Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Discuss any aspect of applying for posts or courses (apart from the clinical psychology doctorate which has its own forum section), CVs, application forms, etc
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blue86
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by blue86 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:38 pm

miriam wrote:With my qualified interviews I've always got a lot out of calling the named contact to ask more about the set up. I ask things like who is in the team, who receives the service (inclusion and exclusion criteria really vary), what the geographic catchment is, why the post is vacant, whether my interests fit with what the post involves, whether there is anything I can read. It's been invaluable.
Those are great tips! I didn't really think about how exclusion criteria might vary between services, but that is a very good point. To be completely honest I think I would be too shy to ask why the post was vacant :) But it's good to know that I can ask whether there is anything I can read. These are some very good points to keep in mind. Thank you Miriam and Will for the great advice.

kaaatt
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by kaaatt » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:46 pm

Hi guys,

I just wanted to add to this and vent my frustrations. I have just finished helping out with the first stage of shortlisting for my current role (AP) and I am pretty amazed and shocked by how few applications have actually managed to get through to the next stage after ensuring very basic criteria had been met.

Aspiring Assistant Psychologists... When applying for a job in which they ask in the job blurb that you answer a short essay question as part of your supporting statement please DO NOT SUBMIT WITHOUT INCLUDING YOUR ESSAY ANSWER.

I feel incredibly frustrated by the amount of people who have just submitted their ready-to-go applications without clearly having even read the information supplied on the job site. You will not be shortlisted if you have not answered the question. Some people had some excellent experience with our client group and/or clearly had some excellent and relevant skills, however they did not make the cut due to simply not doing what they had been asked to do for part of their application. Also the amount of applications which did not even have any tailoring to our client group whatsoever was quite disappointing - I always had an almost ready-to-go AP application at the ready, however, I always made sure I tailored it to the particular role I was applying for - even if this was just a few sentences to explain how certain skills were transferable.

This not only means that you now don't have a chance at the job, but other people who may actually be enthusiastic about the particular post and who are spending time to write their essay ultimately end up missing out because the cap on applications is met before they have had time to finish (we did have someone ring up quite upset that they'd spent ages writing their essay and they were passionate about our specialism, but when they went to hit send the cap had been maxed. Which is such a shame when so many people did not seem to share their enthusiasm enough to read the blurb.)

So I guess my advice from this would be:

-Tailor your application forms, even if it's just a few additional or altered sentences. Employers want to know that you're right for the role and show enthusiasm for working in their particular specialism.
- If you're asked to do a particular task as part of an application, complete the task. Without this, chances are you won't make the cut - you've not demonstrated that you can work under instruction, or that you are able to extract important information.
- Proof read. Make sure you spell psychology correctly - it's quite worrying how many people who have studied it for many years don't!

I hope this is useful, as well as just a bit of rant from myself!! :)

Bobgirl
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by Bobgirl » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:11 pm

but other people who may actually be enthusiastic about the particular post and who are spending time to write their essay ultimately end up missing out because the cap on applications is met before they have had time to finish (we did have someone ring up quite upset that they'd spent ages writing their essay and they were passionate about our specialism, but when they went to hit send the cap had been maxed. Which is such a shame when so many people did not seem to share their enthusiasm enough to read the blurb.)
This seems like a bit of a catch 22 really. Either spend time tailoring your application and writing a good essay to show your enthusiasm and risk missing the cap or shove something together, don't spend time tailoring but at least it is in! I can understand why the cap is there but it seems really unfair because you don't want to risk spending too much time on your application and miss out :?

Esuma
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by Esuma » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:20 pm

Bobgirl wrote:
but other people who may actually be enthusiastic about the particular post and who are spending time to write their essay ultimately end up missing out because the cap on applications is met before they have had time to finish (we did have someone ring up quite upset that they'd spent ages writing their essay and they were passionate about our specialism, but when they went to hit send the cap had been maxed. Which is such a shame when so many people did not seem to share their enthusiasm enough to read the blurb.)
This seems like a bit of a catch 22 really. Either spend time tailoring your application and writing a good essay to show your enthusiasm and risk missing the cap or shove something together, don't spend time tailoring but at least it is in! I can understand why the cap is there but it seems really unfair because you don't want to risk spending too much time on your application and miss out :?
Yes very true... I can completely see why it's done as you have to stop somewhere and have an amount of applications that's manageable to judge, but it's very frustrating when you're applying! I spent ages writing an application and before sending it off did some more reading around the client group, and research about the service to add in a few more details, went to submit and BAM it had closed. I was devastated but have learned from that error and now I write and submit asap. I got an email from NHS jobs at 2am with an AP post in my area. When I woke up I excitedly clicked to apply and the vacancy had already gone!? How can anyone be expected to personalise at application so quickly and who were the people who got their forms in so quick!?

kaaatt
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by kaaatt » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:32 pm

Oh yeah, I completely get what both of you are saying. It would be great if it wasn't capped or that there was some easy way to filter out those who did not meet the criteria. For my previous role, they didn't place a cap on applicants and they had to sift though about 225 applications which is a massive burden on time for a busy healthcare environment. The whole system seems wholey unfair, and I've been there myself so many times having spent lots of time on applications to find they've been closed. Which is why I'm so frustrated at those who just submit their generic applications without any efforts whatsoever to tailor them. And I suppose when I first started to apply for NHS posts I tended to use a pretty generic application, change a few words here and there and submit. However, on retrospect I didn't once get shortlisted for any of these interviews. When you submit these sorts of applications you are wasting both your application, and potentially someone else who is putting some time and effort into that application.

We have also had a number of applications who did answer the question, however have mentioned only that they have experience in areas such as brain injury and haven't even mentioned why would they want to work within our speciality (and this has to be a little more than just to get a new experience for yourself or wanting a new challenge- you need to also be bringing something beneficial to the clients/MDT etc.)

When I did start to get shortlisted for NHS posts, I had started to create personal statements for a number of different patient groups which interested me (e.g. I had CAMHS, Forensics, Eating Disorders, Learning Disabilities personal statements) which were then more easily and quickly adapted to address the experience and skills which I had which would be beneficial which I then used as the starting point for my applications then add any further info if necessary.

As an AP myself, I am not one of the ones who makes the decisions about how the job is advertised or the caps, or even who makes it through to the final cut. I am just merely expressing my frustrations and my experience of helping shortlist! :)

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moonbeam
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by moonbeam » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:13 pm

Esuma wrote:I was devastated but have learned from that error and now I write and submit asap. I got an email from NHS jobs at 2am with an AP post in my area. When I woke up I excitedly clicked to apply and the vacancy had already gone!? How can anyone be expected to personalise at application so quickly and who were the people who got their forms in so quick!?
This has happened to me too. I think eventually you get into the habit of checking these websites daily (or several times a day in my case :oops: ) that way you've got more of a chance of getting your application in. You definitely can't rely on those job alerts.
There may not always be a solution to the problem, but there is always another perspective...

Esuma
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by Esuma » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:41 pm

moonbeam wrote:
Esuma wrote:I was devastated but have learned from that error and now I write and submit asap. I got an email from NHS jobs at 2am with an AP post in my area. When I woke up I excitedly clicked to apply and the vacancy had already gone!? How can anyone be expected to personalise at application so quickly and who were the people who got their forms in so quick!?
This has happened to me too. I think eventually you get into the habit of checking these websites daily (or several times a day in my case :oops: ) that way you've got more of a chance of getting your application in. You definitely can't rely on those job alerts.
Yes you're right I will have to get back in the habit of checking NHS jobs etc daily rather than relying on the emails! It happened the other week too, at the time I thought maybe the job had been posted in error but I'm pretty sure it just must have reached the cap really quickly! I'm tempted to create a huge document with every person spec point I've come across and some points on how I meet it and then I can just search copy and paste!! :lol: it's frustrating having these caps and being on the application side but the poor people who don't do that must really regret it! I don't think I'd know where to start on the other side of it all!

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BenJMan
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by BenJMan » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:17 am

Esuma wrote: I'm tempted to create a huge document with every person spec point I've come across and some points on how I meet it and then I can just search copy and paste!!

WHY did I never think of that?? :shock:
I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people ~ Maya Angelou.

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moonbeam
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by moonbeam » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:23 am

BenJMan wrote:
Esuma wrote: I'm tempted to create a huge document with every person spec point I've come across and some points on how I meet it and then I can just search copy and paste!!

WHY did I never think of that?? :shock:
It took me a while to come to the realisation that it would save me hours of time too! I had different word documents for RA, LD, OA and CAMHS posts. The majority of my experience was in forensic settings so I thought I needed time to research other areas and try to link it with my transferable skills. It did seem to work and I got offered interviews for all different types of services - but I still cancelled them to work in offender health :oops:
There may not always be a solution to the problem, but there is always another perspective...

AnsweringBell
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by AnsweringBell » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:44 pm

moonbeam wrote:
BenJMan wrote:
Esuma wrote: I'm tempted to create a huge document with every person spec point I've come across and some points on how I meet it and then I can just search copy and paste!!

WHY did I never think of that?? :shock:
It took me a while to come to the realisation that it would save me hours of time too! I had different word documents for RA, LD, OA and CAMHS posts.
Yesssssss I did this too! It meant I could tailor an application but have it ready to go within half an hour to an hour of seeing the post. Useful with such a difficult numbers game!

intime
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by intime » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:33 pm

This is without doubt one of the most depressing things I've ever read! Oh well, onwards, upwards and all that...

Alexander
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by Alexander » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:13 pm

intime wrote:This is without doubt one of the most depressing things I've ever read! Oh well, onwards, upwards and all that...
Why?

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miriam
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by miriam » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:20 pm

I've been shortlisting for an AP post again this weekend, and it feels like I want to write the same things over again.

We closed the advert after 70 applications (it was open for nearly 3 days). Of these:
4 had no psychology degree
9 didn't have GBC
3 didn't have the right to live/work in the UK without a visa (and my understanding is that it would be almost impossible to get a visa for a job with 60+ British/EU applicants)
5 didn't have a driving license (which we had said was essential unless they had a disability and an alternative plan for transport)

That meant that 53 applicants met the minimum eligibility criteria. But here is the killer:
Even though we explicitly asked for a covering letter explaining how applicants fit our requirements, only 31 applicants wrote any sort of covering letter beyond sending their CV, and of those only 21 wrote something that in any way appeared specific to this job vacancy. One of those didn't have GBC and one didn't have a driver's license. So there were really only 19 applicants who were seriously in contention for the role - but even amongst those, very few demonstrated an interest in the client group and the type of work involved in the role (in this case, children in Care and research, respectively) and many had virtually no work experience.

Some applications were terribly presented. Twenty typos per paragraph, or a block of text with no hard returns, or no spaces after punctuation, or spelling the word psychology wrong in their own job title.

So anyone who took the time to find out what we actually do, and then write a short covering letter showing how their skills might be relevant to that stood a pretty good chance of being called to interview.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

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Spatch
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by Spatch » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:18 pm

In the future (if it doesn't exist already) I am convinced there will be an A.I or algorithm that will:

a) immediately kick out the application if it exceeds a certain number of typos.
b) detect if an application is a scattergun application or appropriately tailored.
c) auto deselect people without minimum criteria. And I do mean minimum like "no degree", "Cannot work in the UK" not "not had dozens of years AP experience in this type of field and edits the British Journal of Clinical Psychology in their spare time."
d) highlight those that may be good at the various tasks the job will require.

Then we can keep AP posts open for a decent enough time to produce a good field of applications in a way that won't take up hours of time. If it doesn't exist, someone needs to invent it sharpish.
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ell
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Re: Shocking true confessions - My Selection Hell

Post by ell » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:57 am

Inventing that algorithm/automatic screening probably wouldn't be as difficult as persuading trusts to take it on.

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