Letter to applicants

I don’t usually mention job rejections here, because why would I? Everybody in my position gets them but I don’t want prospective employers to know that this also applies to me. However, since once before a really nice rejection got mentioned because of its quality, it seems only fair, and also fun, to note the opposite.

This is a familiar phrase, I’m sure: “It may sound like a cliché, but in this case it was true, that we were faced with an unusually large number (over 120) of exceptionally strong candidates.” Firstly, it sounds like a cliché because fields this large are not exceptional any more, and it bothers me that selection panels can’t get their heads round this. I have heard this surprise a lot these last few years and it’s not surprising me as much as the people I’m applying to, apparently. That’s the genuine reflection on the state of the discipline out of the way, now for the snark.

Dear writer of this letter: it would sound less like a cliché if you hadn’t put this in an e-mail attachment whose filename was ‘Letter to applicants-210509.doc’. That’s the electronic equivalent of sending me the bug letter instruction really, isn’t it. And it would look an awful lot less like a cliché if the address and signature had not been set in Lucida Handwriting. I mean, firstly, having just the top and tail done in a script makes it look like what you wanted was the effect of a form letter finished off by hand to start with. And secondly, it’s Lucida Handwriting for heavens’ sake. Don’t you people read Acadamnit?

Still, at least they somehow sent something. That’s more than we often get. For cost reasons, they tell us, and this is often the same institutions that send you acknowledgement of your actual application, had you noticed? On the other hand on the day I post this I got a further rejection for a post I’d given up on long ago, and they sent three separate copies of that one. No expense spared! Gee thanks.

So the obvious and positive conclusion is undoubtedly a new slogan for my jobhunt: “you have to be quite careless not to give me a job!”

6 responses to “Letter to applicants

  1. Dude, that sucks. I once got rejected from a job though by having my writing sample unceremoniously returned in the mail, without comment. :-)

  2. That email sounds (and probably looked) completely lame. Sometimes the people running recruitment processes just don’t have a clue. I know it seems to be rather common these days, but it really irritates me when I send off a job application and get no.response.whatsoever.

    • That does at least give you the chance to contact them and check by way of showing that you’re interested and getting your name in front of them, but I admit that by then it may well be a bit futile. Thankyou for the sympathy.

  3. My worst application experiences have (perhaps inevitably), been with Oxbridge colleges. Christ’s College Cambridge refused me permission to apply for a JRF there (they had an age limit, and said you needed special permission to apply if you were older, which they then refused without explanation). And I didn’t even apply for another college’s JRF, because they had a time-limit of how many years’ research you could have done already, and added that they automatically presumed that you had spent all the time since your first degree in research unless you could provide evidence to the contrary.

    My worst interview experience, however, was for a library post. I had sprained my ankle, so was hobbling around, and in the middle of the interview there was a fire alarm, so I had to walk down several flights of stairs, because we couldn’t use the lifts, and then go back to finish the interview. (I didn’t get the job).

    • I didn’t even apply for another college’s JRF, because they had a time-limit of how many years’ research you could have done already, and added that they automatically presumed that you had spent all the time since your first degree in research unless you could provide evidence to the contrary.

      I recognise that one and did similarly. Many of the relevant employers have shut down or left the country, there’s no way I could ever prove I wasn’t in a library for a lot of the last ten years. I figure it’s one way to cut down the number of people who apply, but it also obviously privileges the golden children who’ve never stepped outside their college.

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