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Should I complain about my treatment at interview

(9 Posts)
Rotter Wed 10-Oct-12 17:10:39

I recently had an interview for a job working with vulnerable people. I have some experience in this area.

The interview wasn't going well in that they seemed to be concerned that I didn't have enough of the right type of experience even though they had decided to interview me. They kept asking me to give examples of dealing with challenging and threatening behaviour which I was able to give but each time they seemed to think my examples were not extreme enough and pushed for more and more.

So I am thinking that this is not going too well and I am not going to get the job when the guy chairing said to me 'you're a nice girl, with a nice address, how are you going to deal with xyz situation?' I felt as though he was making an assumption that I would be unable to do the job based on my appearance and address rather than on my skills or experience. A comment was also made about how I would feel training people older than me so I feel again that they had made an unfair judgement about me being too young (I have been a trainer).

Part of me wants to chalk it up to experience but another part of me feels I should at least tell them I think that line of questioning was not appropriate. Would you bother?

MsHighwater Wed 10-Oct-12 17:14:49

Yes, I think you should. Do they offer an interview "post-mortem"? Do you know the outcome yet?

IslaValargeone Wed 10-Oct-12 17:22:15

Perhaps if you are applying for a job in which the environment is stressful/challenging/potentially aggressive from a physical point of view, they felt it was appropriate to challenge you and up the stress levels on a psychological level. Part of their interview technique, rather than a judgement?

Rotter Wed 10-Oct-12 17:28:55

I've just had the call actually (didn't get it) and I asked for feedback and was told my skills were not transferable enough. Surely they could have got that from my CV?
I can understand that they wanted to challenge me but it's the comment about me not being suitable as I am a nice girl from a nice area which gets me. So patronising!

IslaValargeone Wed 10-Oct-12 17:31:42

Sorry you didn't get it. I can understand why you are hacked off though.

Rotter Wed 10-Oct-12 17:37:58

No problem. Trying not to be too bitter. Honestly you put your heart and soul into these things: test, presentation and then interview. Not sure I want to do it again in a hurry.

Frontpaw Wed 10-Oct-12 17:42:32

They were trying to put you under stress to see how you'd cope. Sorry it didn't work out, but as my mum used to say 'what's for you, won't go by you'. A better one will come up.

Good luck with the search!

flowery Wed 10-Oct-12 19:33:32

I don't think I'd agree that you were poorly treated.

I also don't think it's unreasonable of them to think that in that type of job, someone from what might be described as a 'nice' area with that kind of background might find certain situations present challenges which someone from a very similar background/area to the vulnerable people you are dealing with may not face. I have no experience in the area, but I'm thinking empathising would be a key skill, I'm also thinking vulnerable people might find it more difficult to identify with someone without a shared background, or might use it to attack someone verbally.

None of those are challenges you couldn't overcome, but I think it's a valid, if challenging, line of questioning tbh. It's not treating you badly, or assuming you can't do the job, it's finding out whether you are astute enough to have identified the challenges and have identified strategies to overcome them.

Similarly, asking about how you would feel training older people isn't assuming you wouldn't be able to, it's finding out whether you would feel this would present any additional challenges (which you may not, some would, and some of the people you are training may feel it does even if you don't) and how you would overcome them.

girlbehind Wed 10-Oct-12 22:28:12

I lead a charity for vulnerable young adults and we interview for this type of post fairly often. They're responsible roles, often with particular pressures, and we would always ask robust questions about what the candidate would expect in terms of challenges.

We're actually very keen on candidates with transferable skills / from other sectors as they can bring lots of refreshment to the team. Your application was obviously strong enough to get you to interview, but the personal qualities and resilience are difficult to assess on paper.

I suspect that the query about your appearance and address might have been to give you more opportunity to challenge whatever stereotypes they were attaching to you. It's not a line of questionning we'd use, but I can sort of see why they did it.

Very few of us have lived perfectly charmed lives, we've all faced personal or family challenges, and it seems a little naive to make assumptions based on an address!

I can't think there's much to be gained for you personally in highlighting this to them, but it might help them to review how they do things in future. We occasionally receive comments from unsuccessful candidates and they do at least make us pause to think about how we do things.

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