An internal investigation is underway at an English firm whose reply to a jobseeker’s application labelled her an “oddball” and included other unkind remarks about the applicant.

The case of Anna Jacobs, a graduate who applied for a office administrator role with Tunbridge Wells company Tecomak Environmental Services, is both disappointing and embarrassing for the company.  

It is also very insulting and upsetting for Ms Jacobs.

The remarks about Ms Jacobs – which Tecomark originally said had been taken out of context –  included calling her a “home educated oddball”, that she  “could be a biscuit short of a packet or a left-wing loon tree hugger” and suggested that she was “worth an interview if only for a laugh”.

When she received the reply, Ms Jacobs told the BBC, she was “furious”.

Tecomark has since apologized and invited Ms Jacobs to interview. She has declined that offer.

After the incident became a national news story, Ross Black, Director of Tecomak Environmental Services emailed Ms. Jacobs to apologise, saying he understood it “must have been upsetting”.

“Clearly the comments were informal and not to the high professional standard you would expect from a company like ours. I understand that it must have been upsetting to read the comments and I apologise on behalf of the company and the employees concerned.”

He added: “We genuinely felt your application and CV was interesting and you were shortlisted from a long list of over 40 candidates. We would be more than happy to interview you as one of the strongest candidates that have applied and, if you were to accept an interview, you can be assured that your application will be treated fairly and appropriately.”

But that seems more an exercise in PR at a time when best practice in HR was completely ignored.

Companies must ensure job seekers are treated with fairness and respect and in an equal, non discriminatory manner.

The case of Ms Jacobs should remind all firms that unnecessary remarks are just that – unnecessary.