Employers, it pays to be kind.

After noticing unemployment rates have made it into the news for the umpteenth time this year, I think it’s fair to say it’s about time that I put in my two-penny’s worth about it, considering it directly affects myself and my peers, even at University.

I will begin by saying I moved to Uni in September of last year, and after having secured an interview with a well-known company (I shan’t name names), I was feeling pretty confident that I wouldn’t be facing that familiar student problem involving money, or in this case, a lack of it.

Well although I was technically employed by them on a casual basis, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, (nor have I ever had explained to me by the company) I was never called in to do a day’s work. So now, here I am six months down the line, with a P45, writing this blog and hoping that someone will take pity and offer me a job.

Two things that have astounded me while searching for a job is firstly, the amount of qualifications a candidate is expected to have in order to work a till and tidy up a shop floor, even after volunteering at a charity shop for a considerable length of time employers don’t seem to have batted an eyelid at my willingness to work. I could perhaps understand the unwillingness to employ an individual if they have absolutely no experience of working life, but that most certainly isn’t me!

Secondly, let’s say one does get an interview, goes along and believes it went well, but is then told ‘you’ll receive a phone call on <insert day here> either way’. The day arrives and you find yourself staring at your phone expecting it to ring all day, until it reaches 10pm where you finally peel your eyes away feeling incredibly disappointed and very much back to square one of handing out your CV to anyone who’ll accept it.

I’ll admit I was incredibly fortunate to have got my first job the way I did, and have never experienced the incredibly tiresome process of being constantly knocked back until now, but I’m amazed at how slack some companies are at getting back to those they have interviewed. One would assume that ‘you’ll receive a phone call’ is definite, not subject to whether you actually have the job or not, but apparently it does.

In the past three weeks I have attended two job interviews, where I have been met with a similar concluding line. Both of which have failed to call me back with a definite response, despite my own attempts to remind them to give me an answer. All I can really take from what I consider entirely rude and unfair, is the question, do I really want to work for a company who can’t be bothered to pick up the phone and put someone out of their misery, or at the very least, send them a generic ‘sorry you have been unsuccessful’ email?

The answer to that is no.

So what do I have to say about the rate of unemployment in the UK with young people? Well for a start, I think the benefits system needs a re-jig.

At the moment it is too easy for those who have no desire to work to claim benefits, while those who are struggling and who do have a desire to work are shoe-horned into the ‘scrounging’ category the likes of Jeremy Kyle liberally pin onto people. It might be fair to suggest that we identify the genuine hard-workers from those who don’t care to lift a finger, through arranging individuals to take part in charity work, or broaden the availability of classes that assist in boosting employability, or even make apprenticeships even more accessible than they are at this moment in time. Not only would that give individuals shop-floor experience, a sense of confidence and perhaps skills in a trade, but it helps worthwhile causes and gives people a sense of purpose that they will have been missing (or at least I know I have done) while being on benefits.

Another problem is that employers expect the earth from their applicants, and (in my experience at least) give absolutely nothing in return. It seems that employers are looking for people who have absolutely no responsibilities outside work and therefore can give up every hour under the sun, have a PhD in customer service, cash handling and tidying, and only have the desire to stay in the job until the day they die. I hate to disappoint every store manager in the United Kingdom but I’m afraid this really is not the case. Even if that really were possible, chances are it wouldn’t be enough, and you’d never get that call back.

I think what I’m saying is that it is highly unfair for employers to expect so much out of people, however what I’m NOT saying is that they shouldn’t take into consideration the brand expectations, or whatever else a manager believes they have to think about when choosing to hire someone. At the same time, people also have to help themselves by doing something good. Yes I might not get paid for it, but at least I can feel positive that I’ve helped someone when I finish my shift for that week.

At the end of the day, employers should recognise a hard-working individual when they see one, and not expect someone ‘perfect’ will come through the door immediately after you’ve left.

But that’s just what I think.

P.S. Please call a person when you say you will, it’s rude not to.

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