Two and a half weeks ago, I applied for all of the jobs at the Head Office of Argos in an attempt to find out how many blue pens get used in their stores every year.

I had originally emailed their customer service team to get the answer to this question, but was told this information is “business sensitive” and that it “is not disclosed to anyone outside of the company”. Faced with this, I clearly had no option other than to try to get inside the company and find out for myself.

Despite being warned that it would take up to two weeks to process my applications, the day after I applied for all eleven jobs, I received an email from Toni Weston. with the bad news that unfortunately, my application for the role of Reporting Analyst had been unsuccessful:

Dear James,

Thank you for your recent application for the position of Reporting Analyst in Milton Keynes.

The details of your application have been reviewed, but it is with regret that I write to inform you that on this occasion, you have been unsuccessful.

We hope that the decision made on this occasion will not deter you from applying for similar positions which may arise in the future.

Yours sincerely

Toni Weston
Resourcing Assistant

For more than two weeks after this, I didn’t hear a thing about any of the other roles, and perhaps naively, I took this as a positive sign.

Today, I got another email from Toni Weston, this time regarding my application for the Product Co-Ordinator role. The email was headed STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL, and said:

Dear James,

Thank you for your application to the recently advertised position of Product Co-ordinator .

Whilst impressed by your background and achievements to date, we have candidates whose skills and experience match the job profile more closely. However, we would like to retain your details on file should a more suitable vacancy arise in the future.

Thank you once again for the interest you have shown in the Company and may I take this opportunity to wish you every success in your search for a suitable career.

Yours sincerely,

Toni Weston
Resourcing Assistant

Of course, this is something of a blow, but I should remain hopeful. Compare the wording of the two emails. In the latest email, Toni specifically states that the Resourcing Team were “impressed” by my “background and achievements to date”, it’s just that I didn’t quite match the profile required for this particular role. And she says that they are going to keep my details on file. It can only be a matter of time before a job comes up and Toni turns to her colleagues and says “Guys, you know who would be perfect for this job?” and then her colleagues, in unison, reply “James Ward” and Toni smiles and says “Got it in one”. At this point, they might all high-five each other. I’m not sure. I don’t work there yet, so I don’t know what sort of company culture is in place.

I’m slowly getting closer.

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