I have spent a discombobulating day…. filling in the most ridiculously constructed application form I have ever (in my limited application form-filling experience) encountered. Once again, I’m driven to question just why and how the feck do certain Human Resources personnel acquire the intrusive clout to justify themselves in this way?
Again, I’m not going to tell where, what or whom? I’ll just give you a flavour (admittedly conflating with other application forms I’ve recently completed to make a general point) and you can tell me whether I’m being, err, unreasonable.
Firstly, you can’t get to the form without traversing a pre-screening stage. Presumably, in the current tight climate, this is to deter time-wasting applications from those who don’t precisely meet the job/person specification requirements, despite these being difficult to gauge, couched as they are in that woolly, Cameronian management ‘language.’ And there’s so much of it that I wonder just what is the relevance of some of this to the post advertised; or how anyone, other than perhaps Shackleton, could fully meet all the required ‘Competencies’ listed? So, upon being asked whether you have all the necessary qualifications/experience, if you select ‘No’, you are immediately binned. In order to go in again and progress beyond this point, you have to click ‘Yes’ – thus you have in all likelihood already begun the process of self-spinning.
Then you are informed about the data retention thing, and asked whether or not you agree to your details being retained in their system after this appointment process is complete, whether you get the job or not. If you tick ‘No’, you’re binned. You’re presented with a choice, but, in effect, have no choice but to agree to the retention of your data if you want to proceed with an application. (I actually wonder about this.) And then what about those details that are supposedly so necessary? What the feck has my ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion got to do with my aptitude for the job?! (Oh, and by the way, ‘Atheism’ is not a religion. Where’s the option for ‘None’, like on the census form?) If such information is not considered in the appointment process, and is merely sought to ensure some conformation to Equal Opportunities, then why not ask after the appointment has been made (when one might freely respond with, “Mind your own business”)? It’s okay taking measures to ensure discrimination against; but does discrimination for operate in order to ensure boxes get ticked? I don’t know. We are assured not.
So, if you decide to go into the thing, then you are confronted with that list of required sections (qualifications, employment record, education), which I think (although I’ve done few of these, so I don’t know for sure) is how universities generally do this now. Why? Why this need to standardise and format every application into uniformity? Why can’t we just send in our (now rendered redundant) CV that we’ve spent so much bloody time on, instead of then having to cut and paste much of it into the relevant boxes – that’s if there is a box for it – and then flesh it out to try and waffle-fill the spaces? And will someone tell whoever jacks these things together that there is no ‘grade’ for a Ph.D.? It is awarded, that’s it: the classification listing does not apply. “Well, just select ’Pass’_, then."_ But I don’t want to apply ‘Pass’ from a grade menu to my Ph.D.. It suggests scraping it.
And eventually I get to the part that seemingly can only be properly completed by a surviving polar explorer turned politician with the plate-spinning capability to be all things to all people, and a broom up his arse to boot. And I became so vexed by having to over-spin myself into someone I don’t recognise, that I took my temper out on my temperamental woofer for a while, before deciding to do it ‘my way’. Instead of trying to construct and insert suitable BS-isms, I made lengthy statements under the two headings that I actually considered relevant, and filed it.
I guess I needn’t say, “Watch this space.”
Lee, I share some of your obvious frustration, having gone through a few Uni application procedures very recently.
They ranged from the simple (Fill out an outdated MS Word file with the relevant information and big yourself up as much as possible at the end, email to HR), to elegant (everything worked very nicely thank you) and not so elegant online options (if Word and OO Writer both tell me I have
In my exasperation, I forgot the point in my mental tick list about the boxes stated as taking a maximum of 2000 characters, but err, took somewhat less.
And… details of three referees! But, as I’m currently not in post, it reads as though they actually want four. I’m trying to work out whether this signifies some kind of ‘wariness’ of those currently not working. They got three.
Yeah – I’m not entirely sure about the point of 3 referees. Presumably, candidates are going to list people who they expect will say nice things about them. I was asked to include my former employer as a ref in one application. Sadly he passed away a few years ago. There was no check box for that option.
Try ‘please see attached file: HR_IT_fail.pdf’, that should fit in nicely.