Large TOC throwing away applications

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185

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Not saying which company yet, as I want to get a formal response from their HR Director, but one very large train company has been behaving utterly disgustingly. I'm quite fortunate to already have quite a decent job, but I feel sorry for those on here who've been trying very hard over long periods of time carefully applying for each job that comes up.

I was sat with two managers the other night in the pub and one asked where I was working now, and whether I'd applyed to go over to their company. It was mentioned that they were disgusted that HR had told them.....

"Oh there's about 800+ applications for that job, just got through the first few and pull out the first ten suitable ones. Don't worry about the rest."

This does contradict with the spiel they put under their "working for us" section so I will be interested to see if they bother respond. I know some bad employers do this, but not a company that portrays itself as whiter than white, despite not caring about 750+ people's 2 hours each spent applying.

Will let you know soon which company has (openly) done this if they don't give me a suitable reason.
 
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LCC106

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Hi 185. A matter close to my heart. I work in HR (not in the rail industry) and had an interview with Northern Rail yesterday (trainee train driver). I would be extremely surprised if I were told that HR sifted in that way. Yes, a vast amount of applications per role, but really? Just to disregard them? I would find that hard to understand and if true extremely bad! Of course, a simple 60 minute living rule can seem harsh but looking at the number of applications becomes an understandable sifting tool.

As an applicant I would be distraught to think my time and effort had been worth nothing. An employee of NR told me yesterday that it was typical to receive thousands of applications per vacancy (a bit more than the hundreds you suggest and that I thought) so if that's the case I feel privileged to have got so far.

Let's hope this is just misunderstanding - for the sake of all those out there who, like me, genuinely want a career on the rails. Keep us posted if you do hear anything though...
 

Harlesden

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I don't actually see the problem. Hundreds of applications received for one position - could be any large organisation and not even a TOC - pull out the first ten suitable ones. Does anyone really expect a TOC or any organisation to spend a considerable amount of money on acknowledging hundreds of unsuccessful applications - for every vacancy that arises?
The "ten suitable ones" referred to could be thought of as a shortlist, and this method of selection has been totally normal and routine for years.
 

185

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The "ten suitable ones" referred to could be thought of as a shortlist, and this method of selection has been totally normal and routine for years.
So 750 people who applied don't even get their applications looked at... because.... there's a shortlist? Is that the same line of thought behind ITVs premium rate phone competitions, where people after a certain unknown time had zero chance of entering the competition?
 

TDK

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Not saying which company yet, as I want to get a formal response from their HR Director, but one very large train company has been behaving utterly disgustingly. I'm quite fortunate to already have quite a decent job, but I feel sorry for those on here who've been trying very hard over long periods of time carefully applying for each job that comes up.

I was sat with two managers the other night in the pub and one asked where I was working now, and whether I'd applyed to go over to their company. It was mentioned that they were disgusted that HR had told them.....

"Oh there's about 800+ applications for that job, just got through the first few and pull out the first ten suitable ones. Don't worry about the rest."

This does contradict with the spiel they put under their "working for us" section so I will be interested to see if they bother respond. I know some bad employers do this, but not a company that portrays itself as whiter than white, despite not caring about 750+ people's 2 hours each spent applying.

Will let you know soon which company has (openly) done this if they don't give me a suitable reason.
Don't believe all you hear in a pub and also ensure you have solid evidence before you name the company or you will be in trouble, the 10 positions may have already been decided before the applications arrived also. Just be careful as I think I know where and what company you are referring to.
 

LCC106

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I WOULD expect all applications to be acknowledged for a company of this size, yes! Would also expect those who are unsuccessful to be duly notified and not kept hanging on. A company of this size will have software for such circumstances. I acknowledge each one individually for my clients and it does take time but it's common courtesy.

And thank goodness I only enter ITV competitions online! No cost! Ha ha!
 

Bellwater

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Don't believe all you hear in a pub and also ensure you have solid evidence before you name the company or you will be in trouble, the 10 positions may have already been decided before the applications arrived also. Just be careful as I think I know where and what company you are referring to.
No names will be mentioned. I'm sure I know the company in question and it doesn't surprise me to be honest.
 

185

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Don't believe all you hear in a pub and also ensure you have solid evidence before you name the company or you will be in trouble, the 10 positions may have already been decided before the applications arrived also. Just be careful as I think I know where and what company you are referring to.
Never do. But the evidence is solid - these were two people I have known and trusted for 15 years since reggie railways.

TDK ....this wasn't ATW's (forgetful) HR for once.
 

callum112233

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Does the company in question have blue and purple trains? If so, then I agree, they aren't the best recruiters.

And the people in the section 'working for us' on the website probably don't even work for northern. They make a point of putting a woman conductor and driver under that section just to look politically correct.
 

TDK

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Never do. But the evidence is solid - these were two people I have known and trusted for 15 years since reggie railways.

TDK ....this wasn't ATW's (forgetful) HR for once.
I would never have thought it was ATW as they do or did check every applicants form - hear say is not evidence 185 - if you metioned these as the people donating the information and if they are managers they would deny it or lose their jobs making you look like a grass - I would still be very careful. It isn't only HR that check the application forms it is the DM's usually that take the most to sift through. Evidence is a grey area, unless it is in writing or email is it worth jack ****. All I advise is be very careful on how you word your complaint.
 

Mattmatt

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MMMM interesting to read; I does rather confirm some of my thoughts! On one application I even had an email stating to me that I hadn't made it through and that I was unsuccessful even before the closing date!

But in saying that I've just had an email from Northern for their last conductors post at Man Pic; "Further to our previous correspondence regarding your application for the above role, we have now completed the shortlisting process and are pleased to inform you that you met the required criteria. However, as there were a high volume of successful candidates and only limited spaces available for interview we are unable to progress your application further at this time. It is proposed to keep your application on file for the next 6 months and should any vacancies for Conductor at Manchester Piccadilly arise during this period we will contact you once again."



Time to get the BBC whistle blowers on to it......
 

whhistle

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Don't believe all you hear in a pub and also ensure you have solid evidence before you name the company or you will be in trouble, the 10 positions may have already been decided before the applications arrived also. Just be careful as I think I know where and what company you are referring to.
Although this does happen, isn't it somewhat illegal to fill applications before even going through interview stages?

It makes me think, companies know who they want for the job, they should save everybody's time and not bother even putting it as a vacancy because it's just a big waste of time and effort.
 

TDK

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Although this does happen, isn't it somewhat illegal to fill applications before even going through interview stages?

It makes me think, companies know who they want for the job, they should save everybody's time and not bother even putting it as a vacancy because it's just a big waste of time and effort.
A vacancy is a vacancy and only 10% of people already in on the railway pass the tests so anyone earmarked for a job may not necessarily get the job. If a vacancy arrises and there are any qualified drivers applying it is no go for anyone else as a rule and you will find that many posts are filled by qualified drivers and this in turn would prevent anyone elses applications being accepted for a vacancy when it has already been filled.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Time to get the BBC whistle blowers on to it......
Obviously a tongue in cheek statement. The TOC's are not doing anything illegal in fact a TOC owes an applicant nothing until invited to the assessments and interviews so the BBC will not participate on such a trivial matter
 

richw

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Although this does happen, isn't it somewhat illegal to fill applications before even going through interview stages?

It makes me think, companies know who they want for the job, they should save everybody's time and not bother even putting it as a vacancy because it's just a big waste of time and effort.
If a company fills a position internally, they still need to advertise the position externally, which is a waste of everyone's time, but a requirement In the UK. So if a company has already decided one of their existing cleaners is to become a guard, they still have to advertise that guard position for a minimum period of time, all applicants will receive a unsuccessful letter formed by mail merge, normally sent a few weeks later to look like time was taken to.consider them.

Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk
 

LCC106

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If a company fills a position internally, they still need to advertise the position externally, which is a waste of everyone's time, but a requirement In the UK. So if a company has already decided one of their existing cleaners is to become a guard, they still have to advertise that guard position for a minimum period of time, all applicants will receive a unsuccessful letter formed by mail merge, normally sent a few weeks later to look like time was taken to.consider them.
Sorry, Rich, but not quite correct. With 10 years' experience working in HR I can confirm that there are no hard rules about advertising a vacancy externally as well as internally.

Of course, you may be correct where a company has made such a rule itself, but pretty pointless, time consuming and costly. However, it is generally considered good practice to advertise roles internally when they are going external...

Hope this helps...?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Although this does happen, isn't it somewhat illegal to fill applications before even going through interview stages?
Nope - not illegal, although any prospective candidate could make a complaint to the employer where this is the case. Not sure what comeback they'd have though unless they had genuine belief they'd been discriminated against due to one of the protected rights e.g. disability, sex discrim etc.
 

matt

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MMMM interesting to read; I does rather confirm some of my thoughts! On one application I even had an email stating to me that I hadn't made it through and that I was unsuccessful even before the closing date!
Did you apply online? If so then its more likely your application was "read" by a computer and rejected automatically if you didn't include the key words it was looking for in the application for example
 

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Remaining firmly in the realm of 'chats in the pub' and 'nameless companies', I can add some reports of my own to explain a little about the filtering techniques used by HR people to bring an overwhelming level of applications to a manageable proportion. I will stress that these discussions were not concerned with any specific application, but simply with how officers can get through the working day and reach any sort of progress towards selecting candidates against a constant stream of applications:

'If they can't spell, they don't get it'
'If its hand written, they're out'
'Anyone starting with "I've always had a passion for <the industry> won't get read'
'If its more than <nn> pages its asking for too much of my time'
'If they mention a <xxxxxxxx> anywhere, they're out'
'Coloured paper, coloured ink, staples or sellotape on envelopes is a no-no'

I could go on, but won't.
I'm not excusing any of those techniques, but just thought I'd point out that HR teams are probably just as depressed by the impossible workload they face as applicants are by rejection. I just hope it helps to understand a little about how bad it can get at the receiving end of job applications.

Disclaimer: I have no reason to believe that anything above applies to any Company referred to on here.
 

yorksrob

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Remaining firmly in the realm of 'chats in the pub' and 'nameless companies', I can add some reports of my own to explain a little about the filtering techniques used by HR people to bring an overwhelming level of applications to a manageable proportion. I will stress that these discussions were not concerned with any specific application, but simply with how officers can get through the working day and reach any sort of progress towards selecting candidates against a constant stream of applications:

'If they can't spell, they don't get it'
'If its hand written, they're out'
'Anyone starting with "I've always had a passion for <the industry> won't get read'
'If its more than <nn> pages its asking for too much of my time'
'If they mention a <xxxxxxxx> anywhere, they're out'
'Coloured paper, coloured ink, staples or sellotape on envelopes is a no-no'

I could go on, but won't.
I'm not excusing any of those techniques, but just thought I'd point out that HR teams are probably just as depressed by the impossible workload they face as applicants are by rejection. I just hope it helps to understand a little about how bad it can get at the receiving end of job applications.

Disclaimer: I have no reason to believe that anything above applies to any Company referred to on here.
Out of interest, what's a <xxxxxxxx> when it's at home ?
 

tony_mac

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I was told that one of the 'acceptable' ways of cutting down the number of applications to deal with is to do it purely at random, without even looking at them.

By doing it that way, there is no possible bias against any particular group, and they can't be accused of discrimination in the 'sifting' process. (For instance, throwing out all applications with poor spelling could be considered disability discrimination, particularly if the job does not actually require writing).
 

DaveNewcastle

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Out of interest, what's a <xxxxxxxx> when it's at home ?
I do hope you don't really expect me to reveal that, (which someone in a pub somewhere had said sometime). I assure you that it wouldn't be any more helpful to know that, over and above whatever little comfort my full post might hopefully give to job applicants, with whose frustration I have great sympathy.

I was told that one of the 'acceptable' ways of cutting down the number of applications to deal with is to do it purely at random, without even looking at them.

By doing it that way, there is no possible bias against any particular group, and they can't be accused of discrimination in the 'sifting' process. . .
I must say that I agree and, with a heavy heart, even approve of that technique (for the reason you identify). Once again, it illustrates well the enormous disparity between the capacity of all job applicants and the capacity of a limited HR team. The harder our economy becomes, then we must expect that disparity to increase, as applications become more intensive and HR departments face further demands of efficiency.
 
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merlodlliw

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I spent 30 years in HR, or to me it was always personnel Management,a lot of big Companies now employ agencies to sift, there will be an unwritten clause on age for example,gender etc, a lot of sifting is done in strange ways now.

One good point about American (US) job hiring is, if the job as been filled inter nalloy for example, the advert will have to state , this job is advertised for information only.

No UK rule in law that any job has to be advertised, this is only done if there is an agreement to do so.

The unadvertised jobs market is also huge and has been for years,plus I always wrote to everyone applying for an advertised job, sadly this is not the case now.

You can claim to an Employment Tribunal if you have facts of discriminating but these still have to be proven, the job spec is only part of the scene.
Bob
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Not true - if it is a paper application form it is certainly beneficial to hand write the sections neatly and clearly with good grammar.
Fully agree, if asked to fill in a paper form & if it says in black ink, use black ink

Bob
 

DaveNewcastle

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Not true - if it is a paper application form it is certainly beneficial to hand write the sections neatly and clearly with good grammar.
Perhaps I failed to make my post clear, I'm sorry.
I was quoting actual strategies employed by actualm Companies I have worked with, during their selection processes. I had intended to report them as facts (without comment from me on their effectiveness, practicality or lawfulness) in order to assist anyone in the OP's situation.

I must assure you TDK, that that example most certainly is (or was at the time of my discussion) true.
 

TDK

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Perhaps I failed to make my post clear, I'm sorry.
I was quoting actual strategies employed by actualm Companies I have worked with, during their selection processes. I had intended to report them as facts (without comment from me on their effectiveness, practicality or lawfulness) in order to assist anyone in the OP's situation.

I must assure you TDK, that that example most certainly is (or was at the time of my discussion) true.
I won't argue with you Dave, but the TOC I worked for prefers written and not typed responses on their paper forms, maybe you are talking about a different industry however this is a rail forum. So, Dave you are incorrect with your observation IF a paper form is issued!
 

BestWestern

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I'm not at all surprised by this, it's pretty much common knowledge inside the industry that not all of the hundreds of applications will be thoroughly vetted for many jobs where only a handful of people are needed. Many of us have heard the stories of managers 'selecting' a chunk out of the pile and letting the rest slip by. Hence some firms bringing forward the closing dates because of the volume of applicants. This seems to cause much irritation on here, but it is at least a reasonably transparent way of dealing with the issue. I would offer the simple advice that if there's a job you wish to go for, don't leave it until the last few days before you file your application, get on straight on it and ensure that you are one of the lucky ones who gets read!
 
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