Tesco recruitment process angers local community
Members of the local community have expressed their anger and frustration with the Tesco recruitment process for its new Newry store.
After last week’s announcement by the Department of Employment and Learning that over 200 new jobs will be created when the new store opens on 6th June 2013, Newry Times was inundated with calls and emails from disgruntled locals who claimed the recruitment process was inadequate and unfair.
Joanne Quinn from Newry applied for one of the 200 jobs. She stated, “I got a no not even 24 hours after I had completed the application, I also know of a few others. What sort of people are they looking to employ?”
Keith Ruddy, another who applied for one of the jobs, spoke about his experience of the recruitment process, which he described as ‘pointless’.
Keith stated, “They held what they call a “recruitment” day in the Canal Court today, and the HR manager of Tesco gave information on the company and interview techniques, even though there was no way of applying in that session. Absolutely pointless!”
Paula McDonald spoke of the depth of despair amongst local people who were hoping to secure employment with the retail giants.
She stated, “I know at least 5 people who got the rejection email and are utterly gutted and disappointed as the prospect of a large supermarket chain coming to Newry and the promise of so many jobs kept everyone’s spirits up in this huge economic decline.
She added, “Did anyone actually get an interview? Rather cynically I think have all these jobs already been earmarked for people.”
Newry man Colin Hanna also questioned the efficiency of the recruitment process. He commented, “Just a thought, does anyone personally know anybody that made it as far as an interview? I know of loads of people who applied – every one of them got the ‘Dear John’ e-mail.
“Given the caliber and experience of many of the applicants known to me, I’m curious as to what selection criteria (other than a list of names and a pin) they applied.
“I’m also wondering after all the fanfare how many new jobs will actually have been created in the Newry store after the staff transfers e.g. from Kilkeel and Banbridge have been taken into account.
Colin added, “For me personally the good vibe has well and truly gone from this project, what should have been a welcome boost to start addressing our truly shocking youth unemployment seems to have turned into heartbreak for many.”
Newry Times contacted Tesco directly and asked them a number of questions regarding the recruitment process. The questions we put to them included; ‘How many managers and workers from outside Newry in other Tesco stores are being brought in to the Newry store?’
We also asked Tesco how many of the 200 jobs mentioned for Newry will be recruited from the local community and whether the 200 jobs will be part time or full times jobs.
Newry Times also explained to Tesco that applicants with degrees and years of retail experience were being rejected for jobs less than 24 hours after applying but Tesco did not answer any of our questions, despite being given more than 24 hours to go on record and explain the recruitment process.
Instead of answering any of our questions, a Tesco spokesperson stated, “We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to create 200 new jobs for Newry. We’ve had an overwhelming response, with more than 2,500 applications so far.
“We recruit based on a number of factors, including qualifications, experience and personal attributes such as teamwork and customer focus, and we’re really sorry that we won’t be able to offer interviews to everyone who applies.”
SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley spoke about the issue of jobs displacement and his own anger with the recruitment process. “Everyone will welcome new jobs to the area, especially if they help local people get back into employment.
“But we also have to consider the issue of displacement where local jobs are lost and there is no real gain to the locality. I urge people to give their fullest support to the Buy Local campaign which will help ensure that local businesses and jobs survive within the area.
Bradley added, “I have contacted Tesco and expressed my anger about the experience which some people are having with applications for these jobs. I am awaiting a response from them on the issue.”
Sinn Fein MLA Mickey Brady also commented. He stated, “Anecdotal reports suggest that a very small number of local people have been successful following Tesco’s recent recruitment initiative. I am extremely interested to know just how many of the mooted 200 jobs have gone to local applicants.
Brady added, “Tesco should be in a position to provide this information very quickly in order to clarify the situation. I can understand the frustration of applicants who feel they fulfil all the necessary criteria only to be rejected less than 24 hours later.”
The concern over the recruitment process is just the latest in a long line of issues highlighted recently over the new store, due to open on the Belfast Road.
Last week, Newry Times reported how local political representatives and business people said they were skeptical about the claim of 200 new jobs for Newry. Ultimately, they believed that small businesses would suffer most from the new store.
Traders in Hill Street and Monaghan Street insisted that the addition of 200 jobs in the Tesco store will mean further job losses for smaller businesses in the city centre.
Jack Murphy, Director of Jack Murphy Jewellers in Hill Street, said last week, “Traders have worked hard to build a strong city centre and in the past have successfully lobbied and stopped the creation of out of town shopping centres, so how is Tesco any different? Tesco has been thrust on to Newry!”
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