At the ripe old age of 32 I’m taking a career break and off to university as a mature student to do something I wished I had done when I was 18. I’m not too worried about finances. I can get a student loan ( if student finance ever pay the funds into my bank – but that’s a different rant!). I have been looking for some part time work. I have worked in retail before and with Christmas approaching their are an abundance of part time retail positions available. The trouble is I just can’t get an interview. I have an abundance of experience. I can just about manage a smile at customers and won shelf stacker of the year 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004……. You get the idea. I’m sure if I could somehow get in front of a personnel manager. Sorry HR executive then I could impress them with my wit, boyish good looks and seriously, talk to them about my experience and what I could offer them. The trouble is I can’t get to the interview with a real person because I can’t get beyond the online assessment stage!
I’m not bitter but it seems grossly unfair. I’m happy to do maths, English or reasoning tests to prove I’m competent in these areas but the tests they have you doing are random questions that seem designed to catch you out. Why would John Lewis want to catch people out? The questions give you two statements of which one you have to select as being the most like you with the other you have to select as being least like you. If the choices were smack customers around the face or deliver good customer service it would be easy to select the answers they desire but when the two statements are very similar such as two ways of issuing refunds (something surely you would only know the right way for Waitrose after your training!) what is the right answer?
The blurb on their website suggests you are not a colleague or member of staff at Waitrose. You are a partner (better then Subway where you are a sandwich artist) and you have an active say in how the partnership is run. As a perspective partner I propose a fairer recruitment process where people get an interview on skills, experience and ability rather then ticking the right boxes in a rigged assessments devised by overpaid HR consultants where nobody knows the correct answers except the said consultants who secure their own huge consultancy fees by being the only people to understand the assessments!
And why do organisations make pledges on diversity but still ask you for your religion and race. Surely if this does not matter then why even ask for it?
It really was easier to climb the ladder as a professional planner in the transport industry (my proper trade) then it is to get a part time job at Waitrose!