I saw a staff vacancy in a shop window earlier, so handed my CV in, and less than 5 minutes later they called me back in to see them. I had a really informal chat with the 2 young staff that work there, and they asked me a couple of quick questions, told me I had a lot of good experience and must be good having worked at Next, so would hardly need any training.
The manager is away until next week, so they can’t officially offer me a job, but they asked me to do 3 or 4 unpaid training shifts, starting tomorrow, and I accepted.
After getting home I had a think about it and gave it a quick google. While it doesn’t seem illegal to give someone a trial shift to see how they perform in the given role, they should not be expected to do more than one shift. Any official training for the role should then be carried out after a job offer has been made, and should be paid at at least minimum wage.The more I thought about it, the more it didn’t seem right. They’ve expressed the view that I wouldn’t really need training, but then asked me to do 4 days training? They also told me that with the boss being away till next week, they are all being asked to do a lot of overtime, so it seems rather convenient that they’ve asked me to do 3 shifts before he returns. Surly he would be the one to ‘judge me’ and make a job offer? I decided to phone them back and explained that I don’t feel comfortable doing 3 days unpaid work with no paperwork but will happily go in tomorrow and do a 4 hour shift, then, after that shift, if they think I’ve done ok, they can inform the manager and he can contact me if he would like to speak to me or offer me the position. The phone conversation was very awkward, and after I put my point across she just said, ‘right, ok, see you tomorrow’ I guess the fact that she didn’t argue the point may suggest that she knew she was trying to pull a fast one and had been found out, but I can imagine tomorrow may now be quite uncomfortable. It’s really disheartening, that people in the same position as myself, who are so keen to find work can so easily be taken advantage of. I may be judging this company too soon, and maybe they are being genuine, but 3 days unpaid work seems a lot to ask to find out if I’m capable of the job? Maybe I’ve shot myself in the foot by questioning the trial shifts?