This month’s letters

Who calls the shots?

I was recently involved in an interview process with a company that was
recruiting occupational health advisers.

After an initial interview, a written exercise, teamwork activities and a
medical, I was instructed to have a discussion with the group human resources

This, I thought, would be an opportunity to ask about issues such as
employment benefits, conditions and requirements. Instead, I was interviewed
again – by human resources. One of the questions was: "How would you
handle a malingerer?"

My shock and confusion at being asked this is still with me. Does the final
decision on whether to offer a place of employment lie with the human resources
department? Do we need to have a business qualification?

I have found this hard to comprehend. Is it the case that instead of working
hard towards occupational health degrees and diplomas it would be more
beneficial to do a business degree, perhaps doing a dissertation on explaining
the management of malingerers?

Name and address withheld

Good manners are not dead

In reply to the letter asking "Are bad manners the norm?" (OH
August), from an OH nurse who waited four weeks to find out whether they would
be offered a job, I would like to comment on the processes we have in place.

We telephone the successful candidate and as soon as they have accepted the
post I personally call the unsuccessful applicants and give them the
opportunity to get feedback from the interview process.

I believe this is a useful exercise, not only because is it courteous to
notify people as soon as possible, but because the feedback helps unsuccessful
candidates prepare for future interviews.

I also feel that if unsuccessful candidates are notified in this manner, and
the preferred candidate eventually turns down the post, then there is still an
opportunity to contact the runner-up.

One final point: I would have thought that the unfortunate author of the
letter should have received travel expenses.

Jane Aston
Senior occupational health adviser, Sandwell Healthcare NHS Trust

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