13 reasons you didn’t get the job in the UK

Somewhere on this website, there must be explained the reason why this magazine is called The Shortlisted.
It all originated from some point in my existence – quite a long point that spanned from 2010 to 2015 – when I was having loads of job interviews.
And when I say loads, I really mean it.
It seemed to me that my job had become having job interviews, and I had no idea how many job interviews there were until I finally made the calculations.

Out of my 120 job interviews in 99 companies, 76 were in person, 44 were over the phone or on Skype; 3 were group interviews, and 15 times the interview never took place for interesting reasons; 22 times I was offered a job, a paid internship or a regular freelance position after the interview, and I only accepted six offers, including one of the worst London jobs I’ve ever had.
On the other hand – for as many as 98 times – I was forced to wonder why I didn’t get the job.

On some occasions, it was easy to tell. Take, for example, that job interview in Madrid, when I decided to answer honestly to the following two questions: “Do you like taking orders?” and “Do you enjoy working overtime?”.
The guy, who owned a translation company but spoke nothing but Spanglish, didn’t offer me the job in the end, but wanted me to freelance for him.
I say no thanks.
No, it’s not true.
I said no with nothing else.

Other times, notably in France, I was given a full array of unacceptably racist feedback disguised as unacceptably racist feedback regarding why the baguette eaters didn’t want me.
If you’re looking for a creative, artistic or stylish job, being Italian normally gives you some sort of (often unfair) advantage in all the countries of the world.
All countries except for one.
Which, interestingly enough, is the same country that still makes millions thanks to an Italian Renaissance painting they took away from us ages ago.

The British are much more smart-ass when it comes to rejecting you. To start with, they will never actually or manifestly say that they are rejecting you.
You’ll come to the conclusion on your own, in your room, in total solitude, with just a cup of tea in one hand and your mobile in the other.
Your mobile that has stopped ringing since the day you’ve moved to London.
You are sad, lonely, ugly and desperately in need of friends, but you don’t – not even remotely – think of knocking at your flatmates’ shut doors.
You certainly don’t want to pose a threat to their privacy.
After 4 years sharing the same house, you’re not entirely sure they know who you are.

Asking UK companies for feedback on why they didn’t give you the job is a big challenge, but if you really insist on asking, you’ll be likely to receive packs of entertaining science fiction in return, such as these 13 excellent reasons UK employers gave for not hiring me.

1) Financial company
After four job interviews in English, I was told that I didn’t speak any English. In English.

2) Another financial company
The first job interview went well, so they gave me a super complicated test to complete for the following week. When I submitted the test through the agency recruiter, a big liar, he said that they had already hired someone else. The following week, the job opening was published again.

3) Media company 
After two successful job interviews and under completion of a complicated project test for the Supreme manager, I was told that the Supreme manager had forgotten to tell his assistant that he wanted an English native speaker.

4) Recruitment company 
I got the minimum possible score in a terrible group interview to become a recruiter.

5) Digital company 
I didn’t speak any German. They didn’t get why I wouldn’t make this effort since I already spoke English, Italian, Spanish and French. They kind of said I’m too lazy for them.

6) Travel company
I didn’t speak any Portuguese. They said an Italian who also speaks Spanish should be fluent in Portuguese by default. They, of course, spoke nothing but English.

7) TV channel
They asked me who the best friend of some African dictator was. They told me I was not enough interested in current affairs and sent me away.

8) Publishing company 
Following the first job interview, they told the recruiter I was too “full of life” for their company. Hooray!

9) Digital company based both in the UK and Canada
After FIVE in-person interviews arranged over three different days (hence, I had to visit them three times), they totally disappeared. They didn’t let me know anything, and they ignored all my emails. Then, after nearly a year, they wanted to meet me again, this time through an agency recruiter. I told the recruiter to tell them to FUCK OFF.

10) Famous tour operator that eventually got bust
I didn’t have any sales experience. It’s true, but I thought they might have not noticed.

11) Digital start-up
I didn’t have a Twitter account.

12) Digital agency
They suddenly changed the job description for the role, so I suddenly wasn’t a good fit anymore.

13) Company in the coal industry
I was asked if I was ready for a pay cut to have the privilege to work in the coal industry.
Not even after the UK miners’ strike of 1985 have they lost this indecently shameful habit.

Mr Bean don't cut the teddy bear

Don’t cut the teddy bear, Mr Bean!

3 Responses

  1. Avatar

    I will never forget my job interview for a position at a (supposedly) thriving online company in Sydney. During the interview, the company director’s cell phone kept on ringing. And ringing. And ringing.
    After I guess 10 missed calls, he exhales and says: “I often wish I were a postman, not a businessman. You know, pushing a trolley, delivering letters, zero stress”.

    He said POSTMAN.
    Not the new Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg.
    Not surfer, not professional cricket player.
    Not crocodile/kangaroo/koala/shark tamer.
    He said POSTMAN.

    Don’t get me wrong, tho. I have nothing against being a postman: I actually like postmen, but is this the way to get an interviewee a glimpse of your (and your company’s, ça va sans dire) attitude? No way, man.

    I didn’t accept the job, also because his ringtone was a song by the band I hate the most (Coldplay).

    • The Shortlisted
      The Shortlisted

      Oh, Coldplay are not so bad… did you prefer a Justin Bieber’s ringtone? ;D
      Thank you for sharing this Anais – I’d love to hear a postman’s point of view about this story. Anyone around?

    • Avatar
      ex postman

      Postman have stress. What a feckin knobhead.

      Job insecurity, increased job efficiency, getting bit by dogs, shitty customers, rainy days, snowy days, too hot days, foot blisters, arsehole managers, arsehole colleagues, lifts in tower blocks that reek of piss or get stuck, street hoodlums, old ladies who want to talk all day, union meetings, shitty salary.

      I could go on.

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