Job Interviews – incidents and observations
Barrs Paints, Birmingham: in Jan 1992 I attended an interview at Barrs, organised by Key Personnel. The agency rang me to say that the company had agreed to offer me a job. After about ten days, I had not been sent any details about the post, so I rang Key Personnel and was told that Barrs were undergoing a restructuring and had suspended all recruitment plans.
In March 1992 I had another call from Key Personnel asking whether I would be interested in a job with Barrs Paints at their other site. I said that I was interested, but that in view of my earlier experience I would prefer to have offers of employment in writing rather than over the phone.
I attended the interview and was told ‘You don’t appear to have any relevant experience; we don’t need anybody here with your background, and we don’t think you would fit into the company.’ Despite this poor match, they offered me the job.
I started work at Barrs in March 1992. On my first day I was taken to the accounts department to sort out my payroll. The chief accountant asked me which paint firm I had been with previously, and was very surprised to learn that I had come straight from University.
One of the other lab workers asked me how long I was going to be working there; he was under the impression that I had been taken on as a temporary placement student.
Duedown Paints, Tamworth: I attended an interview at Duedown and was informed that the company would be able to match my current salary of £X.
I told them I was happy to accept this figure. Then, a week later I had a phone call from the Tech Manager telling me that the firm could not afford to pay me the full salary, and instead would only be able to offer £Y (about 3 percent lower than my current salary).
By this time I had already handed in my notice and some of my colleagues had been made redundant, because Mason Coatings was about to be sold to Akzo Nobel and Kemira.
Chase Industrial Coatings, Widnes: I attended an interview with this company in 2004, organised by Nightwall Recruitment. During the interview I mentioned various aspects of my technical work, and it turned out that I had a lot of relevant experience. When I was saying goodbye, the interviewer said ‘We will be inviting people back in for second interviews in a couple of weeks’ time. If the agency hasn’t been in touch with you by Friday, make sure you give them a call.’
I took this to mean that I was likely to be shortlisted for a second interview. I sent an e-mail to Nightwall saying that I thought the interview had gone very well. Two days later, they sent me a letter telling me that the company would not be progressing my application any further.
Krakow Coatings, Penryn: I attended two interviews with this firm, and was offered the job in December 2009, to start work on 11 Jan 2010. I arrived on my first day in a hire car a few minutes before my boss turned up. I noticed that he did not seem particularly pleased to see me.
After about ten weeks, I was called into the office and informed that my progress had not been satisfactory, and that I showed little enthusiasm for the role, and they felt it best if I left the firm.
When my colleagues asked why I was absent from work, the boss told them that I had been unhappy at work and had decided to leave. He also mentioned that there had been several complaints about my timekeeping and conduct – but nobody had ever mentioned these to me during my time there.
Lexona, Salford: Immediately after being dismissed from Krakow Coatings, some friends invited me to spend Easter with them, and paid for my air fare to Manchester. So I travelled up, and after the Easter break another friend invited me to spend a few days with him in Blackpool. While there, I had a call from an agency (Nightwall) asking me if I was interested in a temporary lab technician job in Salford. I replied that I had actually moved down to Cornwall and would find it difficult to move back up at short notice.
My friend told me that he actually had a flat available to rent; unfurnished, and in need of decorations and repair, but if I needed it he would let me stay there. So I rang Nightwall and told them that I was interested in the job, and that I could actually move back to Salford if I was offered work there.
Over the next two days I had about half-a-dozen phone conversations with Nightwall during which we discussed the duties and salary for the temporary post. They told me that I was to report to the Lexona site on a particular date, and I was given the idea that this was my start date for a guaranteed placement.
I made my way to Salford on the agreed date and informed the receptionist that I had been sent by the agency to start work in the lab. They asked me to wait, and I gathered from the overheard conversations that my arrival had not been expected.
Eventually I was taken upstairs to the office to meet the staff who were in charge of the technical department. We chatted about my career and experience; eventually they said, ‘Right, we’ll let you know’ and I explained that I had been expecting to start work immediately. They said that it was just a preliminary interview.
I rang Nightwall to tell them what had happened. They said they would speak to Lexona to find out if I was going to be offered a job, and I told them that I couldn’t return to Cornwall because I had been renting a single room on a temporary basis. After a few days, I had a call from Nightwall to confirm that I was indeed going to be offered a post at Lexona, during which time I would be employed by the agency.
Neoborane, Irlam: I attended an interview with Neoborane in September 2015, and very shortly afterwards I had a phone call from the agency to say that I was going to be offered the job. The following day I had another phone call from the agency (SRG) saying that they would be making me an offer of £Z; how did that sound?
I replied that I was already earning more than that, so I wasn’t interested in moving to a new job for less money. He seemed quite annoyed at this, and asked if I would be interested in a slightly higher figure with a possible review after three months. This puzzled me; surely a recruiter would push their candidate for the highest salary, in order to earn the best commission?
I said ‘If they send me a written offer of employment I will make the appropriate response. I’m not interested in having phone discussions where people can disagree later about what was actually said.’
After I had handed in my notice at work, I tried to get in touch with the personnel department at Neoborane and found that nobody there was able to help with my enquiries. I also had an e-mail from the HR officer asking me to give details of my references (which I had already done ten days earlier).
And when I applied to a flat agency to rent this property, they insisted on me having an independent financial reference check. The financial check was badly delayed because the reference agency thought that I would be living in Manchester but commuting to Nottingham (which was the address of Neoborane head office).
I had made clear on the form (using the tick box provided) that my workplace was not the same as the Head Office address given.
After about two months, it became apparent to my manager that I was struggling to complete the range of tasks and we arranged to have a review meeting. This did not go well, and we arranged to have another review meeting a week later. This second meeting was attended by the HR officer, and we agreed that it would be best if I was to leave the firm.
Linepark, Rawtenstall: on 10 Aug I attended an interview (informal chat) with Tony H. He didn’t get back to me for about three weeks, so I rang him on 5 Sep and left a message. He called me back at about 5.45 to tell me that they were not going to recruit any more staff because of financial constraints. Then on 29 Oct I met up with some ex-workmates and learned that one of them was due to start a new job at Linemark very shortly. How odd….