Web firm boss finds himself at centre of online storm

Craig Dean

The boss of web application firm has found himself at the centre of an online storm after a woman who applied for a job accused him of intimidation.

Olivia Bland, a marketing and ecommerce specialist, applied for a job at the Oldham firm Web Applications UK.

And even though she was offered the role she decided to turn it down following her interview with chief executive Craig Dean.

Olivia described the interview as brutal and then posted her reply to the firm on Twitter.

He posts has been retweeted almost 6,000 times and has more than 16,000 likes.

Mr Dean has since issued an apology online but the exchange between the two has led to hundreds of comments about the firm.

Olivia said: “Yesterday morning I had a job interview for a position at a company called Web Applications UK.

“After a brutal two hour interview, in which the CEO Craig Dean tore both me and my writing to shreds (and called me an underachiever).”

Craig said in his online apology: “I am so sorry that anyone has been hurt, it is never my intent. I have sat watching the messages pouring in all night and humbly submit this sleep-deprived and anxiety-driven message.”

Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC 5 Live show this morning Olivia said: “I just felt very under attack. There was a lot of intimidating questions.

“My writing was being ripped apart. My character was being ripped apart.

“I was called an underachiever. My writing, he went line-by-line and told me everything that was wrong with it.

“Everything that was wrong with the way that I was sitting, the way I was talking. He commented on the way I held my arms, my body, the way I came across.

“He asked a few questions initially. Very personal questions. He asked me, “how was your childhood? Are your parents still together?”

“Things I wouldn’t necessarily think as relevant for the job interview.  He had two women to come in and watch the interview who weren’t part of it, they weren’t contributing.

“I just feel like I was being put up to be humiliated. I had one to the side of me and one behind.

“At the time I was quite upset and felt like I didn’t have the right to say anything.

“But after they offered me the job, I sort of realised this isn’t okay, this isn’t a company I want to work for and it doesn’t make me feel comfortable.

“So the following day, I declined the offer and obviously described my reasons why.

He’s given a public apology, I haven’t heard anything directly, but that’s fine by me. I’m not looking to attack the individual whatsoever.”

A statement read: ‘The Board of Directors at Web Applications UK is deeply concerned by the serious allegations made on social media following a recent job interview led by Chief Executive, Craig Dean.

“As always, Web Applications UK conducted a robust, multi-stage interview, which included simulating challenging, work-based scenarios, designed to help identify the best candidate for the role.

‘This particular candidate excelled during the interview and responded positively to the feedback.

“We were delighted to offer her the position of Communications Assistant, by telephone, later that day.

“Regrettably, she subsequently changed her mind and declined our offer. In response to the allegations made, and following completion of our investigation, the Board is satisfied that no bullying or intimidation occurred.”

Ms Bland worked as a Junior Marketing and E-Commerce Executive from last August to December.

The firm has been shortlisted in this year’s TheBusinessDesk.com awards in the Contributing to the Community category.

TheBusinessDesk.com has approached the firm for a comment.