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‘My job interview was most demeaning, embarrassing two hours of my life’ | UK News

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Olivia Bland has described how she was “torn to shreds” during a “brutal” two-hour job interview which felt like she was “sat in a room with my abusive ex”.

Posting her response to the company, Web Applications UK, on Twitter, Ms Bland said she found the interview process by the firm’s boss “very uncomfortable” and he “tried his best to intimidate and assert power over a young woman”.

She was being interviewed for the role of communications assistant at the software company and she explains to Sky News what happened:

Job interviews are never easy. The looming financial pressure paired with testing questions makes for a nerve-wracking half hour. But they’re not usually like this.

On Monday 28 January, I spent two hours being interviewed by Craig Dean, the CEO of a tech company in Oldham.

It was the most demeaning, embarrassing two hours of my life. Bringing in two employees as witnesses to my humiliation, this CEO asked prying personal questions, tore apart my writing, and insulted my character.

It was, quite frankly, abusive.

The interview had begun in utterly bizarre fashion by him picking on my music tastes as he scrolled though my Spotify account.

There is something very off about a man who tries his best to intimidate and assert power over a young woman, and who continues to push even when he can see that he’s making somebody uncomfortable to the point of tears.

Olivia Bland
Image:
Ms Bland claimed the company boss ‘tore apart my writing, and insulted my character’

I also think that he’s very strategic in placing other people in the interview room, who have no part in the interview process, just to heighten the feeling of power he gets over someone else.

The two hours I spent in the room with Mr Dean felt like being sat in a room with my abusive ex – it was two hours of being told I’m not good enough and detailing exactly why.

Once the interview was over, I found myself crying at the bus stop, feeling completely useless.

It came as somewhat of a shock to me when just over an hour later, I was offered the job.

I didn’t understand how someone who had belittled me so intensely could possibly change their tune so quickly.

After all, he had called me flappy and an under-achiever, and made it clear that my writing wasn’t good enough for him. So what was I supposed to do?

Initially, I accepted. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I could say no and, of course, I needed the money. But as soon as I put the phone down, I knew that I had made a terrible decision.

How could I work for someone who treated his potential employees (and, it was assumed, current employees) in such a way? I knew I would be miserable if I accepted.

The next morning, I crafted my rejection letter, and I was very clear about my reasons for turning down the job.

My decision to publicly tweet my experience wasn’t based on my own personal gain (of course, I didn’t anticipate that it would get this big), but to highlight that this kind of behaviour continues to happen, and that it’s not okay.

:: Mr Dean has apologised and said “he had no desire to see anyone hurt”.

A statement from the board of directors at Web Applications UK said it had carried out an investigation into the allegations and was satisfied “no bullying or intimidation had occurred” during the interview.

It added: “Nonetheless, the directors are extremely saddened by this incident and the impact that this has had on the individual concerned, particularly as we are a company that takes great pride in nurturing the aspirations of young people. We will take this opportunity to reflect carefully on our recruitment process and HR policies.

“Web Applications UK remains committed to employee development and having a positive impact in our community, both of which are core elements of our company ethos.”

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