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(51 Posts)
whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 19:14:13

I had to change name as people from office come on here...
I applied for a job at the council where i work. I am qualified for the role which is in a different dept to where I work now and my application met the person spec as confirmed by two collegues.

My boss, also a friend ( on the panel for the new job) said to another person that she was tied between saying I was shit hot and would be great at job and not as she could not face loosing me.

I found out today I have not been shortlisted for an interview as did not provide enough evidence.

I am so upset,I really wanted the job and I dont know where I went wrong

Everyone is telling me its a sham and I should challenge it but i dont know where to start I am so knocked by it all

posieflump Fri 08-Aug-08 19:16:19

Well you can ask why you weren't shortlisted, approcah your boss and tell her how you feel.
You could see if the Council has any policy about unfair recruiting.
Maybe try the personnel department.
Do you belong to a union?

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 19:24:49

I have alrady been told that my boss is sitting down with me and going through my application to tell me where I went wrong.I just cant stop reading my submission and I cant see it.
I belong to a union but know if i wengt down that road I would wave goodbye to any career

llareggub Fri 08-Aug-08 19:35:47

Make sure you have the conversation with your manager about exactly why you were not shortlisted. Was your manager one of the panel members?

If not, you need to speak to the person who did the shortlisting.

Take another look at the person specification. Did you address all of the essential criteria in your application, and provide examples? Be honest with yourself here.

flowerybeanbag Fri 08-Aug-08 19:42:04

I think if your boss is going to sit down with you and go through it to explain where you went wrong that's really positive, and is more feedback than lots of people would be able to get from a job application. I think you should wait until you've had that conversation, listen to what she says and see how you feel about it before deciding what to do.

After that conversation you may think 'ooh actually she had a point there', or at least will come away with tips on how to improve in the future.
Then next time something comes up either internally or externally that you're interested in, you will be well-prepared.

flowerybeanbag Fri 08-Aug-08 19:44:25

Oh, and unless you feel there may have been any kind of discrimination involved, I doubt there's anything your union could do about a recruitment decision anyway.

I don't think this is about challenging the decision, which you are extremely unlikely to be successful in doing anyway, it's about listening to and understanding the feedback and using it to move forward in a positive way for your future career.

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 19:49:07

thanks flowery

Thats it really.I am angry with myself as she told me to ask another senior manager to check my application declined as i wanted to do it myself.I have gone over and over my application and cant see it.I know and they said, i can do job eyes closed but its all about saying right stuff and if its because i didnt then i will be gutted

llareggub Fri 08-Aug-08 19:53:35

The person specification is key. Did you refer to it in the application form?

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 19:57:29

My friend said she answers each point in turn but i did a submission inc every part of spec within it and i read through and crossed off when i mentioned each part

ilovemydog Fri 08-Aug-08 20:00:50

You must be so frustrated. It sounds like you were the best for the job, but it's all about the interview and how you 'performed' on the day!

At least it sounds like a fair system.

What would be worse is if someone got a job based on connections and no one had to be interviewed.

Sounds like your boss is prepared to give you constructive criticism, which can be painful, but in the long run a good exercise.

don't understand the discrimination issue? In any case, it's almost impossible to prove, and would have to be a specific type of discrmination (sex, race etc).

But I'd just take the criticism and let it ride. Besides,next interview, you can say you've taken all the comments on board. Shows you're a team player! smile

flowerybeanbag Fri 08-Aug-08 20:02:34

I think you probably think your boss decided not to shortlist you as she wants to keep you in your current role. You may be right, you may not be. When you have this conversation you may get a sense of whether that's accurate from what she says and how she behaves.

I think she was very indiscreet talking about your application to someone else in that way, unless they were also involved in shortlisting. I think whoever that person was who told you was even more so.

That's interesting that she advised you to get someone else to check your application for you. That does rather indicate that she wanted your application to be good. I think you need to consider the possibility that she thinks you are good and was hoping your application reflected that but in the ended found it a bit disappointing.

As llareggub stresses, the person spec is absolutely crucial, it needs to be dead easy for whoever is doing the shortlisting to identify in a matter of minutes that you meet all the criteria, demonstrate all the experience you need and all that. If you say the right things but they're buried in a difficult-to-read application, for example, that can be a problem.

I agree with llareggub, you might find it beneficial to sit down again with the jd and person spec and be brutally honest with yourself. Get someone else to do it as well if that would help, might be easier. Then have this conversation with your manager and see what she says. At the moment you are upset and frustrated, but that's partly because you don't have an understanding of what went wrong. You need to get that, which you will, before you can focus your energies on the right thing to make things better.

llareggub Fri 08-Aug-08 20:03:24

Did you include everything on the person specification and provide examples? Can you think if any part of it where you might not meet it 100%?

I suspect your Council's policy is a lot like the one where I work. If a candidate does not meet the essential criteria, then that candidate cannot be shortlisted. So you really have to provide lots of evidence on the application form.

As usual, flowery is absolutely right. But do meet with the person who shortlisted, the feedback you get will be essential for future applications. Chalk it up to experience and move on.

flowerybeanbag Fri 08-Aug-08 20:04:20

x-post whattodo. I have to say your friends option of answering every point in turn would make it much much easier for a person doing the shortlisting to quickly make sure every criteria is met tbh. If they have to read through a long piece and find them all in there somewhere, that's more difficult.

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 20:05:58


i did not get as far as an interview...I have never had one and not got the job!

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 20:09:59

i have been working for over 20 years and only the last 6 in the council and i would have thought that to submit an application in the way she suggested you have looked unprofessional.Mine is a three page essay which covers both my understanding and experience and flows very well and is easy to read.

But I dont think i will submit any more like that and will take my friends advice as she has worked for council for years and has progressed well

flowerybeanbag Fri 08-Aug-08 20:13:11

Three page essay is way too long. If someone's wading through 20 applications, three pages is not easy to read however well-written it is.

Obviously there are jobs where you might have to submit written pieces of various kinds, but unless a job is one of them, and an essay or similar has been requested, it's a definite no-no I'm afraid.

But it's all a learning curve, so onwards and upwards to the next one!

ilovemydog Fri 08-Aug-08 20:15:07

Oops blush

Misunderstood the short listing was for the interview. But still think that taking advice will help you. It sounds so pedantic, but there is probably a list of criteria like llareggub suggests and you have to know how to play the system.

But poor you!

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 20:18:11


I can see that now but if the evidence is in my 'essay' and I must add that I can put things togther well as its part of my current role, should it not be ok?

llareggub Fri 08-Aug-08 20:20:33

whattodonext: what would be your response to my earlier question?

flowerybeanbag Fri 08-Aug-08 20:26:38

Obviously I don't know anything about the job, or about usual council recruiting procedures.

But as someone who has done a lot of recruiting, if I had a pile of applications and one appeared with a 3 page essay attached that I was expected to wade through, I would be rolling my eyes and skim-reading if I'm perfectly honest.

Doesn't mean the person wouldn't be shortlisted, but it would be more of an uphill struggle than for someone else.

Obviously meeting the criteria is the most important thing. But rightly or wrongly, you can't ignore the fact that your application itself, the way it's presented and the way you have chosen to address the person spec, will have an influence, that's human nature.

For it to go to three pages, you must have addressed the person spec in some depth. That's what the interview is for. To get shortlisted you need to make it really easy for the recruiter to run down your application and put ticks in the boxes they have in front of them for meeting criteria. Then when you get to interview, you need to explain in detail and wow people.

That's generalising hugely obviously, more 'wowing' early on might be needed for some jobs and in some types of organisation. But by the sounds of things in your case, getting ticks in the boxes was important and although technically whoever read your application may have been able to tick all the boxes if they had time to read it all carefully and absorb it, there is a high chance that couldn't or didn't happen.

It's a learning point for you, and it's actually really positive, because it means (I expect) that there's nothing wrong with your skills or experience, so it's very easy to put right next time.

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 20:30:57

I met the spec 100%. I addressed every part giving either an understanding of something or where required an example of my experience.

I will let you know how the feedback goes.The other person on panel who i spoke to today said they were disappointed with my application as they had thought i was the strongest candidate so something was very wrong but i cant see how i missed it? I checked and checked and two collegues checked.

gosh i am rambling now.I will let you know what happens next
thanks everyone

ilovemydog Fri 08-Aug-08 20:35:30

Look at it this way - would be much worse if your application was fabulous, you got to the interview and didn't get the job as you didn't have the right skills!

All this can be fixed!

whattodonext Fri 08-Aug-08 20:37:57


I really had my heart set on this job.Its one that I would really enjoy and would be able to offer a lot to.Plus its extra cash and we need that at the moment (dont we all x)

whattodonext Sat 09-Aug-08 22:34:12

I think the hardest thing for me (as Monday approaches...)is facing all those at work who knew I applied especially those who got an interview who are less senior to me

Its all a question of saying the right thing on the form in council jobs and not whether you can actually do the job


llareggub Sun 10-Aug-08 17:01:06

It may appear to be that way, but it usually isn't the reality. Now you know how to get an interview next time, though, will you approach the form differently or not?

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