[thechat] Application Forms (Was: predictive indexing - is it evil ?)

Chris Marsh chris at webbtech.co.uk
Wed Sep 4 07:59:01 CDT 2002

> > >What is the company getting at with a question like this?
> This is not
> > >a mere rant, if anyone can help me out a little here I would
> > >appreciate it. Is this just a dumb set of questions, or is there a
> > >hidden psychological test beneath it?
> >
> > Short answer: dumb set of questions. Some HR monkey has to do
> > filtering, and they think that asking questions like these
> gets them
> > useful data.
> So what would be a *better* way of getting useful data?

But why is this data of any use? This job involves operating a till and
serving customers. Why is anything written on a form of any use to a
potential employer? I could submit a form on your behalf, and inform you
after the fact. You could get an interview on the strength of this, and
yet the company would still know absolutely nothing about your
suitability for the post. This is why I wondered if there was some
psychology behind questions like this. If not, they seem to be a waste
of time for all involved.


> > >2) Describe a situation involving each of these skills. In each
> > >description tell us what happened, what YOU did, and how the
> > >situation ended.
> >
> > This is so trivial to fake.
> I agree, with simple (not the same as easy btw) jobs, the
> exercise of finding meaningful ways of finding the best fit
> person is hard. Remember also that the CV/form stage is not
> to get you the *job* but to get you the
> *interview* - it's a massive sink of time to interview every
> applicant. So the form identifies those who *might* meet the
> criteria and are worth the time to interview.

Yes, but both myself and my girlfriend are fundamentally honest people.
When she asks me for advice, my initial comment is not "lie". She is a
hard and competant worker, and should not need to lie. Perhaps I am
merely being a little naïve...


> Also, I don't know about India, but we have a little system
> called 'references'. Believe that I *will* call your former
> boss - for simple jobs, there's usually 2 references
> required, and for complex ones 3 (or more).

She has absolutely excellent references. This is why these questions
annoy me so much. Can she do the job? Call her referees. She can?
Excellent, give her an interview.

> I'm still waiting for anyone to suggest a better way than
> "Show you understand what this job's about, and give evidence
>  you can do it"

Better than what? Anyone could have filled the form out. Receiving a
completed form from an applicant doesn't even prove that they can write,
at this stage. A better way is to ascertain where they claim to have
worked before, and verify it. Check their references and give them an




Chris Marsh

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