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Dear Theo, I didn't get the job...and some questions.

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by corblimeyguvnor, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. corblimeyguvnor

    corblimeyguvnor New commenter

    Dear Theo,

    I didn’t get the job (and I’ve already eaten a lot of chocolate!)

    I’m aware that what I’m about to write will come over as ‘bitterness’ and I’ll admit that I’m gutted, but I feel as though I should make a complaint to someone (I'm not sure to whom?) about the interview process and the way in which I was told about the rejection.

    This was an SMT appointment at my current school, but was obviously advertised externally. A large number of applications were received and I was shortlisted; first to a group interviewed last week and then to the final two. I was the only internal candidate to be shortlisted. The previous week I had attended an SMT interview at another school and was put through to the second round, but then not successful. I felt that was a very fair process and I understood that I was not right for the school, so fair enough.

    In the first round interview (involving Governors) certain statements were made about my academic background such as “You are clearly not very academic, why would anyone respect you in this post?” and I argued against these, understanding that these were probably ‘Devil’s advocate’ type questioning, but the subject I teach (non-core) was mentioned several times and was told my competitors were all “far more clever on paper”.

    When cut down to the final two in the second round, I had an interview with the Head, alone, during which he told me all about my competitor in detail, going through his CV bit by bit, including where his qualifications are from etc. and made lots of comparisons between us, how academic he is and how I am not, how my degree appears second rate next to his, etc. I was also told that my interview at the other school showed a lack of loyalty.

    I was then interviewed by a second member of SMT who started the interview by saying “Shall we just have a sleep for half an hour and pretend we’ve done this?” then said they would not be asking me any questions as I know the school so well and they know me. They said that they had already told the Head to appoint me. I ended up giving almost a speech about where I saw the role going etc. as I did not want to ‘not’ do the interview.

    The final interview was ‘scenario based’ and I was given four scenarios which I know to be real, current scenarios from my school, including competency procedures which are ongoing. This included recognisable names etc.

    My interview with the Head ended with the comment that it would come down to the subject I teach, especially as the member of SMT who is leaving teaches the same subject as the person I was up against. I was told I was an exceptional candidate who would be fantastic in the role, so that it simply came down to ‘fit’ (having read your advice, I know that all appointments are down to ‘fit’, so I was ok with this). I was then told that decisions would not be made until Monday as there was a busy weekend ahead. I would be contacted on Monday.

    On Saturday I received a message from a colleague (a good friend) who had been told that the person I was up against would be joining his department and had been appointed the evening before. He assumed that I would already have known. Clearly at this point I made the realisation that I had not been appointed (to be perfectly honest I knew already!) I was then contacted by another member of SLT offering to feedback to me on why I had not been successful, although I still had not been officially told. I should point out at this point that we are a boarding school so we work weekends. Eventually I emailed the Head directly and asked him to confirm what I had heard second-hand. He did so in an email at 11pm, explaining that I would be better suited to SLT in a state school, based on my academic credentials (I have a 2.1 from London University in Education, plus a PGCE.) The letter also said that the other member of SMT who interviewed me had simply “preferred the other candidate”. He said some nice things too, of course; I was a strong candidate, I gave a good interview, he would give me detailed feedback at some point. “your time will come”.

    I am writing to ask two questions really:
    1. I have massive concerns about how I was interviewed and how I was treated over the weekend. I’d like to communicate this in a way that prevents it happening in the future to anyone else. Should I say anything? I don't want to risk it impacting my reference.

    2. I have essentially been told that my degree and my subject mean I am not suited to SLT in an independent school. Should I look into studying for an MA? Should I look at state schools? Should I give up altogether on SMT?
    Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. The Head commended me on my executive summary too, so thanks for that.

    I’m happy if the only advice is “Stop being so bitter and move on.”

    :) Corblimey
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    So I don't have to share mine with you. Good.

    A very long post. I hope you feel better now you'e got it off your chest.

    My first comment is totally irrelevant to you: This is another example of how untrue it is that the internal always gets it.

    My second comment is that the person with most reason to complain is the successful candidate.

    An application, details of a candidate's CV, etc., should only be shared with those who are part of the appointing panel. Nobody else should get this information. This is very non-professional. O am appalled.

    Now for your two questions.

    Q1 I'd just give up on the interview process, but a mildly worded note saying that you were a little taken aback to discover that other people had been informed of the outcome of the selection process before you were, would be fine.

    Q2 Ignore this entirely. They are just trying to think of a way to justify their choice. As was the statement:

    Nobody appoints to SLT for timetabling convenience! Read similar points here:

    Interview feedback - they blamed my experience, but they knew that when they shortlisted me!

    As for you being not very academic, I have known P.E. specialists (often considered a non-academic subject) turn out to be marvellous school leaders. Your success in getting to the second round in the other school shows that your academic subject, whatever it is, is immaterial.

    No,my advice is to use the fact that you have been shortlisted and to final round twice, and can write an excellent E.S., as proof that you should be watching the job adverts very carefully, ready for your next application.

    Seems to me that you can do it.

    But accept the offer of feedback, even if it is useless. ;)

    Best wishes


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