I can answer my own question in a way. I didn't. Back in the day, I got very average GCSE grades and left school with some pretty appalling A levels. As a result, I didn't get into my chosen university and got into the only college I could through clearing. I really wasn't suited to studying, but it was the done thing. As a result I came out of a poor college with an average degree. I took a job in a shop to keep out of the unemployment statistics, as no-one would offer me a position in my chosen career, but after 18 months of folding towels, decided it was time to try again.
I managed to get two job offers. One at the grand annual salary of £4,600 and one for £6,500. Both pretty lousy, but I took the one with the less heart-stopping salary as it was a step onto the ladder. Here I am 17 years later, after a number of moves up the ladder and I've got a senior management job with a reasonable sized firm. I worked hard, got through my professional exams with barely a hiccup and, bizarrely, have made a success of it all to date.
The shoe is now on the other foot and I'm the one trying to recruit graduates. We offer a lot more than £6,500 by way of salary, but wouldn't offer a position to anyone with my educational background (or my boss's, amusingly enough). I spent a lot of time interviewing about eight months ago, and saw graduates with a variety of social, numerical and literacy skills, until I interviewed one candidate, who seemed perfect for the role. We made him an offer to start with us in September 2012 and he was delighted to accept. I relaxed and was happy to have more time in my diary for the day job as I had no more interviews to conduct. Fast forward to three weeks ago, when he contacted us to say that despite signing a contract months ago, he wouldn't be joining us, and had decided to work for a bank instead. I'm not sure I'd have have the self confidence to turn down a job three weeks before I was due to start now, let alone when I was 21. There was nothing we could do, so it was back to interviewing. We interviewed one candidate, who intimated throughout the interview that he would accept our offer, if he wasn't offered one for more money elsewhere. It seemed odd, as he hadn't been made an offer, we clarified that point and moved on. We decided that he wasn't the right person for the role, and rejected him and later received a confused call, asking why the offer he'd previously received had been rescinded. Whether he was confused, naive, or just wanted the job so desperately, that he'd convinced himself it was in the bag, I don't know.
Another department has been looking for an office junior. They've only received two applicants. One was invited for interview, which they accepted, didn't turn up, and is now ignoring contact. The other has ignored our best attempts to contact them for a couple of months. Perhaps the reality of a nine to five role isn't so appealing when it comes down to it, perhaps they've had a better offer; but what confuses me throughout, is the common sense and common courtesy that seems to be missing.
Anyway, I'm back to interviewing and hope to strike lucky this time. All I can pin my hopes on is that the staff that we have successfully recruited are happy, genuine people, with a good work-life balance and are making the same sort of success of their lives as I did all that time ago. Surely it shouldn't be so difficult to find someone that wants that?
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