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Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by ff392, Apr 25, 2010.
Just wondered ?!
Usually just up to the third crass spelling or grammatical error, the third arrogant self-promotion statement or the bit where it states "I would relish the challenge.." and then it gets binned.
Yes, but I wince at the bad grammar and punctuation, another 'black mark' for getting the school name wrong and 2 'black marks' for getting my name wrong!
I highlight all these before short listing but do not bin as it is not my decision alone as to who we short list.
Yes, but generic shotgun letters go in the bin afterwards, as do ones with spelling errors or grammatical inaccuracies.
I read them all, but note down the spelling errors etc. and do not shortlist them. I hate generic letters and I hate it when they spell my name wrong and couldn'tbe bothered to cut and paste the previous school's name out of their letter!!
And the two with (almost) identical paragraphs . . . probably originally written by Ronan.
And the one which I once received which began: I speak French as I breathe. It is in my blood and my heart. It floats in the air around me, and settles on the pupils.
And the one from a former office clerk: I am really sorry that I left the school last year after that disagreement but now I've seen you're advertising for a job in the Prep as a teacher and I'd love to come back and work in the school and I know I'd enjoy teaching and I can learn about the national curriculum before I start in September and it would be great to be working with yoiu again and to have the holidays and the better pay too.
And the one that doesn't bother to fill in most of the application form, just says See CV (which we didn't ask for anyway).
Cor, I could drag up a lot more!
I skim read every one but when faced with a 100+ applications it is usually necessary to quickly discard the ones with numerous spelling errors, poor grammar and the ones which refer to me as 'Dear Sir', when the school's website makes it abundantly clear that I am female!
Oh, don't you just hate that? Or Ms when the letterhead you have used to send the covering letter with the application pack clearly says Mrs? A few minutes careful research can make all the difference!
...and yesterday I received an application form accompanied by a cd rom of a powerpoint presentation starting with the graduation photos,and including photos on the beach from her travels around the world when she was 'taking a break from teaching'... binned.
Oh yes! Inappropriate photos!
Acting as a consultant recently for a headship appointment, I saw some amazingly inappropriate photos.
One candidate printed out photos at each point of his CV, including the traditional drinking photo for his undergraduate years, his wedding photo, and for his current post, a photo of him hugging and kissing a girl at the School prom. Closer reading by another shortlister allowed her to point out to me that it was his daughter, not a student. I had given up on that application by then.
Fancy going to all that trouble to produce something that just ensured that the school DIDN'T shortlist you!
That made me laugh, as did the Powerpoint on cd. You have to wonder at the lack of common sense of some apparently well educated and intelligent teachers. I've mentioned before, but it bears another mention, the applicant for a head of subject post who sent a CV (I have never asked for these and eventually put in the head's letter with the job pack 'Please do NOT send a CV') which ran to nearly twenty pages and amongst many, many pieces of irrelevant and often bizarre information the fact that he was a plasma and sperm donor.
I have seen CVs and application forms with some classic photos:
One with a snap of the prospective candidate sitting on a rock while wearing a bikini (yes - she was female); a photo of a prospective music teacher in full evening dress with white DJ and waving a baton, and one of a young lady teacher who, at first glance, appeared to have a boa constrictor coiled around her neck. After a few minutes I realised that the 'boa' was, in fact, her boyfriend's arm. She had just cut the rest of him out of the photograph.
A highly amusing topic!
Needless to say after much laughter and comparing we did not interview any of them.
Any application with the wrong school name or my name spelt incorrectly does not get interviewed.
Personally I encourage every candidate to visit the school prior to application and we will often view applications in two piles- those that could be bothered to attend and those that couldn’t. 95% of interviewees come from the ‘bothered’ pile. Even if you live so far away you could not visit I would expect a phone call to explain that fact and to discuss our school and the post offered.
What other features ensure an application gets disguarded then?
Dare I suggest, sexual orientation, current address, university or school, 2:2 or criminal conviction ticked?!
How bizarre - I've never ever received an application in which the candidate mentioned their sexual orientation - why would they? Their address - why would that make me disregard them? Ditto their university or school (it's not the foreign office or David Cameron's front bench we're taking about here, but schools); having a 2:2 - the best teachers I've ever known didn't even have a degree.
Criminal conviction - that one might well put many people off, but I'm not the only head who has appointed staff with criminal records (one had served a prison sentence).
I don't think anyone would mention it, however some LEA applications do ask for it. Obviously the applicant can tick the 'prefer not to say' option, but what difference does asking really make?
Or alternatively, Daisy, those who were lucky enough to be able to come, and those whose current Head wouldn't let them come, those who were working supply and couldn't afford to give up a whole day's pay to come, those who couldn't afford the travel fare to come, those who had child-care problems and couldn't come . . .
I wonder if, on reflection, Daisy, you don't feel that your categorizing the applicants in this way is a little harsh?
So, if you regularly get over 100 applicants (and if you are a Primary School in the N East or Cornwall, up to 200), and over half fell into the category of those who couldn't get there, for one very good reason or other, you have the staff available (and multiple phone lines) to deal effectively with 50-100 phonecalls from potential candidates? All asking to discuss the school (information which could have been given in as part of the application pack, or be available on your website).
Daisy, I feel that this is a very harsh attitude, to be honest!
I look for applications tailored to our school not general CV types. If the candidate cannot be bothered to even do the basic work of finding out my school name then I am not interested. Not every person is suited to working in every school, in my view you need to know the school you are applying to work in as it may not suit you. Does that sound less harsh?
Yes! Thank you!
My advice to candidates on the JobSeekers Forum makes it extremely clear that they should be tailoring their application to exactly that individual school.
Similar points to yours are made by me in How not to get shortlisted
All quotes are True Life from applications I have received myself . . .