Mechanical

BBC Fail

I know three programmers working at the BBC who were not offered jobs. At least originally. First, you search for a job. Then you answer a bunch of questions and you then have to register to apply. Then you then have to fill out an online application and click submit. You can't send a CV and you can't talk to anyone. The result? The three programmers I mentioned who were not offered jobs were all rejected by this Web process (I was sent a stock email informing me that I wasn't qualified), but all three of these programmers now work for the BBC because they found someone in IT who could forward their CV. The people who actually know about the jobs were very interested in the candidates in question, but the Web forms guarantee that many qualified candidates can't get pass the submit button.

Why, oh why, would you want to go through this pain? If the companies argued that it restricted the CVs to serious applicants, I could almost agree, but the fact that strong candidates are being rejected by this process is a frustration.

Similarly, I know someone who was trying to apply for a job with Islington Council and their application process was, in short, pathetic. CVs were not allowed. Instead, you have to jump through their hoops and answer a bunch of ambiguous questions which do nothing to judge whether a candidate is qualified beyond their ability to jump through hoops. Unless a candidate is dramatically unqualified, you can't judge a person's mettle without meeting them.

I told this person not to apply for that job. Any company which is so silly as to not recognize this idiocy is clearly not a company you want to work for. Then I remembered that the BBC does the same thing.

The BBC is a great place to work, but they often complain about a shortage of qualified applicants. I wonder why.

Not quite a BBC fail
Actually, it's a Capita fail. They run the appalling website, the dreadful HR teams, the shoddy and unpleasant 'new employee' process... etc.

Tellingly, the Captcha underneath is asking for two words: "concerning", and "lamest".
Re: Not quite a BBC fail

And that would make it a BBC fail because they continue to go with this awful, awful process.

Kind of like how the BBC had the absolutely genius idea that they would only work with one recruiting firm. That firm has royally messed over one of my colleagues (they failed to pay him for so long that he got behind in his rent), but this colleague knows that if he wants to keep working for Auntie Beeb, he has no choice but to work with through this firm. Thus, they can treat their employees any way they care to (and have) and there's no recourse on the part of contractors.

Re: Not quite a BBC fail

Actually, it just occurred to me that this entire thing is rather symptomatic of a wider BBC problem: passing the buck. When one of our technology heads gave a talk explaining that individual teams needed to take more direct responsibility for directing their projects rather than waiting passively for requests, I thought it was brilliant, but most developers said he didn't understand the BBC culture and it wouldn't work. That was terribly disheartening. These are a bunch of very intelligent and talented individuals who nonetheless are being institutionalized.

Another example was the annual "review" I received. I heard a lot of nice things about my work, but I specifically asked for areas that I needed to improve on and was told "we're instructed not to give negative feedback in reviews." That's not a review, that's an ego stroke. I had to ask again for areas of improvement because I want to be the best I can be, but this doesn't seem to be encouraged (witness the fact that my pay rises are not tied to performance and thus provide no incentive).

It's frustrating loving what I do and being so proud of the organization I work for, yet watching them grind themselves down in a culture which often stifles individual initiative and hopes that a top-down strategy is enough to make things work. At the same time, I see individuals following personal projects outside of the corporate structure and getting accolades from the same culture which is trying to tailor a "one size fits all suit" for much of the organization. There's huge potential, but the corporate inertia (much of which is regrettably required in a corporation our size) stifles much of that.

Re: Not quite a BBC fail
Erm... I'm a manager (in a totally seperate department) and you are allowed to give *quantified* negative feedback, ie areas that people can improve on.

Sounds like your boss needs to go on the HR For Non-HR Managers course... it's very very handy.
Re: Not quite a BBC fail
Does BBC permit you to negotiate your salary? If not, something tells me it isn't keeping up with your market value, which should have been increasing around 7-10% per year, during the first decade of your career.

In my field, these market forces give a person the incentive to change employers every few years.

Just a thought. Money isn't everything, but it matters.

Plus, the money represents something else, on a deeper layer: the value of the position, and amount of responsibility you have. Those things matter in ways that money doesn't--such as determining what types of new skills you're in position to learn.
Re: Not quite a BBC fail
The BBC allowed me to negotiate my salary when I started, so I'm not unhappy with my salary per se. I'm making a fair amount. But now my salary rise is entirely dependent on negotiation that some faceless, unknown person took part in. I have no control over it.
a matter of degree
Three decades ago when Dick Bolles published the first edition of What Color is Your Parachute? he remarked that the formal hiring process and HR organizations were dysfunctional. He noted way back then that hiring managers lamented that they couldn't get good candidates. It's only gotten worse with the advent of online applications, which serve more as a filter than as a net.
It feels like the BBC don't want to hire you
Firstly they never ever state a salary range, only ever providing internal Pay Grades that you have to search the internet for old copies of, or (as I did) email HR demanding they provide them.

Secondly the inane application process doesn't work for hiring anybody for a job more senior than cleaning floors or making tea - I looked at applying for a job, but decided it really wasn't worth wasting the time and effort to go through such a pointless set of hoops.
Interesting Post
found you after a random search, thought I might add you.

Feel free to add back or not add back as you wish.