The old ones are the best

As someone who has enjoyed a successful career in retail marketing but finds himself redundant in his mid-forties, I concur with Malcolm Wallace’s observations (MW last week).

I have responded to many ads where the job specifications were so close to both my experience and skills that they could have been copied directly from my CV. The vast majority of these applications have resulted in a letter, sometimes turned around overnight, containing that all-purpose cliché: “unfortunately there were others whose profile more closely matched our client’s requirements”. The conclusion I have arrived at is that client requirements are usually not fully stated in ads.

I have always believed that accurate targeting and clear communication were essential elements of marketing, in order to eliminate wasteful effort and unnecessary costs. However, best recruiting practice, it seems, is to trawl broad and refine the catch using crude criteria omitted from the advertisement for whatever reasons – political, legal or, maybe, just unofficial.

Looking for work, from the candidate’s perspective, is difficult, time consuming and 99 per cent frustration and I, for one, would welcome greater transparency throughout the process, particularly at the front end.

Tim Waters


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