When graduate recruitment goes wrong

A real life example of what happens when graduate recruitment goes wrong.

The graduate scheme recruitment process is difficult for both the employer, and the applicant; so it’s no surprise that sometimes things go wrong.

Employers have to try and sift through hundreds of applicants to try and find the one who fits the role, whilst students put loads of pressure on themselves to get a job, resulting in mass applying sprees to any job vacancy that is open.

Understandably, these difficulties among others, can result in the wrong graduate being chosen for a job that doesn’t suit their skillset.

This morning I came across an example of this, as an old university friend explained their experiences on a graduate scheme in a fantastically honest Facebook post.

This is a must read for both employers and recent graduates. It’s a great example of what can happen when a graduate is chosen for a role that doesn’t suit their skills and interests.

“Just wanted to share a bit of my experience over the past few months, which hopefully some of you will find useful, especially if you are just graduating or about to graduate:

I have just resigned from my job. They say life laughs at your plans. It certainly did. I graduated from university feeling slightly cocky because I had been accepted on a graduate scheme, which at the time felt like the cream of the crop.

I am grateful I had been working in restaurants and other casual jobs throughout my studies because it gave me a taste of how ruthless workplaces can be. Yet, I was still taken aback by how little support I got in the first days in my new position. I guess they assumed if they shouted at me enough times I’d end up understanding what was expected of me. In a way, they were right, I did become better at understanding what was expected of me over time, but it wasn’t really a question of doing it right, it was rather a question of not getting it wrong. I remained silent and watched; slowly but surely learning how to avoid the wrath of my co-workers.

Weeks after weeks, my motivation declined while my bitterness towards that place grew. I was efficient, but I didn’t flourish. I found it difficult to appreciate the company of my colleagues. Time did fly by most days, but staying on was torture. Especially towards the end, I would come home deprived of energy. Despite very early starts, I tended to stay up late just doing anything I could think of to distract me because I simply didn’t want to think about going to work in the morning.

Over my first days in my new job, I was smiling and polite (as you would), and some of my colleagues were joking and saying ‘this won’t last’. They were right. It didn’t. Progressively, I noticed the general feeling of resignation among my co-workers. I think most didn’t enjoy their job, or if they did they got into a habit of complaining about it. Either way, I didn’t like that culture. This same feeling of resignation quickly got to me. Suddenly, I was finding myself gasping for the weekend. The weeks were dragging on and the weekends went with the blink of an eye. In a short amount of time, the cheerful and polite new recruit had become a sour part of the team. It was also quite common to swear, and I was quick to adopt the habit.

The trigger for me starting to question why I was actually working there was after I swore at one of my subordinates who I thought was being rude. I said just that: ‘Don’t be fucking rude’ and an argument ensued. I went home that day thinking that I had had enough of the pushing around, the cunning and the rudeness. Above all, I thought to myself this wasn’t the sort of relationships I wanted at work.

Funny how the mind works, once you start realising something, it’s like opening the floodgates to more thoughts. I realised how stressed and unhappy I had been in the past weeks. The truth is what kept me going was the prospect of making good money. I sure was earning a nice wage for my age. I was often thinking: if I put up with this two more years I will be able to buy myself my dream car. But at what cost? How many more days would I have wasted doing something I dislike somewhere I despise?

As it is, I’m writing this on a Sunday night and I’m about to enter a new week jobless but happy. What I have come to realise is that you are not defined by your job, so not being successful in completing this grad scheme does not bother me. What truly defines us is our values, and if your job is at odds with your values then my advice would be to run away. There’ll be other jobs. Once you graduate you realise companies are as desperate to get young talented people than you are to get your first job. Regardless, you may find you hate your first job. Don’t let it get to you, your mental health should be your top priority. I would do it all over again though. Doing something I didn’t enjoy really helped me in coming up with a project of my own, and understanding what I really wanted to do with my time. Cos at the end of the day, a job is essentially you giving up a lot of your time for the benefits of someone else in exchange for money. So, make sure you make it count.”