Woman says she turned down a job after boss 'reminds her of abusive ex' in interview
A graduate has revealed that she turned down a job opportunity because the boss made her feel like she was back with her abusive ex-partner during her interview.
22-year-old Olivia Bland took to Twitter to blast CEO Craig Dean, of Web Applications UK, accusing him of trying to intimidate her and making her cry. After receiving an email telling her that she had got the position, Olivia replied:
"I would like to thank you for the offer, but I have decided to decline. The interview process yesterday was very uncomfortable for me. I understand the impact that Craig was trying to have, but nobody should come out of a job interview feeling so upset that they cry at the bus stop. I'm very aware of what Craig was trying to do, and what he was trying to get out of me. I'm also aware that by sending this email, I am failing his tests and proving that I am not the right fit for his company."
"There is something very off to me about a man that tries his best to intimidate and assert power over a young woman, and who continues to push even when he can see that he is making somebody uncomfortable to the point of tears. I also think that he's very strategic in placing other people in the interview room, who have no part in the interview process, just to heighten the feeling of power he gets over someone else's humiliation."
Olivia then added that her interview with Dean made her feel the way she did when she was in an abusive relationship, saying:
"I have just moved back home to Manchester from Brighton after escaping a year and a half long abusive relationship. The two hours I spent in that room with Craig Dean yesterday felt like being sat in a room with my abusive ex - it was two hours of being told I'm not good enough and detailing exactly why."
She finished her scathing reply by saying:
"I would also like to make it known that there are a number of reviews about your company and Craig online, all saying very similar things to me. I'm sure that this isn't the first email of this nature that you've received, so you're probably already aware. I'm also sure that this won't be the last."
Olivia's claims about Web Applications UK and its CEO Craig Dean have garnered a lot of attention online, gaining over 100,000 likes and 30,000 retweets. Twitter users have shared an outpouring of support for the 22-year-old, with many praising her courage to come forward and speak out. One user wrote: "I don't think that I've ever read something so powerful and brave. You didn't just stand up for yourself but for so many others too. Thank you!"
Another related to Olivia's story, saying: "Having been in this position multiple times but unable to do what you just did here, I feel so thankful to see an example of how to handle a situation like this. Thank you! We need more vulnerability and kindness in this world."
The Board of Directors for Web Applications UK has issued a statement on their official website regarding Olivia's complaints, writing:
"The Board of Directors at Web Applications UK is deeply concerned by the serious allegations made on social media following a recent job interview led by Chief Executive, Craig Dean. The Board strongly condemns any form of bullying or intimidation. In response to the allegations, the Directors have carried out an internal investigation, independent from Craig Dean, including interviewing all employees who were directly involved in the recruitment process."
The statement continues:
"In response to the allegations made, and following completion of our investigation, the Board is satisfied that no bullying or intimidation occurred. Nonetheless, the Directors are extremely saddened by this incident and the impact that this has had on the individual concerned, particularly as we are a company that takes great pride in nurturing the aspirations of young people. We will take this opportunity to reflect carefully on our recruitment process and HR policies. Web Applications UK remains committed to employee development and having a positive impact in our community, both of which are core elements of our company ethos."
Craig Dean has also responded to the allegations on his personal Twitter, though not directly to Olivia, who told the CEO to "not bother" contacting her. Dean posted on Twitter:
Olivia was not impressed by either of the responses, replying to Dean: "Your apology is acknowledged but it is also driven by your own pain for yourself. You told me in my interview that people have walked out and cried when you've interviewed them so I don't know why you're acting surprised for being called out. You know what you've done to people."
In response to Web Application UK's statement, Olivia said: "Excuse me @WebAppUK but this isn't good enough. I haven't even received a direct apology from your company. Fix up."
Hopefully, Olivia's actions will help in reducing more instances like this from happening - it is clear from the massive response that she is not alone.