• Michelle Partington

“We don’t think you hold enough experience..”

Scenario – So, as I couldn’t take the job at Wigan Council I wanted to find a job that would suit my current situation. Money is not a factor for any specific job, more the environment and role. On 1st Sept I forwarded my CV to a medical practice to be considered for a role within the practice local to where I live. I receive a telephone call that same day inviting me to attend an interview on 3rd Sept which I duly did.

Arrived at the medical centre ahead of schedule, introduced myself then took a seat. Something takes my eye on the floor and when I look down it is a £5 note. I nudge the lady sat in one of the seats nearest it and asked if she had dropped it. She hadn’t so I handed it in at reception. That could have been someone’s last fiver….

So I was called in for interview and was lead into a doctor’s surgery. Two people ‘interviewed’ me, an area manager and the girl I would be replacing if successful. After the polite introductions it was straight down to what turned out to be more of a chat! I was informed the building hosted 2 practices and also informed of how wide spread their practices where. Following this, the first question directed to me was “Talk me through your CV”….. erm, it’s 2 pages long, it has my contact details at….. See where I’m going with this.

Me being the sensible person I am (I know, it was difficult) I mentioned the elements of my CV I thought relevant to the role applied for. I spoke about my years of experience in emergency and primary health care. I talked about the various levels of responsibility I had within each field as well as an example of roles within each category. I was then asked about my charity work which I duly spoke about. I obviously had to mention ‘the PTSD thing’ which slid passed without further comment. My initial thought was that perhaps it didn’t matter. How wrong was I…..

I think one more question was asked but then that was it. No questions on the expectations of the role etc, just…. “do you have any questions for us….”. I was in there for 6 minutes!!!! I’m not kidding, the shortest ‘interview’ on record. I left there completely bemused and all I could do on the way back is just laugh!! I was informed I would find out that day if I had been successful….

Phone rings and I pick it up. I think it was just over an hour but not much longer than that. “Thank you for coming in today, it was a pleasure to interview you but I’m afraid we won’t be taking you on at this time. Some feedback for you; the people we interviewed before you had much more experience. You came across really confidently and I think your charity work is amazing. We just felt you didn’t have enough experience. We would like to keep your CV on record though if that’s ok?”.

For some reason I started laughing but then managed to compose myself. I was going to leave it at that but then I was intrigued. I decided to ask why they thought I didn’t have enough experience having spent a whole career in the RAF Medical Services. Apparently “it’s not all about sitting on the reception desk, sometimes you have to go into the back office and maybe draft a hospital referral….”. Also “the other applicants new more, they knew about KPI’S and our targets….”. I was absolutely gobsmacked by this response. This was my bread and butter in the RAF so if I didn’t know that then I hadn’t learnt anything. Apart from that, I was never asked anything about the practice. Wasn’t asked anything about KPI’S or practice targets, or in fact any other questions of that nature. My reply to that statement was just that! I stated that if I’d been asked I could have told them that in my experience Key Performance Indicator’s (KPI’s) are a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving their objectives. They are used to evaluate the medical practices success at reaching their targets. I could have told them all about the roles and responsibilities expected of the successful candidate and even about their practice footprint….etc, etc, etc..

I could have gone on but it just wasn’t worth it. The mere fact I was only in for a few minutes and that I was never asked about the service the practice offers or any other questions, tells me they had no intention of hiring me; especially after I dropped the PTSD bomb!!! It really disappoints me that companies in this day and age don’t accept that just because you have a mental illness doesn’t mean you cannot function. It is especially disappointing that it is the medical profession who are discriminating on this occasion. Stigma has not gone away…..

I have been looking for a part time job that will keep me occupied in between others committments. It has been commented on that I’m not setting my sites high enough with the experience I have behind me. To be fair I want a job that creates very little stress because I don’t want to trigger any further symptoms now that I’m on the better side of things. I want something that will compliment my study and charity work. I cannot believe that my PTSD diagnosis is going to hold me back from any employment. It’s disgusting… but what this does is convince me to continue to stand up to the stigma surrounding mental health.

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