ITV’s boozy recruitment screening caught out by sharp-eyed HR professional

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On Tuesday I saw a post on Linkedin from ITV, a photograph with the by-line, “Good old fashioned CV screening for our News Traineeship with a little help from snacks, wine and beer. Ultimately, a successful night, shortlisting from thousands to hundreds.”

I was the first to comment on this post, “Sorry if you were drinking alcohol then you have probably done a disservice to a lot of candidates. Probably not a good advertisement for your recruitment process.” And a whirlwind followed both on LinkedIn and Twitter, even managing to cross the Atlantic.

When thousands of young people have put themselves forward as candidates it is disrespectful to those being considered, especially later in the day when recruiters are no doubt tired and more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than they would have been at the start of the process.

I and others were maybe a little sceptical as to the response from the company that the alcohol was consumed after the process had been completed, but I’m willing to take them at their word, despite it only being 19.20hrs when the photo was taken. The big problem for the company is the damage to their reputation and brand, not to mention what it will do in terms of their recruitment process.

Any unsuccessful candidate who has seen this post isn’t going to be happy and social media is extremely quick for getting out the thoughts and feelings of unsuccessful candidates and they are using it. Could there even be justifications for an appeal? At a time when there is a lot of talk about candidate experience, reputation & brand, this is not going to help those connected with this post, let alone the company. Just as recruiters are checking candidates social media foot prints, candidates are doing the same, I know I do it.

I am sure that those concerned will have learned a valuable lesson from this, though probably not the one the candidates would like them to have learned. Don’t make decisions on peoples futures while drinking. It’s not fair to the candidate or the company; you just may miss that great candidate because your ability to spot them has been impaired. Sadly though I believe the lesson that will have been learned is not to post pictures on social media doing so.

It has been said that it was a little naïve to post the picture and headline on LinkedIn. I have to agree but it’s done, there is nothing can be done to erase the post or the comments made, the question now is where do we go from here?

My final thoughts are that for candidates, getting through the recruitment process is difficult enough and they are entitled to be treated with respect. For Recruiters I believe it is a case of treat candidates like you would like to be treated if you were in their shoes.

Article by Mark Gilligan, HR professional @markgilligan4

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6 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Mark, you should not take them at their word because the beer bottles have already been opened and the bottle of red wine is clearly empty. As an HR professional I would frown on them drinking whilst at work and as a business owner would be very dischuffed that they are drinking and eating pizza whilst using their IT equipment. If any damage was done to the IT equipment, I for one would make them pay for it to be repaired. They have not cleared away their laptops etc by the time the photo was taken and can clearly be seen to be using the keyboard in more than one case. Everything points to this meeting NOT having finished. Poor professional behaviour.

  2. From the view point of the interviewee there is the other growing problem of the interviewing panel constantly clicking at their laptop keyboards whilst the interviewee is trying to gather their thoughts or/and answer questions. Are they listening to the response to questions asked or updating their Facebook/LinkedIn profiles?
    Theres nothing wrong with a notepad (paper variety) and pen.
    Please show respect to the interviewees.

  3. Playing devil’s advocate, I’ve often met a candiate and had a drink in a bar after working hours or gone for a dinner with wine as part of an interview process. Does that imply my judgement is impaired?

  4. I must have clicked on to a forum from the Anglican church for such pompous and feigned reaction to a few drinks. As for the reaction to interviewers using iPads or computers to record responses you may need to join the modern era, the 1980’s have phoned and want their views back!!
    Please let us not become/propel an image of immovable, stuck in our ways function. Get a grip.

  5. Progress for progress sake (or image?).
    You obviously havent had to sit through such an interview. I wonder what the reaction would be to an interviewee tapping away at a laptop; after all we shouldnt be stuck in the 1980’s.
    Is the use of a PC PC?
    By the way you are obviously not in HR (at least I hope not) if you feel it acceptable to attack a religious group and its percepted beliefs.
    Get a grip.

  6. “Say No to ‘Drink & Assess”
    There is nothing wrong with showing ‘old fashioned’ respect to candidates in this digital age. We are already in an age of automated in-line, unfriendly recruitment processes that show no appreciation of the effort candidates put in to their applications to receive no reply (an all too common complaint that falls on deaf ears). The least recruiters can do is show they are taking the assessment process seriously. By all means have a drink if that’s you’re way of ‘rewarding’ yourself at the end of along evening, but do so after completing the task in hand. I would also echo Peter Dawson’s view. I’ve been in interviews where the other person is constantly checking their ipad/iphone rather than giving 100% attention to the person in front of them (and that’s without asking permission). I am not sure I agree with Adam Chandler that it was worse to have broadcast the drinking deed rather than the drink itself – both were damaging & show poor judgement. We should not make it OK to ‘Dink and Assess’ given we don’t condone ‘Drink and Drive’ as long as you keep it hidden. Alcohol impairs judgement – there is plenty of independent scientific evidence for this but you will always get the odd person that swears blind they can easily down a couple of glasses and they (self-assessment) have felt no effect .
    Safia Boot – Respect at Work Limited

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