We've had over 70 applications for the Office Admin job we advertised. Sophia spoke to about potential candidates over this week and we've now shortlisted 5 candidates who we are interviewing on Monday.  The smart ones will be subscribed to this blog and will read this post. That means they'll know to bring something orange with them, that we're on the 2nd floor and that being able to demonstrate their organisational skills is very, very important.

For the 65+ who didn't get shortlisted, we wanted to provide some feedback:

  • Always send a covering letter and CV – a CV lets us know what experience you have. A letter lets you, tell us, why you're better, and more interested than the rest
  • NEVER name your CV file MyCV.doc – we got 20 of those.  It doesn't help.  
  • Think about the format of your letter and CV. One candidate sent theirs as .doc and .docx.  Neither format is perfect (I'd rather have .pdf) but it shows they were thinking of our ability to read their document not about their ease of sending.  A couple of candidates used .wps – very few businesses will use that format.  
  • Sending your covering letter as the email body is good.  It saves us from having to open another document.
  • Spell our names right.  It is Sophia.  Not Sophie and definitely not Sarah!
  • Do your research. We are an online company.  We have a blog.  We say a lot about ourselves on websites and twitter.  It can help you in applying for a job.  Only about a quarter of you took the time to read the post below and mention Billy Bragg in your application.  To be honest I'm no Bragg fan but it helped show us who felt interested enough in the job to read up on us.  It also showed us who was naturally curious. Being naturally curious is a good thing.
  • Make sure you have your own personal email address.  Make sure it is a sensible one. This time we had work addresses, partner's addresses, and the occasional daft personal address. Thankfully nothing as bad as an applicant for a previous job – dozytart@hot…
  • We are an online company. We deal in social media.  It won't hurt a candidate to have an online presence.  At least one interview candidate has a strong online presence that goes beyond chatting with friends.  Create an online presence for yourself.  Make it relevant to something you are passionate about. It could be a blog or twitter account. Put it in your covering letter next time. It'll impress a company that is working in this area.
  • Some people applying were "over-qualified".  That's fine.  We're interviewing at least one of them.  But if you are very well qualified it is worth taking the time to explain why you are so interested in our wee job.  We don't want to think we are just a short-term filler for you.
  • A few people applied very late in the day.  It's not a good idea to be late on a job application that is looking for a well-organised person…
  • It is not easy picking the best candidates.  Some people were close calls. I expect we may have missed some excellent candidates because they didn't tailor their application to our job.  We may have dismissed an absolute gem because their experience didn't match up to what we think we want and perhaps because we've misinterpreted it. Sorry. For you and for us.

Finally, thank you to EVERYONE who applied.  It's been great reading about you.  Apologies to those who haven't made the shortlist.  Good luck to those who did.  See you on Monday.


Allan Lawrence · 8th January 2010 at 3:02 pm

Excellent tips provided and great feedback!
I think it’s brilliant you took the time to write this out.
Unfortunatly allot of companies are very ‘processed’ and don’t always take the time to listen to enthusiastic emails…Which is a shame.
I’d also respectfully disagree with Doc files as there are allot of Admin departments that wouldn’t have the slightest clue about PDF although again I do agree with you through previous employments PDF is so much better.
Thank you for taking my CV under consideration and again I’m very impressed with the feedback, very proffesional and refreshing to see.

Shane McCracken · 8th January 2010 at 4:08 pm

Hi Allan, Thanks for taking time to comment. I agree that .doc is unfortunately the widest used format. It would be better were it not. The advantage of a PDF is that you know your formatting will be preserved, but if the HR person can’t read it then what use it that.
Good luck for the future.

curious bee · 15th December 2010 at 3:47 pm

“A few people applied very late in the day. It’s not a good idea to be late on a job application that is looking for a well-organised person…”
Please think through. It is a general statement. A well-organised person has priorities and the online paradigm has its impact. Was there no tomorrow? Regardless .. I am certainly unaware if all these pointers were in place for the applicants before they could have taken actions they were supposed to take.
= many questions (1. Does it rain when clouds burst?)
* It doesn’t matter if this ‘feedback’ doesn’t show up among the comments

Shane McCracken · 15th December 2010 at 3:54 pm

Hi Curious Bee,
Thanks for the feedback. I take your point. We were looking for someone who didn’t leave things to the last minute and someone applying on the last day may have prioritised correctly for them or may have just seen the ad, but it didn’t change the fact that it seemed last minute to us.
The point of the post was to provide helpful feedback to those who had applied and I’d still say it doesn’t help to apply at the last moment for a job.

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