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Blog : Reading the instructions…a good place to begin!


Reading the instructions…a good place to begin!

Communications Manager Jodi Goldman discusses how missing out on one of the most important parts of an application can come at a cost.

Once, while still at school, my classmates and I were tested on our ability to read the instructions. We were given a page of questions, e.g. write a paragraph on your hobbies, as well as various tasks and activities. Take off your shoes, go stand at the front of the room and so on. However, right at the very beginning (as with all exam papers), there was a set of instructions…

Instruction 1: Write your name on the top of the page.

Instruction 2: Do not complete any of the questions below.

At the age of 13, those of us left standing shoeless at the front of the room learnt an amusing lesson in the importance of reading the instructions. Amusing that is for all the people who actually read the instructions and were still sitting down!

Now here I am, in my thirties, reflecting on that very valuable lesson. Recently, and once again, I didn’t read some instructions particularly carefully…and found myself at Olympia instead of ExCeL exhibition centre.

Hopefully you will be a little forgiving. It’s not that silly to assume that the HotelOlympia event would be held at Olympia! But had I read the fine print on the ticket this year’s change of venue would have been clear. This was a harmless mistake and thankfully, it didn’t really result in any damage…apart from to my ego, still scarred by my instruction-ignoring experience as a child. But reading the instructions is a basic, crucial, and often overlooked area of working life that one forgets at one’s peril.

As Sally blogged last week, we are currently looking for a new Business Development Manager - her replacement in the purple palace. As with every single position we have ever recruited for (at both learnpurple and talent toolbox) there is an application process. At the end of the advertisement, it clearly states: ‘send ten bullet points as to why you are perfect for the role and a one page CV.”

We have received many applications. The majority have not included ten bullet points, as requested, and many have included CVs with four or more pages.

We won’t be meeting any of these people.

If they can’t apply in the correct way, how can we trust that they will listen to the specific needs or instructions of our clients? It’s a shame because there will be occasions when we might miss out on some great people. But this first step is there for a reason.

It’s so that we can immediately gauge an applicant’s level of attention to detail and find out why they feel they are right for the role. This way we can quickly get an idea of their expectations, and see if they understand the role and our culture. Also, we can get a sense of their individual personality, which is every bit as important – if not more so – than their work history etc.

I might have gone to Olympia by accident, and I might have taken my shoes off and stood at the front of the class when I was 13…but when I applied to work at learnpurple, I followed the instructions carefully and I can still see my top ten points I wrote almost five years ago.

Great opportunities don’t come along all the time and with the recession still biting, and jobs a precious commodity, reading the instructions is more important than ever.

Click here to view Sally’s blog and the full details of this position.

Have you had any experiences of instructions being vital in different areas at work?

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