Human Resources

Spanish woman has vertebra crushed in competitive recruitment process

Yolanda Redrup /

A young Spanish woman is suing a cleaning products company after being left with a crushed vertebra following a gruelling recruitment process.

Cilo Almansa reportedly applied for a job in 2012 to sell cleaning products for Ecoline, but during a three day recruitment process she was forced to participate in a variety of competitive games, according to The Local.

During one of these games, Almansa was made to race for a 50 euro note which was placed in the middle of the office floor and in the process was trampled by other applicants.

“There were between 40 to 50 candidates taking part in these motivational courses which were meant to makes us overexcited so that we’d sell more,” Almansa told Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE1.

“He threw it on the ground and it was like an avalanche. Even if I’d kept completely still I would have been dragged along.”

Following the incident, Almansa was unable to get up and was taken away by an ambulance. After spending days in hospital, Almansa had to spend two months in an orthopaedic corset while her spine healed.

It took almost 12 months for Almansa to properly recover.

To make matters worse, Almansa was reportedly hired and then fired within a month from Ecoline, as she received a fax informing her of her dismissal saying she’d failed to pass her trial period.

Companies worldwide are increasingly employing more unusual hiring techniques to try and find the best staff, but HR experts say this kind of process is unheard of in Australia.

“This is ridiculous, it’s absolutely bizarre,” Our HR Company founder Margaret Harrison told SmartCompany.

“I haven’t heard of anything like this happening here, although there are mass recruitment processes in call centres where more creative activities take place.”

Harrison says companies do try alternative recruitment tactics, but they’re most effective when they have a specific purpose behind them.

“In a large accounting firm they wanted to find people who would help them grow the company, so the applicants were made to fill out a quiz on social etiquette,” she says.

“They were asking them what was and wasn’t appropriate in different social situations. They wanted to find out who would make the best first impressions. It’s not a bad way to screen people if you have hundreds of applicants and want to narrow down the list.”

Harrison says there was no need for physical competitions in the recruitment process of Ecoline.

“They’re not recruiting for the army. You can see why the army or the police force have physical tests, but for a cleaning company it’s just ridiculous.”

Another activity Almansa was made to complete was standing on a chair while other applicants tried to push her off.

Tandem Partners director Angela Horkings told SmartCompany current recruitment trends see companies adopting more intensive processes.

“In larger global companies…they’re not just looking at someone’s ability and personality profiling as we’ve seen in the past, but they also want deeper insights to get an understanding of how to plot their future potential,” she says.

“The companies are looking for insights into whether the applicant will be a good future managing director, or a good middle manager, if they could move globally or if they’ll be a functional expert.”

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