Guest post by sometime contributor David Wilkins, law student, classicist, fencing coach and blogger.
Just filled in the application form for the BPTC. I was very surprised to find that, even there, everything is assessed according to damned competency questions. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to find, in 5 years time, that it’s impossible to buy a carton of milk without having to “provide an example of a previous successful milk purchase” or having to “describe a time when you carried a bottle of milk home successfully without dropping it or pouring it all over yourself”.
One significant problem with this mindless HR fad is that, in the relentless quest to standardise everything for the purposes of “fairness”, it surrenders completely to process-oriented thinking. By looking primarily at the manner in which objectives are achieved, rather than the results themselves, it makes the fatal assumption that the best way of going about every task is already well-known, established and ready to be assessed by each and every recruiter out there.
“Leadership” on these terms is understood only according to a series of wooden criteria, as are “communication”, “initiative” or any other key personality characteristic, being valued only insofar as they match the set requirements as understood by an interviewer often in possession of none of them himself. Beyond the obvious stupidity of this practice, this provides absolutely no room for unusual or unorthodox methodology that might achieve better results, promoting in its place same-old, time-honoured drudgery. That is, of course, unless it is the “creativity” competency that is being assessed, in which case candidates need only make sure they fit within the 6 preset categories permitted!
I’ll take one of the old interviews any day, where prejudices are obvious, rather than being concealed beneath idiotic jargon and a false pretence of fairness that serves only to idolise the lowest common denominator. DW
Related: Opinion: The Google Conundrum