toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

August 13, 2007

government job selection ethics

Daellea, 32, wants the permanency of a government job but her job hunting efforts in this area have left her feeling that the private agencies used by government departments to select recruits are unethical.

“I posted my last government job application two weeks before the closing date and was very surprised to receive a call from an agency immediately upon its receipt asking me in for an afternoon of interviews and tests.”

“It seemed very odd that applicants were going to be assessed before the statutory closing date for applications,” says Daellea, “but that’s just one of the many unethical things that private agencies can do that government departments cannot.”

“I took an afternoon off my temporary job to attend the assessment, and when I got there the place was a mess - they were in the middle of moving premises!”

“If that wasn’t bad enough, the six other applicants that turned up that day were to be interviewed and assessed by two foreign consultants who had been hired on short-term visitor’s working permits,” laughs Daellea. “I was disappointed because I had expected a representative of the government department to do this part of the selection process and I had dressed accordingly.”

“Surprisingly, we were the second batch of early applicants to be assessed. Another group had been assessed that morning!”

“We were immediately issued with a package of forms to sign - two of which related to selection procedures that were not divulged to us at the information session or in the job information package - and we were also told that the duties of the job had changed to include tasks that I would not enjoy doing.”

“Another applicant and myself objected to these ‘hidden’ requirements on the basis that failure to divulge them at the start denied us the right to make an informed decision about whether or not to apply for the job.”

“At this point I should have walked away,” sighs Daellea, “but I was psyched up to take the tests and if nothing else I was interested in getting a result for my efforts.”

“We started with a 10-minute group discussion of a complicated work problem and in the allocated time we all managed to have a say but nobody performed very well. We were seated at a huge boardroom table, and the whole thing was formal, contrived and awkward. A fun exercise to break the ice, in an informal circle of chairs, with the assessors outside the circle, would have been a far better way to assess group dynamics - and at least 20 minutes should have been allowed.”

“After that, half of us went for personal interviews while the other half did the computer tests,” explains Daellea. “There was no attempt to give us a quiet environment in which to do the timed tests. Agency employees were in and out of the room, talking and laughing, and one girl was rude enough to stand right behind me, packing boxes and calling out to a girl in another room.”

“I asked her to please be quiet and she apologized and went away,” says Daellea, “but my concentration was already shot to pieces and I’d timed out on the first test. The other applicants doing the tests were as upset as I was. We believed that those who did the tests later, after us, would be at an advantage.”

Read more by Daellea on this issue:

privatizing government job selection

Interviewed for government job by foreign consultant

Psychometric tests and medicals?

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