Author Topic: "Please give me a job in the UK"  (Read 26972 times)

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Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2005, 06:55:04 AM »
Graham, I understand how you are trying to help. It's just that this is very strange to an American. (Balmerhon brought up the topic first, not me.)   Perhaps it is just more a part of American culture to be concerned about the protection of one's rights. Perhaps certain historical events have led us Americans to be more sensitive about potential discrimination. Any American book on job-hunting will contain at least a few pages on employee rights at the beginning of the book.  As I mentioned earlier, an interviewer in the US wouldn't dare ask such a question.  If an interviewer mistakenly asked an illegal question and was told by the interviewee that the question was illegal, it's the employer who would feel embarrassed, not the interviewee, because it's assumed that someone who is involved in hiring decisions understands employment laws.  (The interviewer who asked that question would also be in danger of losing their job, because they are creating a problem for the company.)

In America, no one would consider a potential employee who said they didn't have to reveal their religion, marital status, etc., to be arrogant (as long as they weren't jumping up and down and shouting when they said it). They would expect a potential employee to know this.

Just a cultural difference, then?


« Last Edit: January 17, 2005, 06:57:07 AM by sweetpeach »

Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2005, 07:09:43 AM »
Just a cultural difference, then?

Indeed; giving you a little background, the main point of me posting up this "series" was to help give some insite into these difference as I'm one of a minority of people who has actually sat on interview panels in the UK, and been passed around CVs for comment and with others's comments stated.  There's been a number of "why is it hard for me to even be considered" type posts on UK-Y and although you may not "like" the news brought by this thread, it's what I've come across in my experiences and "forewarned is forearmed".
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Offline LisaE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2005, 07:20:51 AM »
Thanks for some terric guidelines, Graham. Whether we agree or not with government rulings, anti-discrimination acts or being totally PC, I think it's important to see what a British employer looks for...gives us a leg-up because, as americans, we're used to a totally different system. Helps to even the job-search field.

Even though there are guidelines, we can't hide the fact that people who hire are also human. I might not hire someone who briefly looked out the window when I had something important to say at that moment, for instance. Skill would have had nothing to do with it.

My own personal view is that government guidelines (limiting what employers can ask) and the desperateness of someone needing a job (promoting lying on an application) does more damage than good. Whether it's "just a job" or someone's entire career, there remains a relationship between employer and employee that's akin to marriage. Certainly there's more time spent with an employer than with a spouse/family (unless the spouse is an employer...and being in this situation myself, I still aver there's more time spent with employer than with spouse  ;))

Why not be candid and open? Why not start off on an honest footing? "I don't want a woman with a young family because I don't have one myself and I have no sympathy." vs "I encourage young families and am quite willing to allow my single-female-with-young-family to work a swing shift and I will even supply daycare." (Yes, that difference does occur...I recall being allowed to leave work everyday at noon to be able to nurse my son because my boss's wife nursed their child, yet in everything else, and I do mean everything, he was an absolute tyrrant, but he melted when it came to families.)

Our office is in a listed building. We've been told by the local council that we cannot alter the place in ways to allow people in wheelchairs an unaided access to the first floor. We have Stannah (stairlifts) as a client and they've seen this place; even though wanting to install a stairlift, they said they couldn't do it because of the structure. Do we turn away wheelchairs? No, we offer an alternative venue. But to hire someone in a wheelchair? The person's role would be VERY limited and we, as small employers, need someone with less limitations, because each salary counts a lot. Besides, the person needing a wheelchair to get around will be MUCH happier in a place that's going to be comfortable and have fewer obstructions.

At the end of the day,* each employee and each employer is different. But there are some great match-ups out there! If an employee likes what he/she does (instead of it being just a salary), there's going to be great work done. Great work, better success. Better success, more money...for both employer and employee.

This world's just gotten way too PC. I'm all for asking personal questions on applications. Afterall, a job interview is really just a form of speed dating...without the physical issues.

Just a side rhetorical question: If you happen to be a woman reading this, and you happen to feel that your sex has nothing to do with your abilities for the job...think back to job interviews you've had. Have you reacted differently depending on the person interviewing you? Perhaps you mildly flirted if it was a man. Or you had a sisterly bond if it was a woman. Have you thought about what you were going to wear beforehand, and how this might affect the person interviewing you? Have you taken a little longer on your makeup in preparation? Worn perfume when you usually don't?

Let's face it...we are who we are. Women can do things men can't and visa versa. Let's regale in these differences and use them together, as a team unit. Are you Hispanic? Maybe you can speak Spanish, or know a bit about the culture that will help your employer. Do you have a foot fetish? You'll probably be great at selling shoes! Instead of making ourselves into monopeople, let's be glad that we ARE different and we can add a uniqueness in a job/career that can really USE our skills. Everyone would be a lot happier.

*I hate that phrase...'at the end of the day'
Married to Graham, we run our own open-source computer training company in beautiful Wiltshire out of our 1814 Georgian Regency home (a former lodging house and once featured in Antiques Roadshow)

Offline NoNameHere

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2005, 07:56:45 AM »
Well said, Lisa!  All of it!   ;D

Mister_Nibbles

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2005, 09:22:22 AM »
Afterall, a job interview is really just a form of speed dating...without the physical issues.

Can I use that gag in my next job interview?  8)

Grateful to Graham for bringing up such a useful topic. The advice he's given may be an accurate picture of how some companies currently operate. But I think as well as looking at how some companies are, it's definitely necessary to look at how recruitment practices have changed, and are changing further.

I've been in the full-time workforce since 1995, and the advice I've received from recruiters and employers has been consistent: your date of birth, marital status, hobbies etc. have no place on your CV/resume. 

I've filled in job applications where they didn't even ask for my name, so that the sifters couldn't make judgements in the "Adam vs. Ahmed" vein. I was a number - without name, age, or gender - until the interview. And sure, then if they were assmonkeys they could behave accordingly (to the poor middle-class white graduate, boo hoo!), but until then all the candidates were just numbers. And I think it's harder to get away with being an assmonkey when you have to talk face-to-face and can't just slip their CV in the shredder.

In the few times I've been involved in hiring staff, I've never known the age, marital status or hobbies of a person when I've been selecting for interviews. This is the sort of information you find out when getting to know a new member of staff, but I haven't found it relevant to whether they have the skills and experience necessary to fill the post.

I don't think this is about being politically correct. I think it's good, 21st Century business sense when recruiting from a modern, fantastically diverse pool of potential employees.

Offline Dr.Steve

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2005, 12:02:54 PM »
Graham and Lisa, (and everyone else who has commented)
Thank you so much for posting this information.  I'm walking into an interview for a university teaching position this friday and after reading your posts feel much more prepared.  It's funny how differences between cultures and hiring practices, can either be viewed as insurmountable walls or interesting challenges.  I think the true challenge is finding appropriate ways of incorporating the strengths from each perspective to reach the best result (hapy employees and profitable companies).
Kudos to you for the detailed post and conversation that it sparked!
Stephan
Dr. Steve

***The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step***

Offline GrahamE

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2005, 12:26:17 PM »
There's no "one size fits all" answer, and the recruiting that I've been involved in has been with relatively small business units, all be it sometimes of larger companies, who have been responsible for their own hiring within the unit.  Anonymity of name may be PC, but isn't an option when the person who opens the application is also the person who does a first sift.  The mechanisms Mr Nibbles describes are much more relevant / appropriate (and in place) for larger recruitment pools / situations where an evenhanded / legal / correct approach needs to be applied and demonstrated to be applied nationwide, and you may note that I didn't say that you must provide the information we're discussing when applying - just that you should consider using points that will help you fit in with a particular employer when applying to that employer.  Showing an excellent understanding of what's being looked for and describing how you will fit in is much more important that (at a base level) which bare statistics you provide.   

Quote
I think the true challenge is finding appropriate ways of incorporating the strengths from each perspective to reach the best result (hapy employees and profitable companies).

Agreed, Dr Steve. The public sector may have the luxury of NOT having to be profitable ... but that's not the area of my experience as an employer. As a public sector employee many years back, I was shocked that everyone took their 6 weeks (was it 6?) off sick each year even if not ill, all paid for by the taxpayer.  As a company, we could only afford that if all our competitors did the same, and the whole market place put their prices up to cover the expense.
-- Graham
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Offline Suzanne

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2005, 06:24:44 AM »
Graham,

These have been very interesting posts, but I thank any powers that be that I don't have to look for a job here.   ;D

I still think that it's inappropriate to include personal details such as sex and ages of children, hobbies, etc., on a resume/CV. The applicant is contacting the would-be employer as a professional, so it seems only right that a resume should include only those professional details that apply to the job sought. In my experience, stretched for time and looking for editors, editorial assistants and/or proofreaders, I was bombarded with resumes in the D.C. market, as the competition for any writing/editing/publishing position there is tough. At the end of the day (to coin a British term), I didn't care if the applicant had a green belt in karate, or was active in the PTA, or enjoyed camping in his or her free time. That type of info, albeit interesting to the applicant, had nothing to do with whether the person could do the job--plain and simple. Such details might be interesting to discuss as the interview is winding down, but in the big scheme of things, as far as the job goes, who cares if someone enjoys collecting stamps as a hobby?

I know that an employer has a vested interest in knowing whether someone plans to start a family and, if so, how soon, but it's not something I'd ask (childcare is another issue). Inevitably, questions such as those are aimed at women, not men, and it's inherently sexist. It indicates a mindset of: "Oh, she's not really serious about work/advancing in her career--she's just killing time until she gets pregnant." To go to an extreme, analogy-wise, it would be similar to asking an applicant who was overweight how much he weighed, then asking him when he planned to go on a diet (with a mindset of: "Hell, this guy's going to be a goner within a couple of years. He's a heart attack waiting to happen."). Or you could ask an applicant if he'd been married and divorced before he met his current wife, and why his previous marriage ended (with a mindset of: "I bet he cheated on his wife. That shows him to be disloyal and noncommittal."). I know I'm stretching the comparisons, but when you start getting into the personal aspects of someone's life, where do you draw the line? I think it's best to stick strictly to professional characteristics. Any details beyond those are irrelevant.

I agree that when in Rome, do as the Romans do (i.e., when applying for a job here, use British spelling and terminology). I'm thankful that I have enough work from the States not to be a job-hunter here, though, because a lot of Brits, although eloquent, are also maddeningly verbose.  :-X As an editor and writer, focused on being as concise as possible, I couldn't go against all I've been taught and have learned on the job.

Last, but not least, I think you've provided this advice to would-be supplicants, rather than equals. In other words, I've always gone into interviews with the mindset that the employer and I are equals--he or she has to convince me that the organization is worth working for just as much as I have to prove that I'm the person for the job. When you go into a job interview with a "pauper looking for a handout" mindset, a handout's what--if anything--you get. If you go in with the view that you're interested in the company but need some questions about it answered first, you've shifted the balance of power. Then, if you ARE offered the job, you're in a position to ask for more money than the employer probably had in mind--salary negotiation, but that's a different subject (send me a PM if you'd like some tips). :) (Women, sadly, tend to feel awkward or to think they sound greedy if they assertively, but politely, refuse to be paid less than they're worth, which is one of the main reasons why they're generally offered and paid less than men for doing the same job.)  I can say from experience that displaying absolute confidence in yourself during an interview can net you thousands of dollars more than you expected.

Too...sleepy...to go on...with post. Oxygen supply......running low. Tell...my....husband...I love him...........
« Last Edit: January 28, 2005, 03:32:49 AM by Suzanne »

Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2005, 04:29:01 PM »
I still think that it's inappropriate to include personal details such as sex and ages of children, hobbies, etc., on a resume/CV. The applicant is contacting the would-be employer as a professional, so it seems only right that a resume should include only those professional details that apply to the job sought. In my experience, stretched for time and looking for editors, editorial assistants and/or proofreaders, I was bombarded with resumes in the D.C. market, as the competition for any writing/editing/publishing position there is tough. At the end of the day (to coin a British term), I didn't care if the applicant had a green belt in karate, or was active in the PTA, or enjoyed camping in his or her free time. That type of info, albeit interesting to the applicant, had nothing to do with whether the person could do the job--plain and simple. Such details might be interesting to discuss as the interview is winding down, but in the big scheme of things, as far as the job goes, who cares if someone enjoys collecting stamps as a hobby?

I feel the same way. I think that is part of what I was trying to say when I mentioned that I am turned off by people who put personal stuff on resumes because it seems to me like they are trying to fill up space on the page to hide a lack of professional qualifications.

As for the argument that it doesn't hurt to add information that could help you, the problem is you don't know the interviewer, therefore you don't know which information could hinder you or help you.

For example, one employer could read that you are married with kids and get the impression that you are a stable, responsible person. Another could get the impression that you are going to be taking lots of days off from work to take care of things involving your children.  If you have all the necessary qualifications for the job, why hurt your chances by submitting information that might hurt you if you happen to get Employer #2? If you do get Employer #2, once you are hired, you will have the opportunity to prove to your employer that his beliefs are wrong, but you have to get hired first.

I have always learned that on a CV/resume or at an interview, to never supply any information that could even remotely be construed as negative. (Without lying, of course.)
« Last Edit: January 20, 2005, 04:32:09 PM by sweetpeach »

Offline FormicaLinoleum

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2005, 06:25:48 PM »
Wow--that post is wonderful!  I'm especially grateful for the hints about how to handle applying from the US.  I'll be doing this in a few months--we won't be able to move unless I get a job offer, but I had planned on saying that I would be moving to London, arriving such-and-such a date, available to start work on such-and-such a date (about a week after arrival).  It doesn't matter to them that I actually would not make the move if I don't get any job; if they don't give me a job, what I do doesn't affect them, and if they do offer one to me, then I would be sticking to that schedule.  We'll also go visit before the move to find a flat, and I would state that I would be available for interviews during that period.

Does that sound like a good approach?

Also, how personal should I get in explaning why I'm moving to the UK and plan to stay?  My situation is that my mom is from England and I visited throughout childhood and lived there for one year as a teen.  I've always loved it and have wanted to move there for basically all of my adulthood (I'm now 32).  Both of my brothers now live in England, and my parents are going to retire there.  In other words, I'm moving because I like it there and to be near my family.  But does an potential employer want to know any of that?

More questions!

If I have a BA and a PhD, is it necessary to list or describe my high school diploma?

My CV is about 2.5 A4 pages, and that's without the extra personal details or information on references.  My employment takes up nearly a full page, and I also have a list of publications that takes up nearly a full page.  Should I put "Publication list available by request" and cut that out?  In the US, it's standard to include them, but perhaps it's different in the UK?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2005, 07:01:48 PM by FormicaLinoleum »
Liz

Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2005, 03:02:01 AM »
Graham,

Last, but not least, I think you've provided this advice to would-be supplicants, rather than equals. In other words, I've always gone into interviews with the mindset that the employer and I are equals-- he or she has to convince me that the organization is worth working for just as much as I have to prove that I'm the person for the job.


Thank you for taking the words right out of my mouth.  Never write a CV or go into an interview with the attitude that you need this job. Go into it with the attitude that the company needs you, and convince them that they will be screwing themselves royally if they don't get you.

And as  a corollary to that--SAVE. SAVE. SAVE.  Do whatever you can, give up whatever  you have to, to  pay off all your debts and to keep as much money as you can in the bank so that you can stay out of work for as long as it takes you to get a job that's right for you.  Never put yourself in a position where you have to take a job.  You can't negotiate if you can't walk away from the table.

Offline Suzanne

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2005, 03:23:01 AM »
We think alike, sweet. :)

Formica, if you have a degree or degrees, under- or post-grad, it's a given you have a high school diploma. Don't include that on your resume. State what degree(s) you have, from what university/ies, and in what year(s), under a heading of "Education". For example

B.S. in Journalism, University of Maryland-College Park, 1987
M.A. in Journalism, University of Maryland-College Park, 1989

The HS diploma is a given...


Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2005, 03:32:11 AM »
Jumping a bit off topic, but it seems to me that a secondary school education is much more valuable in the UK then in the US. Is this true?  It seems that in the UK, if you don't have a uni education, employers actually care about your secondary school marks.  In the US, at least in New York, without a uni degree, it's almost impossible to get a job (other than maybe manual labor.)  There are administrative assistants at my company with MBAs. Most US employers wouldn't even look at a resume that stopped at high school, let alone pay attention to the marks.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2005, 03:36:14 AM by sweetpeach »

Offline Suzanne

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2005, 03:53:10 AM »
Sweet,

I have yet to figure out the education system here (O levels vs. A levels, etc.). What I found odd is that you pick your path at 16 here. You either go on to college--which, by U.S. terms, would be 11th and 12th grade in high school--or that's it. (For the Brits reading, "college" and "university" are one and the same in America--you go to high school through the 12th grade, when most are 18, and then decide whether to go to college/uni or not. You can't GET out of school at the age of 16 without parental permission, and if you do, you're a "high school dropout," meaning you didn't even get the minimum you should in education--a high school diploma).

Offline sweetpeach

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Re: "Please give me a job in the UK"
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2005, 12:39:03 AM »
I believe that instead of going to uni, you can do vocational training instead (NVQ).  My fiance has 3 uni degrees, and recently got some kind of NVQ certification through his job as a support worker.





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