Letters of the week

Honesty the key to keeping staff

• The article on the problems of graduates and their career progression (7
December) shows very little seems to have changed since I last had a
"proper" personnel job nearly 20 years ago.

Then we had difficulties in meeting graduate expectations. Progression was
never fast enough nor did it take into account their abilities, so they left –
and this was in a very hierarchical organisation where progression was always

The issue we found – and this is something that has been continually
reinforced by my subsequent careers in recruitment and outplacement – was
honesty. Very few managers seem prepared or able to be totally honest about an
individual’s capability, and very few individuals are able to be totally honest
about their ability or development needs. In the latter case it is almost as if
ambitions will not be met if they are honest about their weaknesses, when the
reverse is probably true.

HR approaches try to make appraisal or feedback systems more scientific and
to remove human frailty from them, but in the end we are dealing with people –
emotional, social animals who are prepared and able to avoid the truth and feel
comfortable with that.

Develop a method of giving honest feedback and realistic expectations may be
met. Those who cannot cope with honesty will leave anyway.

Leslie Simpson, Operations director JMPS

Mutual trust the order of the day

• Regarding the letter "Killer question on current pay" (7
December), I truly believe that mutual trust is the order of the day. Chris
Waymouth of Trans Euro Worldwide Movers can pose his question, "If we take
you on, I assume that your P45 will confirm this?" but to his detriment.

I do not believe any candidate having been asked such as question would
consider taking up his company’s offer of employment. I would take the view
that this company does not trust my integrity or honesty.

Whatever a company does decide in the end to pay must be the worth of the
job and be to the satisfaction of the candidate. Surely if price is the problem
the interviewer is within their right to say they cannot afford to pay what is
being ask and continue with further interviews.

Donna Poyser, BAHons Grad IPD Senior HR Officer Amec

I’d like to turn the tables on him

• I read with interest the letter by Chris Waymouth and his interview
technique (7 December). Candidates are already nervous at the prospect of being
interviewed and I am in no doubt that Chris likes to see them suffer even more,
as he appears to be some sort of sadist.

Imagine a young Chris filling out an application form or CV. He is faced
with the question of current salary. Does he be truthful and state that he
earns £8,000 per annum or does he say he earns £10,000 and try to negotiate a
better financial package? What would you do?

There cannot be anyone who does not overstate his or her current earnings
when starting out and I am sure Chris has done so at some stage during his
early career. Remember the saying, "Let he who is without sin cast the
first stone". I wonder if this applies to Mr Waymouth. I even admit to
doing so myself when trying to move up the HR carer ladder.

I hope I will find myself in position to interview Chris one day. I think I
would enjoy watching his body language, noting his blushing, nervous
swallowing, squirming in seat and listening to his fumbled explanations.

Marco D’Angelo Teddington

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