Friday, 29 June 2012

Utter Stupidity


Just before the "Work Programme" or whatever it is (was) called forced the senior people at the Job Centre to farm me out to various external providers for "expert help" in getting back into the work-place, I was told to apply for a position as "Executive Officer, Department of Work and Pensions" which was being advertised.

In order to keep officialdom happy, I applied. Then I was sent along to some Assessment Centre to sit a Literacy Test and a Numeracy Test, designed to ensure that the candidates for this role - or roles, I was told there were several - could read, write, and do basic arithmetic. I had to take along my passport and a couple of passport-type photographs, and found myself sat in hired offices along with 30 or so other applicants, and about a dozen "consultants" from Manpower. The tests were about the standard of the old 11-plus. I asked if I could use my own calculator, but this was not allowed as it might be conferring an advantage. We all had to use the pencils, paper, and calculators provided. Probably a good supply contract to have!

After the tests we sat there while they were marked, and those who had not reached the requisite standard were asked to leave. Only 6 of us were left. I was a bit shocked, and asked what the "pass marks" were. They were about the 40% mark. They told me I had managed 100% in both and would not need to resit them if I applied for any other Civil Service posts in the future as they would remain "on the record". One of the Manpower consultants condescendingly told me I would not have done any better with my own calculator, and I pointed out that I would have been a bit quicker.

Then a few weeks later I was asked to return to these rented offices for a "Competency Based Interview" with two senior consultants, where I was asked to illustrate from my own experience how I would cope with the basic and the obvious. Having overcome this hurdle, I was told that I would be hearing from the DWP in due course once they had run a CRB check to see if I had been caught doing inappropriate things with goats.

Eventually a letter arrived from the DWP recruiting centre in some North East Vote-Buyer Town, informing me that congratulations were in order, and that if a vacancy should occur within the next six months they would be in touch. After that time I was to consider myself at liberty to re-apply if I saw any vacancies advertised.

I still wonder at the money this whole pointless exercise must have cost.

The Has-bean Counter.

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