I know a few of you may be thinking 'woah there, that's a bloody lengthy blog post', but do stick around. After posting my experience of the Benefit cosmetics recruitment day a few weeks ago I got an overwhelming response and noticed that the page views for that post were almost more than anything I've ever received before, crazy times! A lot of you said that you were interested to see what the response from Benefit would be after I sent my complaint in, so here it is. I've edited the email into sections with quotation marks and have put my views on each part underneath in italics, this just makes it all a bit easier to read and understand.
"After speaking with our Area Manager, I do understand that the initial interviews were taken in a training room. Unfortunately space in Department stores can be limited, however we will take your feedback on board for future dates. I do appreciate that it may have been disappointing not to have received follow up questions regarding your blog events etc. Please rest assured that we would have been pleased to hear of this, however in order for Benefit as a company to be fair and consistent in our recruitment process, our Area Managers do have to follow a set of specific questions (more elaborate and detailed questions and discussion would take place later into the recruitment process)."
*I wasn't overly hurt by them not asking further questions about my blog at the time, but in all honesty if I was a brand and had a fairly well established blogger that had been to plenty of press events I'd see that as great potential and something to build on. The manager continuing to not ask any further questions about my blog or experience with Benefit for the rest of the four hours is their loss and not mine!
"In order to be invited to an audition, candidates need to score a certain level in this first stage interview. Candidates can often fail to reach this level, and so any candidates who were invited to audition in the afternoon would have indeed been shortlisted. It may have been that the calibre of candidates attending the morning session was particularly high however, resulting in a large number of those you had seen earlier being at the same audition in the afternoon. I can confirm from our Area Manager that 23 candidates attended the morning session, and 10 candidates were invited to the audition. The audition process is also a stage that any applicant needs to complete, from Beauty Consultant roles right up to Director level. It could therefore have been that other candidates attending were applying for a different, more junior role than you."
*I have no idea where this 23 number of candidates has come from. In reality, all of the girls I noticed in my group for the morning interviews then turned up in the afternoon too, no more and no less. There was also 12 girls who went back in the afternoon and certainly not 10, I know I sound a bit nit-picky but numbers really matter in processes like this and so does not lying about them to try and cover improper practice up. Although none of us had been asked what role we would like within the company, I was interested in a beauty consultant role as I'm pretty sure everyone else was too.
"Regarding the audition itself, I do understand your reservation regarding traffic stopping and sales. We recognise that Benefit is very different to many other Beauty brands, and have a very large focus within the Business on this element - this is therefore reflected in the recruitment process, with a large weighting to the overall score and a certain level that candidates need to reach to successfully pass. Please rest assured that any sales made from auditions are purely coincidental. Regarding your point that the Store had a lower footfall, each store is chosen and assessed before auditions are booked in to make sure the footfall is at a suitable level to ensure consistency throughout the UK. Should the footfall change on the day however, our Area Managers are trained to adjust traffic stopping numbers accordingly. On the particular day of your audition, our Area Manager did not feel that this needed to be adjusted, with several of the other candidates on the day did successfully reaching the required criteria for traffic stopping."
*All I can say to this point is, an empty Debenhams is an empty Debenhams. They can try and wash over it all they like but the place was a ghost town. The telltale sign of an empty store is when the older retired ladies like to do their shopping as they know it will be nice and quiet.
"At the beginning of each audition we do inform candidates that if they feel at any point that they are not enjoying themselves or feel an element is not for them, then we would respect their decision if they wanted to leave. Similarly, our recruitment team will be honest and inform candidates if they are struggling and feel it is best to suspend their audition. It was therefore with the best intention that our Area Manager brought your audition to an end. The decision and any feedback should have been given to you in a quiet place on the shop floor away from others– my apologies if this was not the case. Our Area Manager does dispute that the wording you mentioned did occur, however we regret if anything she said was misconstrued and we will take this on board however."
*Their use of the word 'misconstrued' really irritates me. There was nothing to misconstrue, I simply was not best pleased at being told in front of the elevators and in what took less than 30 seconds that I had not got the job. Being told that the 'manager disputes the wording that you mentioned' annoys me too, this just basically a polite way of calling me a liar. It seems clear that the only reason I was told to leave the process was due to not making up enough numbers of clients that afternoon.
"Our Area Manager and another team member were assessing on the day, and did follow the appropriate guidelines on the number of auditionees per assessor. Although we do try and ensure there are adequate numbers of tester products for each candidate to her their own, I do understand these were shared between 2 candidates, which can happen with our Beauty Consultants on counter when some products are out of stock. We will try and ensure this does not happen again however."
*Yet again, Benefit are taking no responsibility for any wrongdoings on the day and are making it very clear that in fact this is their correct recruitment process and it has been followed properly. I also find it shocking that candidates having the unfair disadvantage of having to share products whilst trying to complete a makeover should ever be allowed to happen.
"Again I would like to thank you for the time and effort you spent attending our audition, this is appreciated, as well as the time taken to inform us of your feedback. Should you wish to re-apply again in 6 months time, we would be happy to consider your application."
*Not quite sure as to wether this part has come from a computer or a person.
I do appreciate them taking the time to investigate the matter and to get back to me but feel let down that the email has a computerised and impersonal feel to it, it definitely shows another side to Benefit and all of the jolly emails that I've exchanged with the PR girls. All I've really gathered from their response is them trying to justify and cover up what went on that day rather than properly admit any real wrongdoings. I've been left feeling, again, that me not getting enough clients was the problem here and not their dodgy recruitment process. My advice, ladies, is to buy your Benefit mascara online from now on and don't invest your time into their silly sales tactics.