19 October 2014

Why I am not working for the London Borough of Merton

I briefly toyed with the idea of applying for the position of Business Improvement Advisor at the London Borough of Merton but the recruitment process was so tortuous that I only completed enough of it so that I could tell them that.

As is generally the case these days, the application form was all online and I sat down one evening to give it a go with my LinkedIn profile and CV at hand to remind me when and where I had done things.

I was first worried when the system asked for details of all the exams I had ever taken and the grades that I had got. I did my O and A Levels forty years so the results then are hardly relevant to what I can do now and, besides, I cannot remember which ones I took much less the grades that I got in them. I was not prepared to spend the time finding out or to enter all the details so I bent the rules a little and under "other" just wrote that I took 9 O Levels and 3 A Levels.

My breaking point came in the next section, my employment history. Again the structured form was over engineered, which meant that it took a long time to complete, and it asked for irrelevant information that I did not know, things like my salary at all of my previous jobs. I only have a rough idea of what my current salary is and there is no chance of me remembering or being able to find out what I was earning at, say, IBM fifteen years ago.

Not surprisingly my application was rejected. I wanted to be sure that they knew that it was a deliberately incomplete application and  why this was so I wrote and told them.
I would have been a very good Business Improvement Advisor for Merton but, as my feedback on the application process said, I lost interest in applying for the post as the application process was truly dreadful. If I was put off by this then it is quite possible that others were too and so you may well have missed other excellent candidates. You might want to try and fix that.
I do not know if Merton will change anything (I doubt it) but at least I made them aware of the problem.

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