You’ve probably heard how social media posts from angry customers can ruin a business’s reputation, but Craig Dean, CEO of British tech firm Web Applications UK, didn’t stop to think that a potential employee at his company could also do the same thing.
After Olivia Bland endured what she claimed to be a “brutal” two-hour interview, the employer soon offered her the job and she initially accepted, before changing her mind.
Apparently, Mr Dean did not stand up to greet her when she arrived and was “just on his phone”.
She said he then started the interview in an “utterly bizarre” manner by criticising her music tastes while scrolling through her Spotify account.
Mr Dean then went on to ask her “really bizarre” personal questions which included questions about her childhood and whether her parents were still together.
Ms Bland said that he then began “tearing apart, line by line” everything she had submitted in her written application.
Afterwards, he asked her how she thought the interview went, before saying “I’ll tell you how it went”.
“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,” she said.
Ms Bland said the experience was “like being sat in a room with my abusive ex”.
She later took to Twitter to publicise the way she had been treated, posting:
“Yesterday morning I had a job interview for a position at a company called Web Applications UK. After a brutal 2 hour interview, in which the CEO Craig Dean tore both me and my writing to shreds (and called me an underachiever), I was offered the job. This was my response today.
I would like to thank you for the offer, but I have decided to decline.
The interview process yesterday was very uncomfortable for me. I understand the impact that Craig was trying to have, but nobody should come out of a job interview feeling so upset that they cry at the bus stop.
I’m very aware of what Craig was trying to do, and what he was trying to get out of me. I’m also aware that by sending this email, I am failing his tests and proving that I am not the right fit for his company. 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. I also think that he’s very strategic in placing other people in the interview room, who have no part in the interview process, just to heighten the feeling of power he gets over someone else’s humiliation.
All of the things that I mention in this email will be ignored, and things will carry on as usual at Web Applications UK. I’m also half-anticipating an email back from Craig himself explaining, line by line, why everything that I have stated in this email is wrong. If you have any consideration for a young girl’s feelings, I would ask you not to bother.
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 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. And to top it off, there came the job offer, which I suppose is supposed to make up for all of the nasty things he said beforehand. I’ve been in this position before: they tear you down, abuse you, take you to breaking point, and then they take you out to dinner or buy you a present to apologise and make it seem like they’re the nice guy. This job is supposed to be the present. I don’t want it. I’m not going through that again, in any capacity. I suppose I’m supposed to feel privileged to be good enough for the job. I don’t. I don’t want to line up with somebody who gets a kick out of attacking young women, calling them underachievers, and making them visibly uncomfortable. That’s not somebody that I ever want to work for, and none of the “perks” of the job could possibly tempt me.
I would also like to make it known here that there are a number of reviews about your company and Craig online, all saying very similar things to me. I’m sure that this isn’t the first email of this nature that you’ve received, so you’re probably already aware. I’m also sure that this won’t be the last.
It has been a pleasure to meet you, Naomi, and Rebecca, and you all seem like very lovely people. It’s a shame that we won’t be working together.
Best of luck for the future,
Ms Bland’s post went viral, causing widespread public outrage.
The following day, Mr Dean then tweeted a “sleep-deprived and anxiety-driven message” where he said “I have no desire to see anyone hurt; and can only apologise if anything I’ve done has had that effect”.
This tweet and his public Twitter account have since been deleted.
The Board of Directors at Web Applications UK released a statement saying they were “deeply concerned by the serious allegations made on social media” and that “The Board strongly condemns any form of bullying or intimidation”.
They said that they conducted an internal investigation and were “satisfied that no bullying or intimidation occurred”.
To date, Ms Bland’s Twitter post has received more than 143,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 42,000 times.
Since the incident, Web Applications UK appears to have stopped posting on its Twitter account, which before was updated frequently.