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back to article Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Bloggers have discovered that the Department for Work and Pensions is using an obviously defective personality test in a bid to get jobseekers off the dole and into work. The psychometric test in question is supposedly designed to assess an unemployed person’s “signature strengths”. However, it was actually primed to give …

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Have you put in the FOI request yet?

Asking for said evidence?

It would be very interesting to see it, given that the answers in the article bear suspicious resemblance to horoscopes!

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Meh

Re: Have you put in the FOI request yet?

The careers service Connexions, before it was disbanded, used to run this kind of program for schools. If you were one of those that answered the questions in a less than positive way you invariably ended up with a career choice as a fence erector.

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Unhappy

Re: Horrorscopes

I was just thinking that the output shown sounded just like the over-general could-apply-to-anybody sort of thing that, being positive in nature, people will generally accept as true about themselves. Horoscope and fortune cookie material indeed. Bet the software cost them a bomb to buy too.

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Terminator

Re: Have you put in the FOI request yet?

I wish I'd gone that route, I'd have a better income and I'd know my job wouldn't be outsourced to India.

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Re: Have you put in the FOI request yet?

My older son did one of those Connexions tests ... think his answers gave the impression that he liked to tell people what to do as his suggested careers had Army Officer, Navy Officer, RAF Officer near the top of the list!

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xyz
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Devil

I think we should all email them the link to the picture of the cock on Mars

nuff said

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Re: I think we should all email them the link to the picture of the cock on Mars

Are you proposing to put Iain Duncan Smith on Mars?

I'm good for a tenner.

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Anonymous Coward

So if someone does this test & gets given a "good" assessment at the end, what's that supposed to do for them? Doesn't make a blind bit of difference to whether they get an interview when their CV is one of 250 put forward for a job, or if they are one of the lucky few to get the interview it won't influence the prospective employer in any way.

I agree with that blogger Skwawkbox that this will be used as yet another way to bash people claiming JSA. I can see it now - you had a "good" assessment with the test yet you still haven't got a job yet, so you can't really be trying, so we'll "sanction" you by cutting your dole (sigh).

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Anonymous Coward

There are jobs going with only 250 applicants per place? SHOW ME WHERE

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Thumb Up

we recently advertised for a mid-level avaya voip lead and got only 8 respondents. you could say thats an advantage to recruiting in the flatlands of the UK. however we are yet to find out how shallow the voip talent pool is in this locale...

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Anonymous Coward

We're advertising three jobs at the moment

So far, exactly one applicant for one of them, about 5 for the second and 10 for the third.

Unfortunately, so far nobody has been suitable.

We are not advertising in job centres or general newspapers though, because it would only result in an avalanche of useless CVs for HR to filter.

Check the "Trade Press" of whatever industry it is that you are looking for. That's where you'll find the real job adverts.

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Test Results?

"This should have painted a picture of a sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt."

I suggest a career in Politics or as a Non Executive Director of a Fortune 500 / FT 100 Company would be suitable.

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Re: Test Results?

Never have I encountered such foul, mindless perversity. Have you considered a career in the church?

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Meh

Re: Test Results?

I was going to suggest middle management.

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Re: Test Results?

Stephen Fry put it well.. it occurred to him in school that a Careers Advisor was a retired military chap who would ask boys "What are you interested in?" and if they replied that they were interested in cars, he would suggest they become a mechanic- this advising lark seemed a fairly easy lark, it appeared. So, when asked what he wanted be, a young Stephen said he wanted to be a Careers Advisor. "Oh, a comedian, hey?" responded the unamused master. Mr Fry noted that as far as he knows, he was the only boy who grew up to do what this careers advisor suggested.

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Re: Test Results?

Yeah I don't think many of Stephen Fry's shoolmates grew up to be mechanics given how much it cost to go to his school.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: how much it cost to go to his school

I attended an expensive school, I was a mechanic for 10 years.

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WTF?

Gov't tests

I recall going through one of their tests, which was supposed to be measuring some level of education/intelligence or something, but quite a few of the multiple choice questions contained insufficient data to determine a correct answer with 100% certainty and the only appropriate response should have been 'Don't know'. Were they actually asking the subject to spot that these questions were nonsense, or were they just crap questions?

This isn't an actual question, just the kind of stuff they were asking:

It rained for one hour on Monday, two hours on Tuesday and four hours on Wednesday. How many hours will it rain on Thursday?

a. 5

b. 6

c. 8

d. Don't know

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Angel

Re: Gov't tests

Is the answer 7?

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Meh

That's rather clever actually,

if the intent is to weed out people who would rather pull a number out of their butts than admit they don't know the answer. Oh, it is for the Government. Never mind...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gov't tests

It rained for one hour on Monday, two hours on Tuesday and four hours on Wednesday. How many hours will it rain on Thursday?

a. 5

b. 6

c. 8

d. Don't know

Better question - how many hours will it rain on Saturday?

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Big Brother

Re: Gov't tests

1.You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down...

2. Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gov't tests

Ah or the allmighty IQ question that always bugs me

If all A's are B's and all B's are Cs, all A's are definately C's.

The answer they want is yes, all As are Cs, but if the correct parts are subsituted in, all As are not the same as all Cs

And it bugs me every time, because I know if I tick "not enough information" i'll lose points!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Gov't tests

Let me tell you about my mother -

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Re: Gov't tests

God only knows

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Terminator

Re: Gov't tests

Tortoise? What's that?

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Unhappy

Re: Gov't tests

The test is designed to find out if you can recognize a geometric series.

The real purpose of these test is to discover are your parents competitive or smart enough to convince you that being good at these tests is important.

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Re: Gov't tests

>The test is designed to find out if you can recognize a geometric series.

But disqualifies all those that know that rainfall doesn't follow a geometric series.

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Unhappy

Re: Gov't tests

"But disqualifies all those that know that rainfall doesn't follow a geometric series."

Or whose ideation is fixed to the point of having an Aspergers spectrum disorder or who has the literal mindedness necessary to hold down a job as (for example) a minor bureaucrat at the DWP.

I'm not trying to be cruel, merely pointing out the "back story" these questions use is typically laughable. That's not the point.

Don't challenge the question. Challenge the basis of the whole test.

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Joke

Re: Gov't tests

It rained for one hour on Monday, two hours on Tuesday and four hours on Wednesday. How many hours will it rain on Thursday?

a. 5

b. 6

c. 8

d. Don't know

Better question - how many hours will it rain on Saturday?

32.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is the answer 7?

No, it's 25.

Check your calendar!

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Vic
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Re: Gov't tests

> I know if I tick "not enough information" i'll lose points

As you should, because there is enough information.

If all As are Bs and all Bs are Cs, all As are definitely Cs.

What you cannot say is whether or not all Cs are As. But you weren't asked to...

Vic.

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Re: Gov't tests

e. apple

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Big Brother

Aside from its sinister Orwellian questioning, question 13 doesn't make sense:

I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition.

What is a frequent stand? Some compulsion to leap out of my seat perhaps. Difficult to do when you're being waterboarded I'd imagine.

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It's obviously designed to determine if the jobseekers are Wolverine so able to cut your way out of the waterboarding restraints and disembowel the guards.

If so then they have a job for you in a meat processing plant making horse look just like beef. Saves on the knife costs for your employers.

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"I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition."

This just can't be answered out of context. Have I taken these frequent stands because I'm willing to fight for what is right, or have I taken them because I'm a stubborn bitch who won't ever admit I could be wrong? Does my job require me to challenge others, or does it require me to keep clients happy?

Plus, please define "frequent" - are we talking about 2-3 times every year on average, or 2-3 times every day?

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Anonymous Coward

I nearlly got fired for that. Manager not doing her job correctly, staff having to carry around thousands in cash while the store was still open without insurance, or security, literally it was in a ziplock bag which we had to carry in view of the cameras AND EVERYBODY ELSE.

Complain to manager (above teh useless one) and get a new one ripped for my 'attitude'.

Admitadly a few days later they got ripped a new one. One of the people in my department called HR for the company and made a complaint... Both maangers got in a lot of shit apparently.

After that I basically kept my head down, and gave up complaining about all the shit since there was no point (so many health code violatiosn there too)

Now at my new job I get in trouble for NOT pointing out all the shit going on and when people aren't doing their jobs right. Exact opposite.

Moral of the story? In a good job expressing your opinion and trying to improve the company is a good thing. In retail it's the mindless drone who makes least noise and kisses the most ass who'll make it farthest. Anyone with half a braincell and some kind of work ethic is doomed.

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I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition

It's to see if you're suited to working in an S&M dungeon.

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"I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition."

Well I took a couple of other peoples stands when we were setting up in the market the other day. The others didn't like it and it's not the first time I've done it!

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"I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition."

I tried it at Chelsea once, I thought their new stand would look good for our school sports field.

They didn't like it.

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It's a test of employability all right....

The employability of the people responsible for authorising the use of this farce.

If they are full-time civil servants they should be immediately suspended pending disciplinary action, which should result in their dismissal or transfer to being a traffic warden on Rockall. If they are politicians then they should be simply sacked and their offences made very, very public.

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Not the point

Even if the test does show people are employable, that's not the point. You can be a genius with a string of PhDs, a congenial personality, and a great team player. But if no one is offering a job, none of that helps you in the least.

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IT Angle

What a farce.

This "test" is completely contained in one HTML page. All the questions, all the answers, even the "scoring" logic. It scored my eyes, all right.

It goes through the "answers" in pairs. For every pair, it adds the indexes of the selected "answers", counting the odd-numbered questions bottom-to-top and the even-numbered questions top-to-bottom, so as to slightly obfuscate the relation between "answer" index and result. The 24 predefined "strengths" are then ranked by these results, and the five highest-ranked ones are shown to the hapless victim.

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Facepalm

Again?

Being terribly old* I can remember when tests like this were all the rage.

Over the years I have been asked for samples of handwriting (for graphology purposes), to pick colours from a chart (so that my "colour profile" could be determined) and to assemble misshapen bits of plastic (to test my "spacial awareness").

I don't really think these tests helped in establishing my suitability for a job, but they did warn me of what I was going to be up against if I took the contract.

* Age > 25 (Agency definition)

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Re: Again?

Those are great fun.

You just ask, very loudly in front of HR and other applicants.

Oh I understand - you use the handwriting on the form to check if I'm a women and the colour selection to test my racial background?

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Anonymous Coward

terrified benefit-claimants

oxymoron

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Re: terrified benefit-claimants

I have a friend with cancer and she has had to go on the dole because the treatment is long and debilitating. She was subject to some harassment for being a work-dodger, until she dragged herself into the local job centre, looking like a corpse, and they stopped. She was indeed terrified to be cut off, as then she would have been ill, homeless and starving. I wonder what the quiz would have made of her abilities?

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Anonymous Coward

shown to improve their chances FOI request, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE

I would love to see them trying - and failing - to prove their own statement:

The department's spokesperson said:

"It is an evidence-based test, which has been shown to improve their chances of getting into work.”

I doubt they can produce anything but hey, let's show some evidence of faith in our masters' servants.

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