Posted by / Category London, Stereotypes /

It has just happened again. I didn’t get a position I had applied for. I am feeling, once again, like a complete failure. That said, I must admit that Brits are very polite. At all times and in all circumstances. They will always try to make it easier for you by sugarcoating their responses instead of simply saying ‘No’ or ‘you are not in’. I thought that I should copy you the email I got to prove my point. Here we go:

” Dear Muriel [They like to personnalise things. I am pretty sure that they sent the same letter to everybody, right?]
Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.  We received a very large level of response and interest on this project and wanted to ensure that we considered all applications carefully. [Yeah right. It’s been 8 weeks. How were the hols? Did you get away for half-term? What a bunch of lazy lumps!]

The fact that we have had such high levels of interest has also meant that we have been able to identify individuals who exactly meet the brief. [Which means I didn’t, right? So why exactly? Could you please spare me the waffle for once?]
Whilst your background and experience is interesting and in many ways relevant, we have decided not to progress your application [The fact that everybody must receive the same latter makes my French blood boil. What a bunch of hypocrites! Why can’t they say what was wrong with my application?]
I’m sorry that we are unable to progress this further but if you are agreeable, we are happy to keep you on our radar for other searches that we are mandated on.  We shall assume that this is acceptable unless you tell us otherwise and of course, we will be in contact with you to discuss this first if any of the opportunities seem appropriate.[But of course. That said, why do I have the feeling that they will never come back to me? Oh wait! Because every time I received such a letter, I was never ever contacted again. Not once. Been there. Done it.]
I hope that we can communicate about something else in due course. [Who said something like ‘promises are like pie crusts, they are made to be broken?]
Thanks Muriel.[How tactful! They use my first name. Again. Why do I have the feeling that they didn’t even look at my CV?]
Kind regards

What can I say? Well, I am upset. I honestly believe that the British are just trying to be nice. They are genuinely trying to soften the shock of the rejection.

That said, does it make it easier to be rejected politely?

Simply put: no, it doesn’t. I think that I would prefer an honest explanation of why I didn’t get what I wanted, with quantified justification (it must be a French thing, I love numbers…).

Seriously, why are they so polite? Why do I hate it? Why is it so difficult to say “No”. I don’t understand. I just don’t get it. And why didn’t I get the job? Please, just say no, because rejection should be like taking off a BandAid: to the point and quick.

Having said this, I badly need to learn to be polite too, because Brits are so sensitive that if someone tells them what they really think of them they have to go and have a little weep hidden in a corner…They need the sugar-coating. Are they wimps? I sometimes wonder.

As for jobs, well, I suppose I will have to continue to look for something I like. Oh, and there are some news: my book, Le Guide Officiel To being British, can be pre-ordered on Amazon here: Yep, you read this right. It will be released on the 20st of June. Wish me luck!

cover ok
  • Jacqueline

    I venture to guess it’s your disappointment and hurt behind the anger. As a lawyer, I can tell you that given the various causes of action possible if they said something damaging, the safer way is to say others were more qualified. And in fact, they may actually have been more qualified. The no. of applicants for one position is staggering. At least you got a response. So many times, the applicant hears absolutely nothing.
    I am sorry that this didn’t turn out but one day something will and you might say at that point, I’m glad I was free to pursue it.
    Bonne chance

  • James Casserly Omaexlibris

    I agree, a constructive letter showing where you didn’t meet their requirements would be more helpful. Unfortunately they would have to properly read your cv etc. It’s HR just farming out pro forma letters and adding your name. Personally, I would be more annoyed at the familiar use of my given name by a faceless entity who does not know me. Also, you were lucky in that you actually received a reply. You would be amazed how many companies/employers never even respond to an application.

  • disqus_72GXGq6drQ

    Politeness, I think make things worse in some respect especially when it is a job which you really would like!

  • Lynn Zubir

    We’re in the same boat! Got a rejection text on my phone two weeks ago to which I replied enquiring as to what I was lacking in that I missed the opportunity. It’s been all silent since, which left me fuming in the beginning. I think I must be French inside. :D.

    All the best, Muriel, both with the job application and the book (though I’m pretty sure none is needed for the latter).

  • disqus_72GXGq6drQ

    Also, the only person these days you can get to sack anyone is the new young manager! The older ones tend to avoid it these days!

  • geekgrrl57

    that is seriously some of the absolute worst English I have ever read! (Their rejection letter, not your post!) Horrible!