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to be shocked at the poor quality of graduates

(206 Posts)
tredaswe Thu 22-Aug-13 12:30:42

At work we are recruiting for a graduate trainee position and we have been swamped with applications. I've been doing the sift and the standard of applications is absolutely woeful. At least half of them have spelling and/or punctuation errors in, many of the cover letters are so general you get the impression that they are sending them to every job they are applying for and there are even some that are applying to different companies than us.

From the initial 79 that we received only 6 don't have at least one or more of these flaws. AIBU to think that with youth unemployment people should be putting far more effort into their applications.

missrlr Thu 22-Aug-13 12:33:56

Had this for the last 4 years, add the entitled "I have a degree so I am worth £xk my tutor said I could earn that". 6 month (MINIMUM) probationary periods are your friend

IamFluffy Thu 22-Aug-13 12:37:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

quesadilla Thu 22-Aug-13 12:38:18

YANBU. But I think you may have answered your own question. With good jobs so hard to come by,particularly at graduate level, applicants are trying to maximise their chances by applying as widely as they can and the more applications you are putting in, the less attention to detail there is likely to be.

Not excusing it btw: but I have done this myself recently and I am mid-career, have been in my field nearly 20 years.

The constant pressure to get hired ironically leads people to put in less effort to their applications.

tredaswe Thu 22-Aug-13 12:38:51

missrlr- The thing is that its a marketing role so there is absolutely no chance of getting through if you can't write to a high standard (its even in the advert) yet most have not even bothered to proofread their applications.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 22-Aug-13 12:38:55

YANBU, I think it's a result of students being 'taught to test' so much right from when they are in primary school. They go through education being told that grammar and spelling doesn't matter because that's not what they are being marked on for anything except spelling and grammar tests. Then when the obvious flaw there is challenged, we are told that it has to be this way otherwise it's unfair on students with dyslexia or other learning difficulties.

You are unfortunately seeing the result of that, and the majority of young people's education has suffered because of it.

IamFluffy Thu 22-Aug-13 12:40:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ilovesooty Thu 22-Aug-13 12:41:30

I agree with you. However you didn't proofread your OP...

Sanctimummy Thu 22-Aug-13 12:42:50

It is shocking, there are some great 3/4 day training courses out there on how to complete applications properly and how to complete your CV properly. More should use them, invaluable.

Anyone who sends a CV out without tailoring it to the exact job they are applying for is really doing themselves a disservice.


limitedperiodonly Thu 22-Aug-13 12:55:51

I don't understand your problem. You have six reasonable candidates, so interview them. Hire the one who's most suitable.

If no one is suitable, then re-advertise, perhaps adjusting the job description.

And I echo what sooty said. I wouldn't normally point out poor punctuation and grammar, but people who live in glass houses and all that...

Bogeyface Thu 22-Aug-13 13:01:28

But the OP is posting on an internet forum not applying for a job that presumably could be the start of her career. I would be going through applications with a fine tooth comb before I sent them off, given how important they are and I would be a bit hmm to receive so many mistakes. Its not like spell/grammar checkers dont exist!

BrokenSunglasses Thu 22-Aug-13 13:05:00

Agree with Bogey. Mistakes on an Internet forum in chatty posts are not in any way comparable to mistakes in a CV or a formal letter.

Limited, you really don't see the problem when you are suggesting that there might not be anyone suitable out of a whopping 79 applications from people who meant to be amongst the most highly educated people in the country?

yellowballoons Thu 22-Aug-13 13:10:54

limitedperiodonly. Of course there is a problem, if that is going on countrywide.
And readvertising costs.
And why should they change the job description.
And why chouldnt they expect an application form that has been spelled checked?

SilverOldie Thu 22-Aug-13 13:12:47

Some graduates may have what it takes to get through exams but that doesn't mean they are good when it comes to a work environment. I had two people in my office when I worked, at opposite ends of the spectrum. One left school at 16, really worked hard and did her job very effectively. Another was an 'I am great' graduate who asked the same questions every single day and retained nothing of what she was taught. I think it was laziness and she had a superiority complex.

I worked in human resources and like you OP, wouldn't look twice at a poorly spelled cv and a generic covering letter. There is absolutely no excuse and it tells me they would give no more care to doing their job properly than they did writing a cv and sending it out unchecked.

tredaswe Thu 22-Aug-13 13:12:54

Limited- The problem is that so few appear to have put any effort into getting a job, which considering the labour market at the moment is going to make their lives very difficult. I would much prefer to sift purely on the basis of qualifications, any relevant experience etc than whether they put sufficient time and effort into preparing an application (which should be a given).

BionicEmu Thu 22-Aug-13 15:00:36

This doesn't surprise me. Up until a few months ago my mother was in a position where she hired lots of people. In the past 5 or so years she was actively hiring non-graduates for what were technically graduate positions. She said she'd had enough of graduates - they were generally very entitled, unreliable & had no idea how to do the actual job but were unwilling to listen, ask & learn as they had A Degree, so apparently they knew it all anyway. She started hiring school-leavers who were willing to learn & actually got excited by doing so, & older people with full employment histories even if they were still relatively low-level jobs as they had reliability & again were motivated because somebody had given them a chance. (This was IT sector).

I can't really talk though because due to circumstances I never completed my Physics degree so am now stuck in a dead-end job with no prospects. I know I'm intelligent, I was in the top 3 of my year, but I don't have that degree so nobody will even give me a chance.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Thu 22-Aug-13 15:18:59

BionicEmu - off topic, but have you considered temping? I know someone who didn't complete a degree, did a temp job and was so good in it that they hired her on a permanent basis for the kind of job that would have normally required a degree... It's a good way in to a company - and good for the company because they can see what you can do before committing themselves to you.

On topic - mistakes in the OP are not relevant, and it's nothing to do with glass houses. If the OP had made spelling and grammar mistakes in a job application that's different.

I worry, too. I think the applicants have been let down. I have tried to explain to quite a few young people that, although spelling and grammar might not seem to matter much to them (and this has been a message they seem to have had, rightly or wrongly, through the way their work has been marked in the past) it WILL matter to people they come across in their work enviroments. They will be judged. In the words of one of David Mitchell's rants: " I will judge you. I will not tell you that I am judging you, but I will judge you".

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Thu 22-Aug-13 15:22:49

*environments grin

limitedperiodonly Thu 22-Aug-13 15:25:20

People have always put in speculative job applications. I cannot see the problem from your end. Your job is to sift, and since most applicants are weeding themselves out with errors, they're doing most of your work for you.

I guess that in today's job market, some applicants become jaded. They should try hard, but I can see how it happens. I agree with IAmFluffy that many young people are very impressive indeed in qualifications and attitude. I dislike 'in my day' carping from people who are lucky enough not be trying to find their first job at this time.

Like I said, I don't usually play the grammar cop on here. We all make mistakes, but people who make them while complaining about the shortcomings of others do present something of an open goal.

And though my own grammar isn't perfect, I don't find it that hard to construct reasonably literate posts. In fact, I'd find it harder to have two styles.

I interview for roles from time to time. I look for various things. Accuracy and attention to detail are important for my job, but the correct attitude and aptitude is probably more valuable, so I wouldn't necessarily discard an application with the odd spelling mistake if I thought the candidate might have something to offer.

I let them explain themselves at the interview. To me, that's the important point of the recruitment process, not the path to it.

Callani Thu 22-Aug-13 15:31:55

I don't really agree with the assessment that "all graduates are lazy" as I am one!

I do agree though that there are graduates out there who have shockingly low standards, and in my short time in recruitment I did find myself baffling at the ability of people to mispell basic words when spell check exists.

You find it is more frequent around this time of year as the best grads will already be accepted on to graduate schemes which recruited and closed by January, and so the graduating students that are left are desperately searching for any available job, realising that they missed the deadlines for companies with graduate schemes.

I used to try to give feedback to these people on why they weren't appropriate to "manage their expectations" and in the hopes that they'd sort themselves out before their next job application...

yellowballoons Thu 22-Aug-13 15:41:13

But most applicants are never going to get an interview at all if their cv has spelling mistakes. So if they get the "path" wrong, that is it.

op, are the 6 that are left suitable to interview?

73 will have got it wrong.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Thu 22-Aug-13 15:50:28

Of course not all graduates are lazy. However, there are quite a number who do not concentrate on some important aspects of applying for jobs and are therefore falling at the first hurdle when they need not do so.

I have been helping very keen, very clever graduates with job applications quite a lot recently. Some of them check their applications carefully for errors (which can easily creep in, everyone is human) some of them don't check, or they don't see the mistakes. They need to be told if they have a weakness when it comes to proof-reading because the one time you really DO need to prove that you can proof read is the very first time you contact a company.

I do think that it is partly to do with having a scatter gun approach rather than a sniper approach. Crafting job applications is difficult, time-consuming and (eventually) makes your head feel like exploding. Trying to do 20 in a week is counter-productive. Doing one a day would probably yield better results.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Thu 22-Aug-13 15:56:28

You don't need two styles limiteperiodonly. Two speeds maybe? Plus an ability to go back and change something you had typed when you spotted a mistake?

Typing on a chat forum (one where you can't go back and edit errors you spot) is very different from typing an application. I make many more errors posting on internet forums because I type quickly and don't spend lots of time pondering who is going to read my post and whether or not I want to impress them. If I made a spelling mistake in a job application (and in my job I have to "apply" ALL the time - so it's not an "in my day" issue at all) then I would be mortified.

limitedperiodonly Thu 22-Aug-13 16:00:18

I do think that it is partly to do with having a scatter gun approach rather than a sniper approach. Crafting job applications is difficult, time-consuming and (eventually) makes your head feel like exploding. Trying to do 20 in a week is counter-productive. Doing one a day would probably yield better results.

I agree with you verlaine. It's technique and concentrating your efforts where you have most chance.

Employers can maximise their chances of finding a suitable employee by taking as much care with a job description as a candidate should take with their application.

I have seen some truly appalling ones from people who then wonder why they get the wrong candidates.

I still can't quite see OP's problem. She has six people to interview. There's only one job, isn't there?

yellowballoons Thu 22-Aug-13 16:12:05

The op's emotion is shock, not that she has a problem she cant solve.

It's the applicants who have the problem.

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