Friday, 4 September 2009

How not to manage a recruitment campaign

For a classic HR case study in how not to manage a recruitment campaign, look no further than the Dorset Police Force. The force is seeking to fill 40 roles, and had invited candidates to phone in for an application pack, but after an unprecedented 500 phone calls had been received, the force closed down the phone lines. One of those who didn't manage to get hold of an application form had been on the line for two hours and compared the experience to applying for tickets to Glastonbury. The Dorset Police Federation have criticised the treatment of potential recruits, but have also welcomed the review of recruitment procedures that the force has promised. "This was an appalling way to treat people and does not ensure the force gets the best people for the jobs" said a Federation spokesman.

BBC News: Police officer jobs block phones
  • Should the Dorset Police Force have anticipated a higher demand for applications for these 40 positions?
  • Describe what you would consider to be a fairer way of attracting applications for these positions?
  • What criticisms can be made of requiring applicants to phone in for an application pack?
  • A Dorset Police spokesman said: "As is the common practice, we limited the number of applications to 500 for practical and economic reasons" Do you think that this is reasonable?


  1. Graham, you may wish to contact Dorset Police to establish the full facts in relation to this case. The press cutting that you have used doesn't give the overall picture and therefore lacks balance. For example, the phone lines were not closed down after 500 calls, we actually recieved thousands of calls, the figure of 500 represents the number of applications that we were prepared to take in relation to the 40 jobs on offer.

  2. Graham: Really appreciate your comment, so many thanks for that. Guess that's one of the problems of "borrowing" information from other news providers. Is there an online statement anywhere that gives the other side to the story? If there is, do let me know and I'll publish it on here to restore the balance. Incidentally, did you also put the BBC in the picture concerning the situation? Thanks again.