Employment acceptance tests
With the summer vacation over, it’s crunch time for thousands of Filipinos who graduated recently from our colleges and universities. Those who did not have the luxury of taking it easy after receiving their diplomas trooped to job fairs shortly after the end of classes.
According to reports, a good number of applicants were hired on the spot by local and foreign-based companies in those events.
As in previous work placement activities, many employers have complained about the mismatch between job vacancies and the educational training or skills of jobseekers.
With a large pool of manpower to choose from, it’s a “buyers’ market” for employers, especially those in the Top 50 companies or those known for their generous compensation packages. Under this situation, employers can afford to impose strict qualifications on who gets on their short list for interview or whose application would, at the outset, either be relegated to the wastebasket or sent a polite letter reply.
To soften the blow of the rejection, some companies (bless their soul!) go out of their way to explain the reason behind the turn down, e.g., inadequate education or lack of competency, with the advice that the applicant may reapply if he believes he is already qualified for the job he is applying for.
The vetting process for jobseekers has been made easier by the Internet and its most popular by-product, social media.
It is common practice today for employers to check with Google or other search engines for information about applicants who meet the initial criteria for employment.
Unless the person on whom information is being sought has been living under a rock all his life, chances are something about him will turn up in the cyberspace search.
And if he has a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account, a discreet background check can be conducted on him without having to engage the services of third parties for that purpose.
Statements, photos and other materials posted on social networking sites provide employers a window into the personality or work disposition of their user-applicants.
Thus, for example, a jobseeker who enjoys posting pictures of his weekend forays or colorful night life may be considered to be averse to overtime work if it conflicts with regular gigs with his gang mates.
Stories about juvenile acts or pranks that embarrassed people might indicate a personality disorder that could adversely affect the work environment.
Sexist jokes and racial epithets may be telltale signs of deep-seated emotional problems that may influence an applicant’s relations with future fellow employees.
If postings on networking sites create unfavorable or undesirable impressions on the employer, the work aspirant may not even get to first base in the recruitment process.
Or if he makes it to the interview phase, he may find himself hard pressed convincing the employer that he can be a good employee despite the statements or photos posted on his online accounts that raise serious doubts about his fitness for the job applied for.
A jobseeker’s physical appearance also gives, to paraphrase a popular saying, first impressions that last.
For some employers, that rule is no longer limited to facial features, clothes or body language. The latest addition to the criteria (although not openly discussed) is tattoos or body art.
Truth to tell, there is nothing wrong with body art. It’s a tradition that dates back to our ancestors. In the modern age, it is considered part of freedom of expression that uses the body as its platform.
Body art has become so popular among the youth that it’s available in school fairs, shopping malls and beauty salons.
The problem is, rightly or wrongly, some people associate or identify tattoos with drug addicts, criminals, prisoners and ex-convicts. It’s a stereotype or phobia that grew from mistaken beliefs and misplaced publicity.
For the ubër conservative employer, an applicant who sports a tattoo is of suspicious character, moves around with shady elements, or has “unclean” body habits.
Worse, if the needles used for body art were not properly sanitized, he may be a potential carrier of HIV-AIDS or a disease communicable through dirty needles.
With this mindset, an employer may look at tattooed job applicants as safety or health risks to the work environment.
To avoid getting caught in this issue, some employers specify a “no tattoos” qualification in their job advertisements.
So how is the “tattoo phobic” rule enforced? Either by directly asking the applicant about it or making him undergo a medical check-up before his application is considered.
If the body art is confirmed and the employer is still scared stiff about it, it’s easy to cite reasons other than that for rejecting the job application.
No doubt, this discriminatory treatment will not sit well with body art lovers. It is akin to prejudice at the work place on account of age, gender, social class, religion, sexuality, ethnicity or other personal characteristics.
The problem is, proving work discrimination based on this condition is as difficult as proving that our lawmakers can be trusted to honestly handle the people’s money.
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