Currys interview 'humiliation' as graduate 'made to dance'

Media caption, Alan Bacon says he felt 'degraded' by the dance request

A university graduate says he was left humiliated after being asked to dance to a Daft Punk song during a job interview at an electronics superstore.

Alan Bacon, 21, thought working at Currys in Cardiff would be ideal given his love of cameras, and he spent a week preparing for the interview.

But instead of showcasing his skills, he ended up doing robotic-style dancing "like a scene out of [BBC TV comedy] The Office".

Currys has since apologised.

It has also admitted that the dance segment of the interview had been a mistake and was not part of its official recruitment processes.

Mr Bacon has been looking for work since gaining his degree in documentary, film and TV from the University of South Wales in July.

He said he was finding the process "extremely hard" because so many people were job hunting.

After finding out he had an interview for a sales assistant role at Currys Megastore in Newport Road, he was told he would have five minutes to talk to interviewers about his hobbies.

So, armed with photographs to highlight his love of astronomy, he went to the group interview on Tuesday.

But he said he was left "incredulous" as the group was told it was being split into two, with each having to make up a dance.

"I think everyone initially thought it was a joke," said Mr Bacon, whose ambition is to make science documentaries.

"But they were serious. All professionalism went out of the window. I'd spent the past week researching the company and looking forward to being able to express myself and talk about what I love doing.

Image caption, Mr Bacon said the interview was like a scene out of BBC's The Office

"But I just felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable. I ended up dancing to Around the World by Daft Punk, doing rubbish robotics in my suit in front of a group of strangers.

"I told my dad it was like a scene out of The Office. I would have walked out but I need a job.

"Another middle aged guy looked really upset as he danced to a rap song.

"I've been to quite a few job interviews and have never had to do anything like it before. To be honest, it was hard to be taken seriously after it."

Mr Bacon, who had moved to Cardiff from Newport in the hope that it would help his job search, said he did not get the Currys job and is still looking for work.

His experience has echoes of a scene in the recent BBC Three documentary The Call Centre, where new recruits at a telephone sales company in Swansea had to join in a mass singalong to The Killers' Mr Brightside.

'Lack of understanding'

Lottie Dexter, who founded the campaign group Million Jobs, which lobbies on behalf of unemployed young people, said more and more companies were using "more innovative" ways to interview people.

Media caption, Call centre manager Nev Wilshire: "Only happy people sell"

"But this is the one of the craziest and most outrageous I've heard about," she said.

"I think the companies see it as a way of loosening people up and taking them out of their comfort zone and seeing how they react in different situations.

"There's more competition and people are having to jump through more and more hoops to get a job.

"In fairness, I think employers want to make the interviews fun.

"But they often forget that people going for jobs can be really insecure and it's a huge deal for them. They want to come across at their best.

"I think it shows a lack of understanding and a complete disconnect between businesses and job hunters."

A spokesman for Currys said it was inviting those involved in the dance process back for another interview.

He said the dance had been part of team building exercises, although these were not part of its official recruitment process which would normally include a more formal interview.

"Regrettably, the store in question did not follow our official recruitment processes on this specific occasion," he said.

"We are currently investigating those members of the store who held the recruitment session.

"We are very sorry to those interviewees impacted on this occasion and would like to invite them back to attend an official interview where they will be given a proper opportunity to demonstrate how they can contribute to our business."

Mr Bacon said he had politely declined the offer of another interview.

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