Industrial Organization Psychologists are busy creating employment tests for jobseekers, to try to get the jobseeker to deflate their answers, leave out important information and otherwise help the HR specialists eliminate them from the application list.
It’s true. There are SO many jobseekers that the automated application for jobs has become more difficult, specific and regimented than ever. In the old days (5 years ago) a person could send in a resume and cover letter in an envelope or attached to an email.
Now most large companies require a total automated application process, so that they can manage the resumes, applicant’s qualifications and documents the best possible. For instance, at an I/O conference – IPAC Conference – I attended in July, I learned that big corporation Sprint receives approximately 2,000 applications for each position they post. Sprint has a total automated application process. John Smith, who is the I’O Psychologist at Sprint, told me that the applicant must complete the online application, rather than attaching a resume. In fact he said, “we don’t read resumes or cover letters”. The application must be online, or they are screened out immediately.
The USAJOBS application system is totally automated. One of the important tips that I learned from the Sprint executive, it that it is better to copy and paste the resume into the resume-builder, or application online, rather than uploading the resume. The HR specialists do not like to see very resume looking different and creative. They want the information organized where they can find it fast. This is for your sake, believe me.
The Self-Assessment Questionnaire
Additionally, most large organizations are using a self-assessment questionnaire as a screening tool to determine if you have the minimum qualifications for the job. This assessment test is designed to ask you specific questions about your skills. It is multiple choice. It is important that you give yourself all the credit that you can. The Self-assessment questionnaire support the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) required for the position. The number of questions can range for 10 to 80, depending on the HR specialist who is managing the recruitment.
The HR specialists and I/O Psychologists will try to scare you and even persuade you to be less flattering than you should be. The use of certain “threat statements” that will state that if you over-exagerate your answers, you could be fired, imprisoned or other bad things could happen, if you inflate your scores. The resume must match the questionnaire. The HR specialist does have the authority to throw you out of consideration if the resume does not match the questionnaire.
Let’s say Sprint or USAJOBS receives a total of 2,000 applications. Maybe one-third will do something wrong with the online application, including uploading the resume and answering the questionnaire with questions below a score of 70; or not uploading documents. The next one-third will have poor resumes. The next one-third will be reviewed for consideration of Best Qualified for the position.
The questionnaire is a critical for first cut for a federal application and many large corporate automated applications. Recently, Vincent applied for an EEO Specialist position with a federal agency. His questionnaire had 23 questions. The highest level of the multiple choice question was E. The lowest was A. He answered 12 of the questions as E. 5 of the questions as C. 4 of the questions as A (I have no experience of education in this area). And several of the Yes No questions were answered as NO, which is the wrong answer.
On the day after the closing date at around 12:15 pm, Vincent received an automated email saying that his questionnaire resulted in a score below the minimum level and he was not eligible for the position. Vincent wrote to me and sent me that email. I went into his questionnaire an looked at his answers. I was shocked because he was more qualified that he scored himself based on his resume and years of experience. I do not know why he deflated his scores so badly. His score was below 70 (out of a total of 100) because he was found automatically ineligible for the position. He really was qualified for the position.
The self-assessment (or self-report) questionnaire is now an integral part of applications for large organizations. This is your own statement of your skills as it relates to your background and your resume. When you find an announcement that seems very good for your background, find the questionnaire quickly and answer the questions. If you can score your skill level high, this would be a good position for you to submit. If you cannot score the application highest level in most questions, you will not receive a score high enough for the resume to be reviewed – which is a score of 90.
Most every application in government has some kind of assessment questionnaire. The applicationmanager.gov system manages the questionnaire portion of the USAJOBS applications. This is a 2nd part to a two-part application system for federal positions. The 3rd part of the application which is also important is the upload of documents which prove your status or information about certain preference you may have for federal positions.
Review the questionnaires carefully and give yourself the most credit that you can in answering the questionnaires. Also make sure that the resume matches the questionnaire and KSAs form the vacancy announcement. And maybe you will get Best Qualified and Referred to a supervisor for a federal position.