The most difficult application forms …
… are those designed for the jobs which are most difficult to get into – the highly popular and competitive career areas such as advertising and the media, or work with blue-chip multinational companies. These areas normally also require outstanding written and verbal communication skills, which may be tested to the limit by the form!
Here are a few questions of the type you might find on such forms:
We are not offering any ideas for how to answer these questions: if you have the potential to succeed in these highly-competitive areas you will have the originality and initiative to think of your own! But just a few tips – be different, make it fun to read and, although you should always keep the job description/person specification in mind, don’t just try and give the employer what you think they want to hear.
Remember that these questions are read in conjunction with the rest of your application form – so your achievements in life are going to be equally important. The whole form must be outstanding.
When answering questions like these, you should always keep in mind the personal qualities that will be needed to perform well in the job. Try the following example:
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Famous for its teamworking abilities and alertness. A good one for jobs where co-operation and attention to detail are paramount and leadership or initiative less important - but such jobs may not ask for abilities like this!
King of the Jungle. Strong and fearless: a leader but also a pack animal. Good qualities for many jobs, but perhaps a little obvious? What about other animals with these qualities: wolf, elephant, gorilla ….?
A hedonistic lifestyle of food and sex is only marred by always having to be on the alert for rabbit-eating predators. Not much in the way of personal skills: looking cute is not enough.
Creative and practical: produces endless variations on its song and manufactures intricately-woven nests from scraps of grass. May be right for “artistic” jobs that offer scope for independence and taking responsibility for your own work.
Highly intelligent, co-operative, helpful, fun-loving. Would fit in with employers who stress their “work hard, play hard” culture and who value teamwork.
Intelligent, resourceful, adaptable and doesn’t care whether or not it is liked. May be better for jobs requiring backroom, problem-solving skills than high-level social skills. You would be a brave candidate to use this example (especially if you are applying to a law firm ..) but a well-argued case for it could impress. Animals with similar qualities but a cuddlier image could include grey squirrels or foxes.
Intelligent, sociable, co-operative, with leadership potential. All fine qualities and ones which would meet most employer profiles. You will gain points for originality but may be put down as a clever-dick for coming up with a creature even David Attenborough has probably never heard of (it’s a small Australian marsupial).