelope , accompanied by an unreadable handwritten letter - all of which reaks of smoke. Anyone familiar with Trainspotting will recognise this as the Spud school of job applications.

Some have written acceptable letters, but they've talked up their experience - when you read the CV "extensive" turns out to mean three months in one job. And where has this trend for quoting a colleague or former employer at the top of the CV come from? This has passed me by but I don't like it. One quoted a former colleague saying she was "a problem-solver" but on further investigation the company is something she started herself after college so the "colleague" was more than likely her best friend. Another gave pride of place to a quotation from a publisher saying she "was very naughty for leaving" that company.

There was also one from a recent graduate who admitted they didn't have the experience we are looking for, but was willing to work for £4k less than the starting salary "subject to a review after 3 months". I'm sure they would be willing to work for that - for someone with no experience of anything, that would be a pretty good starting salary in most industries and very well paid in the arts.

My favourite so far has been the one that began "I am ideal for this position. I am currently manager of a massage parlour" and then lists their duties in the parlour, starting with "operating the massage machines". I've been in this job nearly five years and have so far haven't seen the connection with massage.

Shortlisting will be difficult. Not because of the usual spiel about receiving over 100 applications it was a tough decision. It will be hard to find six decent candidates to pick from.


Roses said...

That answers the outstanding question - you're leaving for your new job soon?

SandDancer said...

Yes. Next Friday is my last day in the current place, then I have a week off before I start the new one. The new employer described my references as "excellent" so there wasn't a problem. It wasn't that the reference was bad - I just thought it downplayed my role and was rather patronising.

Anonymous said...

When I changed jobs, I too was astounded at the really poor quality of applications received to replace me.

My company didn't proceed with the recruitment process or replace me in the end - I like to think its because I was irreplacable and no-one else was up to the job but I suspect they couldn't get anyone to do the job on the pitiful wages they were paying...

That's great news about your references going through ok and that you have a start date