YES, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED
A European energy conglomerate has angered young job seekers by attempting to recruit their new intern via an online bikini contest. That’s right – an online bikini contest.
CEZ, operators of a large nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic, asked its Facebook fans to rate pictures of 10 female school leavers posing in swimwear and hard hats inside the Temlin nuclear power plant’s cooling tower, with the promise that the most popular would win a 14-day internship at the plant, and be titled “Bouncer of Energy.” The press release publicising the competition insisted that the young women had greatly enjoyed the photoshoot, and stressed they were required to wear hard hats and enclosed shoes at all times for safety reasons.
But those who spotted the competition were not impressed, and there has been an outcry among Czech news and social media. Petra HavlÃkovÃ¡, a lawyer for human rights non-profit NesehnutÃ and an equal opportunities adviser, told aktualne.cz:
“The competition is absolutely outside the bounds of ethics. In 2017, I find it incredible that someone could gain a professional advantage for their good looks.”
A spokesperson for CEZ said the company offered around 900 internships and excursions for students every year, telling The Independent:
“Most of them are organised for the high schools and universities that are members of our partnership program. Some of the internships/excursions are however customarily offered for the winners of competitions either organised by CEZ or by the third parties.
“In these cases[we] promote specific issues (mainly corporate social responsibility). In this case the participants of the Czech beauty contest Maturantka Roku, translated as the Graduate of the Year were photographed in the environment of the Temelin power plant.
“The fans on the Facebook page of the Information Centre Temelin could cast a vote on the Facebook page and choose a girl that would receive a short internship according to her preferences – if she plans to study journalism, she would do the internship in the press office, if she plans to study economy, she might do it in the economy department.
“The voting was possible only for a brief period of time — around one day — and then we stopped it. We haven’t announced any winner and we apologised.”
The company has now stated on its Facebook page that all 10 finalists were offered the internship. “The purpose of the competition was to promote technical education,” it said. “But if the original vision raised doubts or concerts, we are very sorry.”
Graduate Fog has written previously about the creeping ‘X Factor-isation’ of recruitment for junior roles, where employers’ attempt to make the hiring process fun actually are often much less entertaining for the candidates, who tend to feel a more serious approach is more respectful and appropriate.
Let’s hope this ill-judged intern bikini contest is the last of its kind. We’re not huge fans of swimsuit competitions in general, and they certainly have no place in the recruitment process.