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Tesco moves to reassure local jobseekers and defends recruitment process

April 8, 2013

By Christine Keighery

Supermarket giant Tesco has moved to alleviate local concerns about the nature of its recruitment process for posts in the brand new Newry store, due to open its doors on 6th June.

It would seem that the positive news of a significant jobs boost for the area has now given way to widespread cynicism, with public criticism being aired via social media and news forums in recent days regarding what some view as an arbitrary process of selection based on a basic questionnaire which does not detail employment or education history.  Many applicants have complained of already being rejected on the basis of the initial questionnaire, while others feel the sheer number of rejections being reported suggests a randomness to the selection process that means job seekers are missing out on a potential job without being properly assessed.

Despite the supermarket chain’s pledge to create 200 jobs in the town, scepticism about the actual numbers was also rife throughout social media comments, with some accusing Tesco of engineering a PR exercise when in reality, staff will be transferred from other branches in Kilkeel and Banbridge.

The Examiner contacted Tesco to discuss the claims being made and was assured by its spokesman that the entire recruitment process is genuine and the pledge to create 200 local jobs remains entirely true.  Whilst he admitted that managerial staff will be transferred to Newry, the spokesperson confirmed that 200 posts are to be filled in addition to these roles.

The Tesco representative also defended the company’s use of a questionnaire at the initial stage of application and advised that it was standard practice for large retailers to use a similar system when recruiting.  He added that it was a proven method of identifying attributes required for the positions and had led to high rates of staff retention throughout their branches.

With regard to city centre traders’ concerns about the potential negative impact the out-of-town store could have on the city centre, the Tesco source referred to a 2010 study by the University of Southampton which provides evidence that supermarkets built on the edge of town centres are shown to have an important role to play in helping maintain and enhance the vitality and viability of those centres, acting as a link to the main shopping district and driving more customers to businesses there.

The spokesperson also pointed to the huge number of applications for the Newry store.  With over 2,000 applications already received, he said it was inevitable that a large amount of those people would be disappointed.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to create 200 new jobs for Newry. We’ve had an overwhelming response, with more than 2,500 applications so far. We recruit based on a number of factors, including qualifications, experience and personal attributes such as teamwork and customer focus, and we’re really sorry that we won’t be able to offer interviews to everyone who applies.”

For full details of Tesco’s range of full and part-time Customer Assistant vacancies, visit JobCentreOnline.com.

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