On The Guardian: Currys interviewee told “never mind radios – show us your robot dance”

The appalling treatment of graduates continues! The Guardian‘s Hilary Osborne reports with suitable disapproval the humiliating grad scheme interview in which Alan Bacon (and other interviewees) were asked to DANCE for the panel of interviewers. Stay classy, Currys.

Alan Bacon

He had ironed his shirt, brushed up on his CV and done his homework on the company, but as graduate Alan Bacon prepared for an interview at a south Wales branch of Currys he didn’t think to practise his dance moves.

Bacon, who describes himself as a “terrible dancer”, was to have a shock when he turned up at the recruitment day on Tuesday – instead of being quizzed on his knowledge of scart leads and extended warranties, he found himself throwing shapes in front of a group of strangers.

It was a situation he found as humiliating as it was surprising, and one that Currys has now said was out of tune with official policy. “I spent the whole week researching the company, reading about the new things they were selling – I would like to work with cameras and I was keen to get the job,” Bacon said. “They told us there would be five minutes to talk about our hobbies, and I like astronomy so I had spent some money printing off some pictures I had taken through my telescope.”

But in scenes reminiscent of BBC sitcom The Office, the manager running the session was more interested in candidates’ performance on the dance floor than the shop floor. “There were nine other people at the day and after short introductions we were shown a clip of two people dancing, and they said ‘guess what we’re going to ask you to do’ – the guy next to me asked if it was joke, and we all thought it must be.”

Sadly for Bacon, it wasn’t, and after reasoning that he had little choice if he wanted to land a job in the back-office of the store, he found himself “doing rubbish robotics” in the style of David Brent to Daft Punk’s Around the World.

“There was an older gentleman there who was telling us just before the interview that he was made redundant from his last job and had recently had a child so he was pretty desperate for this job and watching him having to dance to rap music …”

Bacon, who has applied for scores of jobs since he got his degree in documentary, film and TV from the University of South Wales in July, said the experience made it hard for him to perform at his best during the rest of the interview.

He didn’t get lucky with a job offer and after conversations with his mother and a friend he decided to go public about the unconventional recruitment process.

In a statement Currys said it was disappointed that one of the management team at the store in question had not followed its official recruitment processes. “We are investigating the store member who held the recruitment session. We are extremely sorry to those interviewees impacted; all are being asked to attend another interview where they will be given a proper opportunity to demonstrate how they can contribute to our business.”

Bacon said he would not be going back for a second interview and was still looking for a job. He has, however, received at least one offer of work – the Sun has promised a “handsome sum” if he will recreate the dance on film. At the time of speaking to the Guardian, he sounded unconvinced. – Hilary Osborne

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