A recent university graduate looking for work received a rude response from a fashion recruitment agency that she had "no experience" and wasted their time.
The company, Apparel HR, claims its account was hacked and that it would never say such a thing to a job applicant.
Stephanie Nelson, 26, applied through Seek.co.nz for the job as a warehouse coordinator and received this reply:
"Dear Stephanie, thank you for applying for a role with absolutely no experience in the field. You have now wasted my time and yours!"
The Hamilton woman has completed a four-year degree in textiles at Massey University, and was stunned and disheartened by the email.
"I've never received an email like that from anyone before, let alone from an HR company," she said.
"After finishing my degree and then trying over the holidays to apply for all these different jobs, it's really not what you want to hear."
Julie Malone, of Apparel HR, was horrified that such a response had come from an @apparelhr email account.
She said the company's Facebook page was hacked last year and feared the same had happened to its email account.
"We think we've got a similar situation — we've had a lot of phishing going on for the last three weeks, emails coming from our own email address and things.
"What was written was I'm sure distressing to her and I can totally understand that. It's distressing to me too because we're a small business and we work with our candidates very closely and it's certainly not an internal-generated email by any means."
She said multiple people had had access to that email account over the years.
After finishing my degree and then trying over the holidays to apply for all these different jobs, it's really not what you want to hear.
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"We're just trying to get to the bottom of it. It's stressful for us as well so we're just trying to understand how it's happened."
She said she had received verbal abuse and physical threats after Nelson posted the company's response to Facebook.
She would be going to police to find out how the email could have been sent.
She had contacted Nelson and apologised for the email, and informed her that it was not a legitimate response.
Nelson was not convinced by Malone's assertion.
"It still doesn't really add up to me. The email was directred to her, had her name on that Seek application, and I don't understand why somebody else would want to hack into that or could have access to that email."
Seek.co.nz said in a Facebook post to Nelson that it did not endorse the way in which this employer responded to her.
"One of our team members will be reaching out to Apparel HR to have a chat about how to engage with candidates in a polite and constructive way," the company said.
Nelson is still looking for work.