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As the title suggests, I have a Masters in my field and a relatively unrelated Bachelors degree. A-levels are the exams you take here in the UK in order to get into University in the first place, and being fully honest I did not do well in these (I have 2 full ones, and 2 halves, equivalent to a B,C,C grade) and they are all unrelated to my current field.

Since I finished my Masters Degree, I've not been asked once in three different rounds of looking for new roles about my A-level results. Now I've started looking again, and one of the companies a recruiter put me forward to has come back asking for those results. I don't include them because I have limited space and they are unrelated.

My personal opinion of this is very very low. I have two degrees, and a higher level of education than a high percentage of the people I would be interviewing with. I could understand it if I only had a Bachelors, but frankly I think the two highest levels of education is all that is necessary for an employer to know. As I mentioned before my results were not great, and I understand that this company is asking for them on some basis of "consistent high level of academic achievement" or some such.

I am aware that my results at that level may be affecting my viewpoint on this, but I feel justified in stating that out of principle I will be withdrawing from their process for having asked for these results. I do not mind disclosing the results, but as above I think it is actually quite rude, implying I have a Mickey Mouse education.

How do I deal with this in line with my principles, whilst maintaining professionalism? Should I just state that I am withdrawing from the process with no further explanation needed?

P.S. I'm not concerned about any future relationship with the company that the job listing was for, after they asked about this, but it would probably be unwise to get on a recruiter blacklist

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    B,C,C are pretty reasonable A-level results. – DJClayworth Jan 15 at 20:02
  • @DJClayworth I agree based on the results, I guess "Did not do well" is more personal context based on how often I would be rejected from consideration for not having three full A-levels – SlipshodDread Jan 15 at 22:16
  • Chances are the only reason they're asking is because you haven't listed them on your CV and they're required to put something in the space for A Levels on the form - and if that's not the reason then it may well be that they're just curious because it's unusual to not list them. – anaximander Jan 17 at 14:09
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You said,

I think it is actually quite rude, implying I have a Mickey Mouse education.

As much as you're entitled to your opinion, that strikes me as reading far too much in to what they've asked. Some employers ask the same things of all candidates, no matter the position, and they may not even consider the information important in every case. In other words, they might not even care what the results were.

Further, you may actually have an opportunity to turn your bad results into a good story. Instead of seeing the bad results as a negative, take the opportunity to talk about how you've been able to learn and grow since then. You've made significant achievements since those results. You've been able to set educational goals, and achieve them. Many people who receive bad marks on standard tests just resign themselves to having been flagged as "not good learners" and never bother to achieve more. You've overcome that! It's a great story.

That said, the question near the end of your text is,

How do I deal with this in line with my principles, whilst maintaining professionalism? Should I just state that I am withdrawing from the process with no further explanation needed?

It sounds like you've made your mind up about not liking this employer, so you should just withdraw. There's no reason to give them a reason - most employers won't actually expect to be told why a candidate withdraws. Giving them extra details won't change your personal outcome, so there's no reason to do that.

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    This is usually just an exercise in ticking boxes - recruiters are required to check your A-level results. I've had jobs where we spent ten minutes discussing my degree, and they then asked me about GCSEs because they're required to check that all candidates had passing grades in Maths and English Language. You'd think it would be obvious that I wouldn't have got onto a computer systems degree program without GCSE Maths, but they still asked, because they're required to. – anaximander Jan 17 at 14:00
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How do I deal with this in line with my principles, whilst maintaining professionalism? Should I just state that I am withdrawing from the process with no further explanation needed?

When you are asked a question in an application/interview process, the best thing to do is to provide the answer to the question.

If the question goes against your principles, then you can respectfully decline to answer and withdraw from the process.

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  • At no point was this discussed in an interview. This is the application process, and the recruiter is the one dealing as a middleman at this point. – SlipshodDread Jan 15 at 21:36
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My personal opinion of this is very very low

I don't think this is necessarily insulting to you or your education. It could be that they are interested in your profile, and want a more detailed understanding of your education and professional career.

It could also be that they are using this as a tie-breaker between you and other candidate(s)...

I am aware that my results at that level may be affecting my viewpoint on this, but I feel justified in stating that out of principle I will be withdrawing from their process for having asked for these results.

Perhaps it is affecting your viewpoint on this... personally I wouldn't take this as a factor to withdraw my application, but the one that matters here is you and how you feel about this.

How do I deal with this in line with my principles, whilst maintaining professionalism? Should I just state that I am withdrawing from the process with no further explanation needed?

Well, this one is simple.

They are asking for those grades. If you wish to proceed with the application you have to provide them. If you are not willing/able to provide them, for any reason, then the professional course of action would be to withdraw your application (no need to justify yourself), thank them for their time and the opportunity, and continue job-searching elsewhere.


PD: Again, I don't see how this can be intended as an insult to you. Unless this is reaaaly a no-go for you, I would consider submitting my A grades and see how it goes on from there.

It would make few sense to give much relevance to the grades you got freshly out of school versus your other superior education degrees (and if they did, perhaps you dodged a bullet on this one).

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These guys are checkbox tickers. They have a list and what it completed.

I recently got offered a job, and HR insisted on my A levels as well as my masters degree, PhD and work recommandation letters after being in the workforce for more than a decade. This document was almost 25 years old. They didnt look at it, but could check the box.

Just submit the thing.

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