Increasingly, after attending an interview, applicants will often seek feedback. However, the information that graduate Anna Jacobs received before even walking in the door was not quite what she was expecting. She had applied for an Office Administrator role at a ventilation company and was pleased to receive an email inviting her for an interview. On scrolling down, she was greeted with comments such as “Can’t get a job since leaving uni”; “Worth an interview if only for a laugh”; and “Difficult to assess from her CV – might be very good but equally could be a biscuit short of a packet or a left wing loon, tree hugger”. Following widespread reporting of the case on social media and an internal investigation, the company Director wrote to the graduate to apologise on behalf of the company and stated, “We genuinely felt your application and CV was interesting and you were shortlisted from a long list of over 40 candidates. We would be more than happy to interview you as one of the strongest candidates that have applied and, if you were to accept an interview, you can be assured that your application will be treated fairly and appropriately.” Subsequently, she politely declined the interview. This is not the first example of a case of this nature. Recently, a famous steakhouse restaurant was outed for sending a teenage candidate a text a few minutes after the interview. The text described her as “basic” and said “It’s a no x” followed by an emoji crying with laughter. The restaurant apologised immediately stating that the text was never intended for the applicant. Whilst these cases are extreme examples of when things can go horribly wrong, interviewers should pay attention to comments scribbled on CVs and interview notes. A structured template with criteria-based evidence recorded can help mitigate any risk and provide credible comments if a candidate were to request feedback. Furthermore, this may even provide a defence against any litigation as a candidate who is rejected can make a claim for discrimination at any point throughout the selection process. Therefore it is imperative to have a set of specific criteria when selecting the right individual for a role. As a golden rule nothing should be written down that you would not be prepared to say to the candidate face to face!
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