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Appalling Job Adverts show gross incompetence

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Jonntyboy, May 4, 2011.

  1. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Well, I'm having a look around the job market again - and things haven't got any better in terms of quality of school job advert since last year, have they?
    Apart from the completely unnecessary information requested on most forms that takes so much time to provide - unnecessary, that is, as the basis for a decision on whether or not to shortlist - the forms themselves are often badly-designed and in so many cases don't allow for variation or adequate space.
    A somewhat eccentric factor in so many adverts is the CRB/child protection statement. With varying degrees of verbosity and grammatical accuracy, most schools seem to think it important to state, for us all to see, that they are committed to the well-being and protection of the students in their care. You don't say? Good job you mentioned that - we thought that you routinely delivered the kids into slavery. And most also say, seriously and pompously, that CRB checks will be made on all staff applying for jobs with them. Now, I may be wrong, but I would imagine that most people applying to teach will have been trained to teach - and one of the things that they will have been told during their training is that they will need a CRB check before they have access to children. And before they can complete their ITT they will have received such clearance. So it would be interesting to find out exactly how many people apply for mainstream teaching jobs who do not have full CRB clearance. My guess would be between about, er, 0 and 0.
    Shortlisting criteria seem to be almost infinitely variable. Some schools are more concerned about academic success than about ability to teach, whereas others are the opposite. Some don't care what else you can contribute, others value extra-curricular stuff highly. Some are concerned about previous experience outside teaching, others aren't. Now that's clearly going to depend on the type, location and ethos of the school to a certain extent, and so it should - but one colleague, known throughout our school as a brilliant and fluent teacher of German, who lived and worked in Germany for five years post-degree and before entering teaching, failed to make the shortlist at one school because he didn't get a 2.2 in his subject. We know this because we now have links with that school and somebody told us. Their loss - in spades! - was our school's gain. What on earth has the class of a degree taken 10 years ago to do with one's current ability in the subject and one's aptitude for top quality teaching? Answer: absolutely nothing.
    Visits is another area. I remember being rudely told by one "receptionist" that the school didn't encourage visits and had no time to waste showing applicants around. Another Head of Department told me very pleasantly that it wouldn't be fair to let me look around and meet colleagues and students, as those potential applicants who lived a long way away would be "disadvantaged." I was so astounded I had her repeat this - and yes, she was actually being serious. Talk about having no idea about how life works. No, I didn't apply to either of these. But I did apply to the school who took time and trouble to show me how things worked, to introduce me to my potential colleagues, to give me a couple of Y10s for half an hour to question over a cup of tea and biscuits and to invite me to observe two lessons and look through the Department's resources. Of course I applied - and am now very happy there, in one of the best schools around. I seriously advise any applicant to ask every school, initially for a visit. If they won't let you in, then DON'T APPLY. THEY ARE NOT UP TO SCRATCH! THEY ARE WORTHY OF NEITHER YOUR TIME NOR YOUR TALENTS. And if they don't get applications, they'll be forced to change. Or, better still, be taken over by people who can actually run decent schools.
    Then there are the mistakes in the ads.. Legions of them. A recent "person specification" for a non-Maths subject had obviously been copied directly from the Maths department. All looked fine to start with, but then there was the sentence that some fool had forgotten to change, requiring that the applicant "..will be able to deliver high quality Maths teaching..." Sorry, people - no point me applying for that one then! Didn't do much Maths on my English course... Then there's the ubiquitous misuse of the apostrophe ... the inability to distinguish between company's and companies ... the misspelled words by the hundred ... the website links that lead nowhere ... the unwillingness to specify enough basic detail of the post, especially if part-time, so that you have to wade through a few website pages during your break, only to find that it's actually Urdu they want, not Gaelic, in their MFL job.
    Typos are one thing - we can all make them - and sometimes there isn't the opportunity to correct them. But these apart, it's a mess, and yet these schools are supposedly trying to recruit the best quality of staff. Well, they won't get an applicaation from me, that's for sure, unless they show efficiency,competence, foresight and a willingness to welcome questions. My loss, not theirs, you may say. But you don't know how good I am, do you? :)
    I'd be delighted to hear of any more advert or interview howlers that others may have come across. Somebody suggested a while ago that we ought to name and shame these incompetent schools. I'm beginning to think that's a good idea.
    Day off halfway over now, so back to the reports. Good luck, everybody!!
     
  2. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Well, I'm having a look around the job market again - and things haven't got any better in terms of quality of school job advert since last year, have they?
    Apart from the completely unnecessary information requested on most forms that takes so much time to provide - unnecessary, that is, as the basis for a decision on whether or not to shortlist - the forms themselves are often badly-designed and in so many cases don't allow for variation or adequate space.
    A somewhat eccentric factor in so many adverts is the CRB/child protection statement. With varying degrees of verbosity and grammatical accuracy, most schools seem to think it important to state, for us all to see, that they are committed to the well-being and protection of the students in their care. You don't say? Good job you mentioned that - we thought that you routinely delivered the kids into slavery. And most also say, seriously and pompously, that CRB checks will be made on all staff applying for jobs with them. Now, I may be wrong, but I would imagine that most people applying to teach will have been trained to teach - and one of the things that they will have been told during their training is that they will need a CRB check before they have access to children. And before they can complete their ITT they will have received such clearance. So it would be interesting to find out exactly how many people apply for mainstream teaching jobs who do not have full CRB clearance. My guess would be between about, er, 0 and 0.
    Shortlisting criteria seem to be almost infinitely variable. Some schools are more concerned about academic success than about ability to teach, whereas others are the opposite. Some don't care what else you can contribute, others value extra-curricular stuff highly. Some are concerned about previous experience outside teaching, others aren't. Now that's clearly going to depend on the type, location and ethos of the school to a certain extent, and so it should - but one colleague, known throughout our school as a brilliant and fluent teacher of German, who lived and worked in Germany for five years post-degree and before entering teaching, failed to make the shortlist at one school because he didn't get a 2.2 in his subject. We know this because we now have links with that school and somebody told us. Their loss - in spades! - was our school's gain. What on earth has the class of a degree taken 10 years ago to do with one's current ability in the subject and one's aptitude for top quality teaching? Answer: absolutely nothing.
    Visits is another area. I remember being rudely told by one "receptionist" that the school didn't encourage visits and had no time to waste showing applicants around. Another Head of Department told me very pleasantly that it wouldn't be fair to let me look around and meet colleagues and students, as those potential applicants who lived a long way away would be "disadvantaged." I was so astounded I had her repeat this - and yes, she was actually being serious. Talk about having no idea about how life works. No, I didn't apply to either of these. But I did apply to the school who took time and trouble to show me how things worked, to introduce me to my potential colleagues, to give me a couple of Y10s for half an hour to question over a cup of tea and biscuits and to invite me to observe two lessons and look through the Department's resources. Of course I applied - and am now very happy there, in one of the best schools around. I seriously advise any applicant to ask every school, initially for a visit. If they won't let you in, then DON'T APPLY. THEY ARE NOT UP TO SCRATCH! THEY ARE WORTHY OF NEITHER YOUR TIME NOR YOUR TALENTS. And if they don't get applications, they'll be forced to change. Or, better still, be taken over by people who can actually run decent schools.
    Then there are the mistakes in the ads.. Legions of them. A recent "person specification" for a non-Maths subject had obviously been copied directly from the Maths department. All looked fine to start with, but then there was the sentence that some fool had forgotten to change, requiring that the applicant "..will be able to deliver high quality Maths teaching..." Sorry, people - no point me applying for that one then! Didn't do much Maths on my English course... Then there's the ubiquitous misuse of the apostrophe ... the inability to distinguish between company's and companies ... the misspelled words by the hundred ... the website links that lead nowhere ... the unwillingness to specify enough basic detail of the post, especially if part-time, so that you have to wade through a few website pages during your break, only to find that it's actually Urdu they want, not Gaelic, in their MFL job.
    Typos are one thing - we can all make them - and sometimes there isn't the opportunity to correct them. But these apart, it's a mess, and yet these schools are supposedly trying to recruit the best quality of staff. Well, they won't get an applicaation from me, that's for sure, unless they show efficiency,competence, foresight and a willingness to welcome questions. My loss, not theirs, you may say. But you don't know how good I am, do you? :)
    I'd be delighted to hear of any more advert or interview howlers that others may have come across. Somebody suggested a while ago that we ought to name and shame these incompetent schools. I'm beginning to think that's a good idea.
    Day off halfway over now, so back to the reports. Good luck, everybody!!
     
  3. tavypilgrim

    tavypilgrim New commenter

    Some schools still seem to demand that further information must be obtained by Stamped Addressed envelope(large letter). Often these have closing dates so close it means first class postage is the only option. Thus meaning I spend £1.50 on postage just to get the often sparse and irrelevant information. Often these schools profess on their website that ICT is one of their main priorities. So important you haven't mastered email eh?
     
  4. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Glad you enjoyed, Lilybett6!
    And, Tavypilgrim, I almost didn't believe you about the SAE - sorry! - but must say I like your way with words. [​IMG]
    But then by pure chance I came across an ad. asking for exactly that! With a couple of days to go before deadline they're on to a winner there then... <doh>
    No interest in applying to such a school, of course, but I might ring them for fun and ask why they do it. Watch this space! [​IMG]
     
  5. I asked for a job application pack recently and was just sent am application form. No person spec, no job desc. When I enquired they sent me a job desc for a TA! Still waiting for a person spec. Ridiculous when this is what they should be using to shortlist.
     
  6. that happend to me too! I'd applied for quite a few application packs and one came back through the post (yes lots and lots of SAE's I think I've spent a fortune on stamps!) with just an application form and nothing else. They hadn't even put a slip of paper to say what school it was from. It took me a while to work out what school it was and needless to say I didn't apply!
     
  7. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    I'm sure you didn't Niali! And it's precisely that sort of thing that needs bringing to light in my view. Poor jobhunters are expected to be perfect, yet the places they apply to can, apparently, be grossly incompetent and still get away with it. The problem is, of course, that there are more jobhunters than jobs, so people still apply. There is no pressure on the schools themselves to raise their game and do things properly, as if they were in a commercial environment.
     
  8. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    It may seem eccentric to you, but actually it's a requirement under the new Safer Recruitment policies that came out after the Bicchard enquiry
    But things change in the time since the last CRB and these need to be regularly checked. It's recommended that staff in school have their CRBs regularly updated. Ofsted would like it to be every three years! So, any new entrant certainly has to have theirs done.

    Perhaps you need to brush up on your Safeguarding knowledge before interview! Check out the Safer Recruitment training on CDWC website[​IMG]
     
  9. My biggest frustration with job advertisements is that schools dont seem to know who or what they are looking for. Specifications are so vague that anyone who has QTS and and a sensible head on their shoulders should be shortlisted.
    I have been to two interviews aimed at NQTs where the job has actually gone to a Head of Department and I was invited to an interview, only to be told on the day that they actually needed someone to deliver Construction. Which is fine, except for the fact that they made no mention of this in their advert and I made no mention of it in my application because I'm not qualified to teach it. A waste of time for all involved. Grrrrrr :-/
     
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Typical of the incompetence that we hear about so often. I'm sure it must be disappointing but the silver lining may be that you can be glad you didn't end up in such an inefficient school!
    But did they offer to pay your expenses? If not, I should send them a bill. Give them time to pay and, if they don't, then threaten the idiots with legal action - I think you'd have a chance of winning in in a small claims court, but in reality it might not even come to that if you told them you were going to talk to their local paper. And to Ofsted and anybody else who could give them a good kicking.
    A few cases like this and some of them might sharpen their ideas up a bit. [​IMG]
    Best wishes anyway!
     
  11. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    I was annoyed to find a job recently on my local council website (it wasn't on tes or any other employment sites).
    The advertisement was one paragraph about the courses you would teach. Then there was an application form and equal opps form to download and complete. No further details of the post, no person spec etc. I went on their website but no further details there.
    The advert states that the post is fixed term but does not explain how long the term is for! I downloaded the application form and see it has several spelling errors and question marks in red font where text should be.
    I emailed the school and asked for a job description/person spec for the role and received a reply with a generic teacher job description attached with very little information of any use.

     
  12. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Well Georgia, I'd say you were lucky not to have had the correct forms sent, as that clearly did you a favour in preventing you from applying to such a place. Any school incompetent enough to make those sort of errors is unlikley to be a good place in which to work.
    I've been interested in two jobs recently, and have asked for info from both.
    In school #1, the person to whom we were asked to apply was away when I rang - good planning, that! - but when she came back she did email me. The information she sent was useless, as it was in docx form - and as most people know, that isn't readable by the software that many people have - including my school. I asked for a re-transmit - which came 20 minutes before the deadline...with a polite message to say that there were only 20 minutes left! No apology, of course, for stupidity. Now I'm quite quick with my ICT skills, but come on... [​IMG]
    In school #2, the information eventually reached my inbox at 2345 on a Friday night. I was away for the weekend - with 16 kids - so that left me Monday morning to see to all the bumf and fill in the form. Alas, I teach all through on Mondays and was certainly not willing to get up at 5 to apply for a job at a school that couldn't communicate at reasonable times.
    As I said earlier, I'm quite fortunate that I'm not desperate for a job and can pick and choose. But it would be nice to get some efficient communication and to be able to complete an application with the feeling that somebody with a reasonable degree of ability would be dealing with it at the other end.
    I can only sympathise with those who are trying so hard to follow the requirements to get interviews, and who are so often treated with discourtesy and met with ignorance, stupidity and crass incompetence.
     

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