Application advice

(8 Posts)
WeLikeToParty Sun 06-Apr-14 21:19:03

Hello everyone, this isn't really an employment issue but I was hoping someone would be able to give me a pointer about an application I'm doing for a job vacancy I hopefully have a chance at.

The application includes the normal equal opportunities questionnaire. The first few questions are standard 'ethnicity, religion, disabilities, sexuality and age' (all fine). The bits I have issue with are them asking if I had a private or state secondary education, whether I am the first in my immediate family to go to university and whether I am the sole carer for dependants under 18. The answers to the first two questions are answered in my cv (went to a community college and didn't go to university) and yes I'm a single mother. I think however that by putting yes/no answers in black and white makes it easier for them to cast aside my application without full consideration. I know the point of these questionnaires are to show they give equal opportunities to all no matter what, but we all know that doesn't always happen.

There is the option of "decline to answer" but then I think that makes me look uncooperative.

So do I answer honestly and think if I don't get an interview just based on that (not that I'll ever know) then I should be glad to not have to meet these people or do I put "decline to answer" and make it look like I have something to hide?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

BerylStreep Sun 06-Apr-14 21:22:23

My understanding was that equality monitoring forms go to a separate person within an organisation and are not available to the person considering the application form.

Is it a public sector organisation? Does the equality monitoring form give any information on how it will be handled?

bubblesausage Sun 06-Apr-14 21:28:59

The equal opportunities form gets separated from your application, the person looking at the applications won't know, so it won't affect your chances of interview.

I recently did an application where the equality form was part of the application and was to be sent to the person who would be the boss of the successful candidate, ie not a generic HR dept.

I hated that, as I am older since last time I was job hunting, and despite making a good effort to stay looking a bit younger than I actually am, the boss would have just seen my dob right there on the last part of the form.

WeLikeToParty Sun 06-Apr-14 21:30:30

Hi Beryl

No, it is a private company. The form only says that it is used for monitoring purposes only, in statistical reports. It does not say how it will be handled, only that people are encouraged to complete them with the application and that they are used to monitor the equal opportunities policies.

Usually I'm not concerned with the forms, but that is because it is usually age, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Along with the questions I mentioned in my OP, it also asks if you help to care for or support any family member, neighbour, friends etc. To me, asking if you are the primary carer of a dependant under 18 and then about caring or support for a friend/neighbour etc tells me that they are trying to spot anyone who may not be able to give 150% if you all know what I mean.

WeLikeToParty Sun 06-Apr-14 21:32:49

Thanks Bubble and Fliberty.

I know that where I currently work, certainly with the applications for administration and support, the equal opportunities form goes to the same person as the person who decides on who gets an interview.

AlpacaYourThings Sun 06-Apr-14 21:32:55

Seems like very odd questions to ask.

Personally, I would decline to answer the questions.

Sandthorn Mon 07-Apr-14 09:52:25

Actually, I can totally see why they would put these questions on an equal opportunities questionnaire... I would read it that they're actively trying NOT to discriminate against single parents, or non-privately-educated applicants. It would be incredibly dangerous for an employer to collect such information and then use it for exactly the opposite reason to what is stated, because it leaves a paper trail to show that their recruiting policies are discriminatory. The very fact that they're collecting this information indicates to me that they will either treat it neutrally (most likely. they'll probably detach it from the rest of the form anyway), or maybe even apply positive discrimination.

But let's be clear about this... You do not have to fill it in. You will not be perceived as obstructive, or having something to hide if you don't fill it in. Frankly, the employer probably sees it as something they have to ask, but a bit of a PITA. Plus, we are a nation of private people: it's a rare individual who doesn't understand that you don't want to share everything about yourself. I do recommend you either complete the whole section or none at all - that way, they won't know if it's your race, or your sexual orientation, or your education,or all of it that you're keeping private.

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