You may have read in the news recently about a graduate who had been the recipient of an email that clearly wasn't meant for her in response to an office administrator job application. Nothing out of the blue here you say, people get knocked back for jobs all the time. Below is an excerpt from the email:
“Home educated oddball. Can't get a job since leaving uni. Forages for mushrooms.
"Difficult to assess from her CV - might be very good but equally could be a biscuit short of a packet or a left-wing loon tree hugger.
"Worth an interview if only for a laugh."
Ouch. Understandably, the graduate was upset and did the logical thing, contacting the BBC to express her dismay. She told BBC South East:
“I thought how dare somebody say that about my CV and myself. I was just absolutely furious.”
The company, Tecomak Environmental Services (did they really refer to someone as a tree hugger?) have opened an internal investigation (should be open and shut, just check the sender) and company director, Ross Black, issued the following statement:
“Clearly the comments were informal and not to the high professional standard you would expect from a company like ours. I understand that it must have been upsetting to read the comments and I apologise on behalf of the company and the employees concerned.”
“We genuinely felt your application and CV was interesting and you were shortlisted from a long list of over 40 candidates. We would be more than happy to interview you as one of the strongest candidates that have applied and, if you were to accept an interview, you can be assured that your application will be treated fairly and appropriately.”
The graduate declined the offer of an interview.
What have we learned?
They say that each mistake is an opportunity to learn, so what has this taught us? Don’t put insults in writing? Check emails before sending them? The BBC are running short on news? Graduates have feelings too? All the above?
In all seriousness, no one likes to be told they aren’t good enough, especially when they are made to be the butt of a joke. As a company, Tecomak let themselves down by showcasing a childish side of their business and the people they employ.
On the other hand, the graduate could take this as an opportunity to look at her CV and see where these comments could originate from. Is she a little too personal in parts? Is the CV tailored to the type of role she is applying for?
Representing your business
No matter your role in a business, be it director, manager or admin staff you are always representing the company. From internal emails, to social media posts, anything you write that could be consumed by your customers should be sense checked. If in doubt, don’t send it.