Your article on interviews (Recruitment, 19 July) expressed surprise that jobseekers are applying for posts that do not really interest them.
However, recipients of Job Seekers Allowance are expected to apply for any job up to 90 minutes away by public transport deemed suitable by their advisers in Jobcentre Plus or the Work Programme, otherwise their benefits may be stopped.
Inevitably, the best way to provide evidence of “job seeking” is to fire off as many applications as possible rather than concentrating on a few, well-constructed applications for carefully-chosen posts. In addition, jobseekers are expected to apply for posts below their abilities, despite the fact that employers are unlikely to take on someone who is over-qualified or over-experienced.
As the private companies that deliver the Work Programme have targets to meet, and are paid only once the jobseeker has been placed in a job, the pressure is on to get “clients” into any position as quickly as possible.
Admittedly, the full money is only handed over once the erstwhile jobseeker has been in post for two years, but with the current levels of unemployment and the reputation of the Work Programme providers for stopping the payment of benefits first and asking questions later, it is likely that most square pegs forced into round holes will soldier on rather than go through the hassle of having to prove that the job was unsuitable to qualify again for benefits.
The result of all this is employers being bombarded with applications, very likely including some submitted under duress, which is a waste of everybody’s time. While the situation remains as it is, employers are, unfortunately, going to have to continue putting up with disinterested interview candidates.
Jane Ann Liston
Whitehill Terrace, Largo Road, St Andrews, Fife