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Graduate, 22, turns down job offer after tech boss ‘treated her like her abusive ex’

Olivia Bland tweeted about her experience in a ‘brutal’ job interview

A graduate refused a job offer before posting a withering response to her interviewer, claiming he reduced her to tears and ‘treated her like her abusive ex.’

Olivia Bland applied for a job as a communications assistant at the travel software company Web Applications UK, based in Oldham, Manchester.

But the 22-year-old claims she was left ‘crying at a bus stop’ after CEO Craig Dean branded her an ‘underachiever’ and attempted to ‘assert his authority over her’ in the ‘brutal’ two-hour interview. 

She claimed Mr Dean, ‘wanted to belittle me and wanted to show his authority and his power’ during the interview process’.  

Ms Bland said the interview started in an ‘utterly bizarre’ fashion in which Mr Dean picked on her music tastes before revealing he was scrolling through her Spotify account while they talked.

He then asked ‘a lot of personal questions’, she said, before ‘tearing apart, line by line’ everything she had submitted in the written part of the application process.

Despite being offered the job, the graduate turned the position down via email before posting a response on Twitter. 

She wrote: ‘Nobody should come out of a job interview feeling so upset that they cry at the bus stop.

‘There is something very off to me about a man who tries his best to intimidate and assert power over a young woman.

‘And who continues to push even when he can see that he’s making somebody uncomfortable to the point of tears.’ 

CEO Craig Dean (pictured) apologised to Ms Bland over Twitter

CEO Craig Dean (pictured) apologised to Ms Bland over Twitter

The 22-year-old graduate turned the position down via email before posting a response on Twitter

The 22-year-old graduate turned the position down via email before posting a response on Twitter

Ms Bland graduated from Southampton Solent University last year with a First Class BA Honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. 

Mr Dean subsequently posted an apology on Twitter, writing: ‘I am so sorry that anyone has been hurt, it is never my intent.

‘I have sat watching the messages pouring in all night and humbly submit this sleep-deprived and anxiety-driven message.’

Ms Bland compared the CEO to her 'abusive ex'

Ms Bland compared the CEO to her ‘abusive ex’

Ms Bland dismissed it as a ‘non-apology’ that, ‘makes it all about him’.

The 22-year-old, from Manchester, added: ‘I have just moved back home to Manchester from Brighton after escaping a year and a half long abusive relationship.

‘The two hours I spent in that room with Craig Dean yesterday felt me like being sat in a room with my abusive ex.

‘It was two hours of being told I’m not good enough and detailing exactly why.’

She said: ‘Later in the interview he asked me: ‘How do you think it went?’

‘He said ‘I’ll tell you how it went’ and listed off everything bad he thought I did in the interview.

‘He told me everything I did was wrong, everything I said, the way I sat, my body language, everything that he could do to attack me.’ 

After declining the job offer, Ms Bland told the company on Twitter: ‘You may have free juice and yoga on Mondays. 

‘But you certainly don’t have any respect for you potential employees. Your CEO should be ashamed of himself.’ 

Ms Bland graduated from Southampton Solent University last year with a First Class BA Honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing

Ms Bland graduated from Southampton Solent University last year with a First Class BA Honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing

Ms Bland applied from a job as a communications assistant and the interview took place on Monday. 

Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC 5 Live show this morning she added: ‘I just felt very under attack. There was a lot of intimidating questions.

‘My writing was being ripped apart. My character was being ripped apart.

‘I was called an underachiever. My writing, he went line-by-line and told me everything that was wrong with it.

‘Everything that was wrong with the way that I was sitting, the way I was talking. He commented on the way I held my arms, my body, the way I came across.

‘He asked a few questions initially. Very personal questions. He asked me, “how was your childhood? Are your parents still together?”

‘Things I wouldn’t necessarily think as relevant for the job interview. 

‘He had two women to come in and watch the interview who weren’t part of it, they weren’t contributing.

‘I just feel like I was being put up to be humiliated. I had one to the side of me and one behind.

‘At the time I was quite upset and felt like I didn’t have the right to say anything.

‘But after they offered me the job, I sort of realised this isn’t okay, this isn’t a company I want to work for and it doesn’t make me feel comfortable.

‘So the following day, I declined the offer and obviously described my reasons why.

‘He’s given a public apology, I haven’t heard anything directly, but that’s fine by me. I’m not looking to attack the individual whatsoever.’

Asked by Victoria Derbyshire if she’d been branded a ‘snowflake,’ she replied: ‘I’ve had a few of those.

Ms Bland emailed the company back and declined the job offer, detailing her reasoning

Web Applications UK today said it had carried out an investigation and it is satisfied 'no bullying or intimidation' took place in the interview

Ms Bland emailed the company back and declined the job offer, detailing her reasoning 

‘I think it’s important for people to realise the difference between being over sensitive and just taking a stand and saying its not okay to be treated like this.

‘I can understand the value of constructive criticism, but there is a difference between criticism and just an attack.

‘It was very intimidating, it was very overwhelming. I was very close to (crying). I cried afterwards. I had a nice cry at the bus stop.’

Asked about being offered the job, she added: ‘That was the conflicting part about it. 

‘Because it makes you think, maybe it’s just a test, or maybe they are just doing it to sort of see how deal with things under pressure.

‘I can understand the reasons behind that interview technique but to that extend it was a bit far for me.’ 

Web Applications UK today said it had carried out an investigation and it was satisfied ‘no bullying or intimidation’ took place in the interview.

They said Olivia also accepted the job offer and then changed her mind.

Mr Dean subsequently posted an apology on Twitter, writing: 'I am so sorry that anyone has been hurt, it is never my intent'

Ms Bland dismissed his apology

Mr Dean (left) posted on Twitter, writing: ‘I am so sorry that anyone has been hurt, it is never my intent.’ But Ms Bland (right) dismissed his apology 

A statement read: ‘The Board of Directors at Web Applications UK is deeply concerned by the serious allegations made on social media following a recent job interview led by Chief Executive, Craig Dean.  

‘As always, Web Applications UK conducted a robust, multi-stage interview, which included simulating challenging, work-based scenarios, designed to help identify the best candidate for the role.

‘This particular candidate excelled during the interview and responded positively to the feedback.

‘We were delighted to offer her the position of Communications Assistant, by telephone, later that day. 

‘Regrettably, she subsequently changed her mind and declined our offer. In response to the allegations made, and following completion of our investigation, the Board is satisfied that no bullying or intimidation occurred.’

Ms Bland worked as a Junior Marketing and E-Commerce Executive from last August to December. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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