back to article Bogus gov online test tells people on dole they're just SO employable

Bloggers have discovered that the Department for Work and Pensions is using an obviously defective personality test in a bid to get jobseekers off the dole and into work. The psychometric test in question is supposedly designed to assess an unemployed person’s “signature strengths”. However, it was actually primed to give …

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  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Have you put in the FOI request yet?

    Asking for said evidence?

    It would be very interesting to see it, given that the answers in the article bear suspicious resemblance to horoscopes!

    1. LarsG
      Meh

      Re: Have you put in the FOI request yet?

      The careers service Connexions, before it was disbanded, used to run this kind of program for schools. If you were one of those that answered the questions in a less than positive way you invariably ended up with a career choice as a fence erector.

      1. Flatpackhamster
        Terminator

        Re: Have you put in the FOI request yet?

        I wish I'd gone that route, I'd have a better income and I'd know my job wouldn't be outsourced to India.

      2. deshepherd

        Re: Have you put in the FOI request yet?

        My older son did one of those Connexions tests ... think his answers gave the impression that he liked to tell people what to do as his suggested careers had Army Officer, Navy Officer, RAF Officer near the top of the list!

    2. LaeMing
      Unhappy

      Re: Horrorscopes

      I was just thinking that the output shown sounded just like the over-general could-apply-to-anybody sort of thing that, being positive in nature, people will generally accept as true about themselves. Horoscope and fortune cookie material indeed. Bet the software cost them a bomb to buy too.

  2. xyz
    Devil

    I think we should all email them the link to the picture of the cock on Mars

    nuff said

    1. Mike Richards

      Re: I think we should all email them the link to the picture of the cock on Mars

      Are you proposing to put Iain Duncan Smith on Mars?

      I'm good for a tenner.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if someone does this test & gets given a "good" assessment at the end, what's that supposed to do for them? Doesn't make a blind bit of difference to whether they get an interview when their CV is one of 250 put forward for a job, or if they are one of the lucky few to get the interview it won't influence the prospective employer in any way.

    I agree with that blogger Skwawkbox that this will be used as yet another way to bash people claiming JSA. I can see it now - you had a "good" assessment with the test yet you still haven't got a job yet, so you can't really be trying, so we'll "sanction" you by cutting your dole (sigh).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are jobs going with only 250 applicants per place? SHOW ME WHERE

      1. andy mcandy
        Thumb Up

        we recently advertised for a mid-level avaya voip lead and got only 8 respondents. you could say thats an advantage to recruiting in the flatlands of the UK. however we are yet to find out how shallow the voip talent pool is in this locale...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          We're advertising three jobs at the moment

          So far, exactly one applicant for one of them, about 5 for the second and 10 for the third.

          Unfortunately, so far nobody has been suitable.

          We are not advertising in job centres or general newspapers though, because it would only result in an avalanche of useless CVs for HR to filter.

          Check the "Trade Press" of whatever industry it is that you are looking for. That's where you'll find the real job adverts.

  4. John G Imrie

    Test Results?

    "This should have painted a picture of a sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt."

    I suggest a career in Politics or as a Non Executive Director of a Fortune 500 / FT 100 Company would be suitable.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Test Results?

      Never have I encountered such foul, mindless perversity. Have you considered a career in the church?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Test Results?

      I was going to suggest middle management.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Test Results?

        Stephen Fry put it well.. it occurred to him in school that a Careers Advisor was a retired military chap who would ask boys "What are you interested in?" and if they replied that they were interested in cars, he would suggest they become a mechanic- this advising lark seemed a fairly easy lark, it appeared. So, when asked what he wanted be, a young Stephen said he wanted to be a Careers Advisor. "Oh, a comedian, hey?" responded the unamused master. Mr Fry noted that as far as he knows, he was the only boy who grew up to do what this careers advisor suggested.

        1. Paul Hampson 1

          Re: Test Results?

          Yeah I don't think many of Stephen Fry's shoolmates grew up to be mechanics given how much it cost to go to his school.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: how much it cost to go to his school

            I attended an expensive school, I was a mechanic for 10 years.

  5. Andrew_b65
    WTF?

    Gov't tests

    I recall going through one of their tests, which was supposed to be measuring some level of education/intelligence or something, but quite a few of the multiple choice questions contained insufficient data to determine a correct answer with 100% certainty and the only appropriate response should have been 'Don't know'. Were they actually asking the subject to spot that these questions were nonsense, or were they just crap questions?

    This isn't an actual question, just the kind of stuff they were asking:

    It rained for one hour on Monday, two hours on Tuesday and four hours on Wednesday. How many hours will it rain on Thursday?

    a. 5

    b. 6

    c. 8

    d. Don't know

    1. Not also known as SC
      Angel

      Re: Gov't tests

      Is the answer 7?

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Gov't tests

        God only knows

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is the answer 7?

        No, it's 25.

        Check your calendar!

    2. LaeMing
      Meh

      That's rather clever actually,

      if the intent is to weed out people who would rather pull a number out of their butts than admit they don't know the answer. Oh, it is for the Government. Never mind...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gov't tests

      It rained for one hour on Monday, two hours on Tuesday and four hours on Wednesday. How many hours will it rain on Thursday?

      a. 5

      b. 6

      c. 8

      d. Don't know

      Better question - how many hours will it rain on Saturday?

      1. hplasm
        Big Brother

        Re: Gov't tests

        1.You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down...

        2. Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gov't tests

          Ah or the allmighty IQ question that always bugs me

          If all A's are B's and all B's are Cs, all A's are definately C's.

          The answer they want is yes, all As are Cs, but if the correct parts are subsituted in, all As are not the same as all Cs

          And it bugs me every time, because I know if I tick "not enough information" i'll lose points!

          1. Vic

            Re: Gov't tests

            > I know if I tick "not enough information" i'll lose points

            As you should, because there is enough information.

            If all As are Bs and all Bs are Cs, all As are definitely Cs.

            What you cannot say is whether or not all Cs are As. But you weren't asked to...

            Vic.

        2. electricmonk

          Re: Gov't tests

          Let me tell you about my mother -

        3. tomban
          Terminator

          Re: Gov't tests

          Tortoise? What's that?

      2. Rukario
        Joke

        Re: Gov't tests

        It rained for one hour on Monday, two hours on Tuesday and four hours on Wednesday. How many hours will it rain on Thursday?

        a. 5

        b. 6

        c. 8

        d. Don't know

        Better question - how many hours will it rain on Saturday?

        32.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Gov't tests

      The test is designed to find out if you can recognize a geometric series.

      The real purpose of these test is to discover are your parents competitive or smart enough to convince you that being good at these tests is important.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Gov't tests

        >The test is designed to find out if you can recognize a geometric series.

        But disqualifies all those that know that rainfall doesn't follow a geometric series.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Gov't tests

          "But disqualifies all those that know that rainfall doesn't follow a geometric series."

          Or whose ideation is fixed to the point of having an Aspergers spectrum disorder or who has the literal mindedness necessary to hold down a job as (for example) a minor bureaucrat at the DWP.

          I'm not trying to be cruel, merely pointing out the "back story" these questions use is typically laughable. That's not the point.

          Don't challenge the question. Challenge the basis of the whole test.

    6. Euripides Pants

      Re: Gov't tests

      e. apple

  6. Helena Handcart
    Big Brother

    Aside from its sinister Orwellian questioning, question 13 doesn't make sense:

    I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition.

    What is a frequent stand? Some compulsion to leap out of my seat perhaps. Difficult to do when you're being waterboarded I'd imagine.

    1. Muscleguy

      It's obviously designed to determine if the jobseekers are Wolverine so able to cut your way out of the waterboarding restraints and disembowel the guards.

      If so then they have a job for you in a meat processing plant making horse look just like beef. Saves on the knife costs for your employers.

    2. Corinne

      "I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition."

      This just can't be answered out of context. Have I taken these frequent stands because I'm willing to fight for what is right, or have I taken them because I'm a stubborn bitch who won't ever admit I could be wrong? Does my job require me to challenge others, or does it require me to keep clients happy?

      Plus, please define "frequent" - are we talking about 2-3 times every year on average, or 2-3 times every day?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I nearlly got fired for that. Manager not doing her job correctly, staff having to carry around thousands in cash while the store was still open without insurance, or security, literally it was in a ziplock bag which we had to carry in view of the cameras AND EVERYBODY ELSE.

        Complain to manager (above teh useless one) and get a new one ripped for my 'attitude'.

        Admitadly a few days later they got ripped a new one. One of the people in my department called HR for the company and made a complaint... Both maangers got in a lot of shit apparently.

        After that I basically kept my head down, and gave up complaining about all the shit since there was no point (so many health code violatiosn there too)

        Now at my new job I get in trouble for NOT pointing out all the shit going on and when people aren't doing their jobs right. Exact opposite.

        Moral of the story? In a good job expressing your opinion and trying to improve the company is a good thing. In retail it's the mindless drone who makes least noise and kisses the most ass who'll make it farthest. Anyone with half a braincell and some kind of work ethic is doomed.

      2. Matt 21

        "I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition."

        Well I took a couple of other peoples stands when we were setting up in the market the other day. The others didn't like it and it's not the first time I've done it!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          "I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition."

          I tried it at Chelsea once, I thought their new stand would look good for our school sports field.

          They didn't like it.

    3. Frankee Llonnygog

      I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition

      It's to see if you're suited to working in an S&M dungeon.

  7. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    It's a test of employability all right....

    The employability of the people responsible for authorising the use of this farce.

    If they are full-time civil servants they should be immediately suspended pending disciplinary action, which should result in their dismissal or transfer to being a traffic warden on Rockall. If they are politicians then they should be simply sacked and their offences made very, very public.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the point

    Even if the test does show people are employable, that's not the point. You can be a genius with a string of PhDs, a congenial personality, and a great team player. But if no one is offering a job, none of that helps you in the least.

  9. chrullrich
    IT Angle

    What a farce.

    This "test" is completely contained in one HTML page. All the questions, all the answers, even the "scoring" logic. It scored my eyes, all right.

    It goes through the "answers" in pairs. For every pair, it adds the indexes of the selected "answers", counting the odd-numbered questions bottom-to-top and the even-numbered questions top-to-bottom, so as to slightly obfuscate the relation between "answer" index and result. The 24 predefined "strengths" are then ranked by these results, and the five highest-ranked ones are shown to the hapless victim.

  10. Blofeld's Cat
    Facepalm

    Again?

    Being terribly old* I can remember when tests like this were all the rage.

    Over the years I have been asked for samples of handwriting (for graphology purposes), to pick colours from a chart (so that my "colour profile" could be determined) and to assemble misshapen bits of plastic (to test my "spacial awareness").

    I don't really think these tests helped in establishing my suitability for a job, but they did warn me of what I was going to be up against if I took the contract.

    * Age > 25 (Agency definition)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      Those are great fun.

      You just ask, very loudly in front of HR and other applicants.

      Oh I understand - you use the handwriting on the form to check if I'm a women and the colour selection to test my racial background?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    terrified benefit-claimants

    oxymoron

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: terrified benefit-claimants

      I have a friend with cancer and she has had to go on the dole because the treatment is long and debilitating. She was subject to some harassment for being a work-dodger, until she dragged herself into the local job centre, looking like a corpse, and they stopped. She was indeed terrified to be cut off, as then she would have been ill, homeless and starving. I wonder what the quiz would have made of her abilities?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shown to improve their chances FOI request, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE

    I would love to see them trying - and failing - to prove their own statement:

    The department's spokesperson said:

    "It is an evidence-based test, which has been shown to improve their chances of getting into work.”

    I doubt they can produce anything but hey, let's show some evidence of faith in our masters' servants.

  13. Ralph B
    Boffin

    Applied Placebo Effect?

    I suspect they're trying to apply the placebo effect and if it really is evidence-based, as they claim, then it may well be working. Or at least it was until The Reg comes along and tells everyone it's nonsense.

    It's nearly always wrong to say "it's just a placebo" since placebos demonstrably do work. (That's why it's called an "effect") In this case I think it's going something like this:

    1) Ask applicants a long series of important sounding questions;

    2) Ignore answers given;

    3) Pay applicants a series of compliments which will boost their self-esteem and motivation by some small measure;

    4) Applicants now have a slightly better chance of getting a job.

    The results will be measurable - and are most probably in the claimed evidence. As such it is a Good Thing and doesn't really need being exposed to derision. (Or indeed potentially bubble-bursting explanations from myself.)

    Sometimes we should just "Shush!", pretend to take it all very seriously, and let the magic of science (yes, even psychology!) do its thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

      Does placebo still work if you know it's a placebo?

      1. Number6

        Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

        Psychology only works on the unaware.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does placebo still work if you know it's a placebo?

        There is evidence that it does, yes. See for example http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/dec/22/placebo-effect-patients-sham-drug.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re:Does placebo still work if you know it's a placebo?

        yes, but in the opposite direction. Although, if you're unemployed, I can't see how you can become less unemployed. I guess they would say you're even less employable...

      4. mtp

        Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

        Crazy as it sounds it actually does. When I was a teenager I had asthma and I had a inhaler that relieved the symptoms for a few hours. Unfortunately I could only use it a few times per day so each use tended to run out before I could take the next one. The first step in using it was to give it a vigorous shake and I noticed that my symptoms got better during the shake before I actually used it. I experimented with this and as long as I only did it occasionally just shaking the inhaler and not using it helped for about 10 minutes. Very strange and I don't understand it but true.

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: Very strange and I don't understand it but true.

          That's classic Pavlovian conditioned response.

    2. Steve 13
      Thumb Down

      Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

      If everyone takes the "test" and everyone has their self esteem raised....

      Then the chances of each individual getting a job are unchanged.

      1. cnapan

        Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

        No not necessarily true.

        Someone resigned to life on the dole in a shithole of a place where there's no work to be had, with no chance of it in the future may be helped out of the well of depression just enough to realise that if they go somewhere there *are* jobs.

        Right now, the system doesn't do anything at all for people who, through birth, have found themselves where the jobs aren't and are never likely to be again.

        I'd prefer the government gave help to allow people to relocate from jobless shitholes and retrain, rather than subsidise a miserable wasted life on the dole... it'd be cheaper for a start, wouldn't it, despite the initial outlay, what with them ending up as economically productive people again who in turn create economic demand?

        1. Corinne

          Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

          Sadly it's no longer a case of areas where there are jobs vs areas where there aren't. Instead it's areas where unemployment is higher or lower than the average - I don't think there are any areas in the UK where there are more jobs than job seekers nowadays.

          1. BrownishMonstr

            Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

            I think it's the Government's fault for investing a lot in London and little elsewhere.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

        "If everyone takes the "test" and everyone has their self esteem raised...."

        But if some people took it again - their esteem would be doubled each time

    3. skwalker1964

      Re: Applied Placebo Effect?

      You've forgotten one (should really be #1):

      Terrify applicant by threatening to sanction their benefits if they don't comply.

      That's what makes this really sinister - and probably illegal, since the 'jobseekers' direction' doesn't even meet the DWP's own validity criteria: http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/dwp-fake-psych-test-order-illegal-according-to-dwp/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Terrify applicant ...

        http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.4928

        "If cooperation is likely punish mildly: Insights from economic experiments based on the snowdrift game"

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Applied Placebo Effect? @ Ralph B

      If this came before me in my role as member of a research ethics committee, it wouldn't get past me. It is sneaky, unethical, and just plain lying. Far better to be honest and say "Actually, there are some areas you need to improve, because at the moment you need support/treatment/just sit still while we send the nice men in clean white coats round". Actual therapists and counsellors with their minds on helping the individual (not meeting targets) are required, since many long-term unemployed really do need a chance to look at life a different way, and realise that they at least have the potential to be someone that matters. Issuing platitudes like Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's products is not going to help anyone.

  14. Number6

    Positive Thinking

    They have to be positive about it, imagine the effect if they did actually give an answer telling someone he was an obnoxious little shit and they fully understood why no one had employed him.

    1. Uffish

      Re: Positive Thinking

      Yes but somewhere along the line there has to be some element of reality. This "test" is just crap.

      I don't think mindless platitudes will motivate your obnoxious little shit (are all the unemployed like that?).

  15. Philolai
    Stop

    Is this The Register...

    ...or The Daily Mail? The Behavioural Insights Team seems to do good work - see, for example, the work they did on changing Council Tax demands to increase the response rate. I don't see what's wrong in trying different things to see what works in getting people back into work and then implementing those things which are shown to have a positive effect. As long as it's cost-effective I don't care if they propose taking every benefit recipient on a day trip to the zoo.

    We must be lead by evidence, and not be put off things because they sound a bit silly.

    1. Steve 13

      Re: Is this The Register...

      Is there any evidence that this particular bit of policy is being lead by any evidence?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: is there any evidence

        yes, it's evident that the evidence is, that the spokesperson says it is evidence-based. Never mind the actual evidence of this evidence, we all know that excel sheets can go wrong, take my word for it, I'm a spokesperson of a Government Department.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this The Register...

      After a spike in car thefts, a police force ran a campaign to encourage people to park their cars in garages. When it didn't work, they realised why: as with lofts, most people’s garages are full of junk, which means they can’t park their cars. So the police placed skips on each road, with a notice saying they’re free for dumping garage rubbish. “Hey presto – the skips were filled, the cars were put away and car thefts went down,” [David Halpern, director of the 'Nudge Unit'] recalls. “That’s the lesson we’re learning — make it easy for people. Sounds obvious, but often that isn’t what we do in government.”

      Then there’s Halpern’s pet project — one he’s initially coy to share — on the subject of testicular cancer. Persuading men to check themselves regularly is one thing, he says. But even when they do, they’re unsure what to feel for. “So my idea is giving out a squeezable executive toy, containing a healthy testicle shape and an abnormal shape,” he grins. “It’s just another subtle way to educate people.”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Persuading men to check themselves

        this is a woman's job!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Persuading men to check themselves

          re: womans' job

          I don't know about yours, but I don't think mine knows what a cancerous testicle feels like. Come to think of it, neither do I.

          I just asked her, and she said no.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Is this The Register...

        "“So my idea is giving out a squeezable executive toy, containing a healthy testicle shape and an abnormal shape,” he grins. “It’s just another subtle way to educate people.”"

        Now try that with prostrate cancer.

        Not quite so easy.

    3. skwalker1964

      Re: Is this The Register...

      From my reseatch on the topic, it appears that the council tax thing was a case of, er, 'overclaiming' by the BIT. The changes were planned before they got involved and would have happened anyway..

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Is this The Register...

      "he Behavioural Insights Team seems to do good work - see, for example, the work they did on changing Council Tax demands to increase the response rate."

      That's admirable.

      Do they ever stare at goats also?

  16. Dave 126 Silver badge

    "You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself."

    Haha, that made me think of Rab C. Nesbitt...

    Here's Rab making his views clear to all down the dole office:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k7VoFiagfs

  17. TaffiaCapoDeTuttiCapo

    Flawed approach to a layered one

    A missing piece of the puzzle at last!

    Welfare spending needs to be cut as it's unsustainable and Government policy over the last 30 years has created a sense of entitlement amongst the poorest and most marginalised, stifling social mobility.

    They need 4 things to make it work:

    1. The threat of phased benefits cuts (stick).

    2. Increased spending on vocational skills that employers actually need (recently proposed in parliament by Gove).

    3. Creation of jobs through investment (tax breaks for companies etc).

    4. A comprehensive information operations (PsyOps) plan to provide Normative Social Influence strong enough to overcome the innate sense of entitlement and surety in the person collecting benefits.

    This test is obviously a very poorly implemented #4

    I expect to see much stronger images and propaganda in the media in future as this "being on benefits harms the country/destroys your children's future" message is pushed out.

    Problem is that most people who are on benefits live in close proximity to others who are also on benefits and they affirm one another's actions.

    BTW I don't agree with elements of this, but it is interesting to watch...

    1. Corinne

      Re: Flawed approach to a layered one

      Um doesn't your argument rely on the assumption that people who are out of work are self-entitled layabouts who don't see the point in working if they can live off the state? And presumably live quite well, as you recommend cutting benefits thereby implying that people could still keep a roof over their heads, eat, and even occasionally have luxuries like toilet roll, or washing powder, or shower gel, on less money than the current JSA.

      1. TaffiaCapoDeTuttiCapo

        Re: Flawed approach to a layered one

        Not at all. But coming from a working class background and seeing it first hand, the people who want to work will always find a way of overcoming adversity, especially when help is afforded us. The intractable white elephant in the room that no one wants to address is the dependency culture that has been created. I'm not vilifying anyone, just stating that if the government are going to deal with this sub-group of benefit claimants, they have to use a multi-layered approach. Cutting the legs out from beneath people on benefits through cuts without additional measures will only lead to civil unrest. Probably on the scale we saw in Croydon.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Flawed approach to a layered one

          I agree. I have rarely ever met anyone that doesn't work in that background (I'm from the same working class background as you). Many work "on the side" because they couldn't afford to lose the benefits, some put a great deal of effort into getting as much money out of the system as they can, others steal, and many look after elderly/sick/young relatives and get absolutely no money whatsoever for it from the State or anywhere else.

          There aren't that many "layabouts" - it is a product of the Protestant work-ethic we're saddled with that makes some kinds of work better than others. Let's have a basic income for everyone, and then let people choose how to live their lives.

          1. TaffiaCapoDeTuttiCapo

            Re: Flawed approach to a layered one

            Lol! I know what you mean, my dad used to say that if people put as much effort into doing the things they should be doing as avoiding them...

            The situation where people who work have to 'top up' their wages with benefits because of poor wages is abhorrent. Everyone who works should get a wage that they can live on.

            Viva la Revolution!

          2. Vic

            Re: Flawed approach to a layered one

            > Many work "on the side" because they couldn't afford to lose the benefits

            This is the core of the problem, IMHO.

            In an effort to reduce the overall benefits bill, assorted governments have made it very easy to come off benefits, but very hard to get back on if it all falls through.

            I'd like to see a phased return; you keep your benefits in return for ~60% tax rate at your job.

            Vic.

  18. BD 1
    FAIL

    The domain registration of behaviourlibrary.com is revealing. Not British but American. What cr*p have the Government been buying from the US cod psycho pedlars?

    Registered through: Apis Networks

    Domain Name: BEHAVIOURLIBRARY.COM

    Created on: 17-Nov-11

    Expires on: 17-Nov-13

    Last Updated on: 18-Sep-12

    Registrant:

    Domains By Proxy, LLC

    DomainsByProxy.com

    14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309

    Scottsdale, Arizona 85260

    United States

    Administrative Contact:

    Private, Registration BEHAVIOURLIBRARY.COM@domainsbyproxy.com

    Domains By Proxy, LLC

    DomainsByProxy.com

    14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309

    Scottsdale, Arizona 85260

    United States

    (480) 624-2599 Fax -- (480) 624-2598

    Technical Contact:

    Private, Registration BEHAVIOURLIBRARY.COM@domainsbyproxy.com

    Domains By Proxy, LLC

    DomainsByProxy.com

    14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309

    Scottsdale, Arizona 85260

    United States

    (480) 624-2599 Fax -- (480) 624-2598

    Domain servers in listed order:

    NS1.APISNETWORKS.COM

    NS2.APISNETWORKS.COM

    Registry Status: clientDeleteProhibited

    Registry Status: clientRenewProhibited

    Registry Status: clientTransferProhibited

    Registry Status: clientUpdateProhibited

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fail yourself.

      Just because the registrar is an American firm tells you nothing about who the actual registrant is, particularly since they're using an anonymisation service.

      1. Number6

        Re: Fail yourself.

        behaviourlibrary.com appears to be hosted in Atlanta, Georgia. It still doesn't tell you who the registrant is, but it does mean the data is available to the US government.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds as effective...

      As plastic handles labelled "Bomb detectors"!

  19. swampdog

    "Since The Register phoned the Department of Work and Pensions for a comment, the test appears to have been fixed up a bit in that you can no longer simply click through and get results without answering any questions."

    Opera->ctrl U->SaveAs strength00.htm

    $ diff -u strengths00.htm strengths01.htm

    --- strengths00.htm 2013-04-25 10:23:39.593750000 +0100

    +++ strengths01.htm 2013-04-25 10:16:55.046875000 +0100

    @@ -32,7 +32,7 @@

    saveAnswer(form);

    currentQuestion++;

    changeQuestion(form);

    - form.next.disabled = true;

    + form.next.disabled = false;

    };

    function previousButton(form) {

    @@ -129,7 +129,7 @@

    }

    function atLeastOneRadio() {

    - return ($$('input[type=radio]:checked').size() > 0);

    + return ($$('input[type=radio]:checked').size() >= 0);

    }

    </script>

    Drag back into Opera. Click first element. Now you too can continue to skip the remainder of the questions. Bearing in mind I know nothing about web development does this make me a genius or a subversive git? I suspect it's more the case the page code is so "obvious" that even I can stumble upon their quick "fixes".

    1. John G Imrie
      Black Helicopters

      It makes you ...

      an evil computer hacker.

      Please lie on the floor with your head towards the door. A behavioural correction worker will be with you soon.

      Thank you for your cooperation.

  20. theastrodragon
    Devil

    Plenty of jobs

    "El Reg took the test and deliberately chose the most negative answers. This should have painted a picture of a sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt."

    Of course you're employable. You sound like perfect material for a job as a Member of Parliament.

    1. Tel Starr
      Joke

      Re: Plenty of jobs

      Actually that sounds about right for an El Reg reporter.

  21. BD 1
    Alert

    The net archive on behaviourlibrary.com is also curious.A huge list of papers on behaviour.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20120527223918/http://behaviourlibrary.com/

  22. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Coat

    But even if you prove these wankers have done something illegal, they'll only change the law to make it retrospectively legal. I don't have a coat so I'll take any one that's spare.

  23. Dr Scrum Master
    WTF?

    Question 1: I'm curious about the world which is unlike me...

    Question 4: but museums are on my way anyway

    Question 5: they're mixing tenses!

    Question 8: I don't have any friends...

    Question 18: ditto

    Question 19: it wasn't last month...

    now I'm bored...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Essex

    the DWP said the test had only been used in Essex...

    That's all right then :-)

    1. skwalker1964

      Re: Essex

      Yes they did - which is another outright lie, since the instruction letter to take this test was given to a claimant some 300 miles north of there.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Essex

      I though this test was on the Internet. Does Essex have its own Intranet?

  25. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Unhappy

    In a world in which printing money is seen as a fix for economic problems, "deficits don't matter" and "we owe it to ourselves" while trillion dollar bailouts make sure the deep wallets of the Well-Connected-Ones stay topped up with minimal effort at the cost of the taxpayer and their children, who is astonished about such little smalltime retardation?

  26. Tom 13
    Joke

    Wait a minute!

    Isn't a a sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt exactly the sort of person The Register is looking for to write articles?

  27. wowfood
    Joke

    El Reg took the test and deliberately chose the most negative answers. This should have painted a picture of a sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt.

    So you filled it in with the same answers of the average commentard?

  28. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Not wholly wrong, then.

    'If you click through without answering a single question, as Skwawkbox did, the system still praises your “love of learning, curiosity and originality” and your apparent capacity for “critical thinking”.'

    I don't know about the first part, but I'd say that clicking through without answering does sound like critical thinking.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just did the test...

    No cat videos, no LOLZ, no wall, no trolls.

    If this leads to work, I don't want it.

  30. OzBob
    Trollface

    Is it just me or did reading the quote

    "sociopathic layabout who is violently opposed to work, totally devoid of intellect and incapable of treating other people with anything but venomous contempt" made me hear the opening riffs of "Lust for Life" by Ziggy Pop in my head?

    1. veganhead

      Re: Is it just me or did reading the quote

      That should be Iggy Pop. Don't get his name wrong, he bites.

      1. OzBob

        Re: Is it just me or did reading the quote

        Have you actually SEEN the movie? While not high?

        (Hint: Girls in disco bathroom talking about "shopping" while guys sit in lounge talking about "football".)

  31. Flywheel Silver badge
    FAIL

    Oh I feel so HAPPY!

    Blimey - from the (fake) answers I gave, I would say that my next job should be an understudy for Marvin the Paranoid Android. But no, my results would have me believe a life in PR, or perhaps Counselling would not be out of the question.

    No wonder some young people have such an unrealistic expectation of being employed and finding a real job! Innit.

  32. uberbloke

    Just "View Source" on the final page to see the magic at work...

    see subject

    1. Jerry Bakewell

      Re: Just "View Source" on the final page to see the magic at work...

      Yep it's all there in Javascript and HTML - in fact you don't need to go to the last page it's all contained in a single page.

      No matter how disconsolate you may be your answers will pseudo randomly attribute to you 5 of these 'strengths':

      var strengthNames = new Array("Curiosity", "Love of learning", "Critical Thinking", " Originality", "Social Intelligence", "Perspective", "Bravery", "Dedication", "Honesty", "Kindness", "Loving", "Teamwork", "Fairness", "Leadership", "Self Control", "Carefulness", "Modesty", "Appreciation of Culture", "Gratitude", "Optimism", "Spirituality", "Forgiveness", " Humour", "Enthusiasm")

      massively long list of "var strengthDescriptions" snipped by mod - if we have to click 96 times to get to the full source code, so can you lot!

  33. I think so I am?
    Holmes

    No sh*t

    I am rarely as excited about the good fortune of others as I am about my own?

  34. bag o' spanners
    Devil

    placeboh!

    I want one of those there placebo bomb detectors "our brave boys" use in Iraq.. Gubmint approved, so they must be good.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a thought....

    For arguements sake lets say every benefit claimant took this test, and every single one was told that they had skills making them ideal for employment. X% Ignore it since they know they cannot work, X% accept it and still ignore it, X% apply for a job and are unsuccessful, whether due to more qualified applicants beating them or simply not actually being suitable for the role, and X% who were classified as unemployable go out, get a job and stop claiming benefits, isn't this a good thing overall?

    Surely regardless of ANY tests, the only real measure of whether someone can work is.... well.... whether they can work.

    Unless I misunderstood, getting a positive result doesn't make a person ineligible for benefits does it?

    The reason I mention this is that a while back I was officially classed as "Unable to work" and eligible for long term SSP (Recovering from surgery and signed off for 6-9 months). My employer were happy for me to work if the Dr signed it off, so I spoke to him and he cleared me to do my recovering at a desk instead of in front of Jeremy Kyle. There must be SOME people out there that could also do this, whether due to sickness, disability etc. Perhaps a positive nudge in the right direction could convince them to give themselves a try when previously they didn't think they could?

    1. Corinne

      Re: Just a thought....

      You're missing one important point there AC - there just aren't enough jobs for all the people chasing them. So even if someone from your 4th group does get a job they may not have got otherwise, it will be at the expense of the person who would have got the job.

      The number of jobs available doesn't change, the number of people looking for work doesn't change, it just means person A gets the only job in town rather than person B.

  36. Frankee Llonnygog

    Psychological tests are crap

    I challenged our HR people that I would game the test next time they forced us to fill out a Belbin questionnaire. Sure enough, it flagged me up as CEO material, just as I had predicted. My method when answering the questions was just to think, now, how would Hitler answer this?

    1. Red Bren
      Joke

      Re: Psychological tests are crap

      How would Godwin answer it?

  37. Terry 6 Silver badge

    I just tried it too.

    Made all my answers either totally negative or almost so. Pretty much as the El Reg attempt, I guess.

    And frankly, the white coats that compiled this test must be real geniuses. Despite my negative, selfish and insensitive answers it still managed to realise what a wonderful warm hearted person I was.

    (Note, the language used and mixing of negative and positive statements would make it difficult for anyone with poor literacy skills to complete this test correctly - I'm a literacy specialist, as it happens so that's the sort of thing I watch out for).

  38. heyrick Silver badge
    WTF?

    Vague

    “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year”

    Some might consider creating a child to be a thing of beauty, others might think a good algorithm expressed in the most concise code, others might perceive their graffiti to be a work of art. Questions like this are stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Questions like “I have not created anything of beauty in the last year” are stupid.

      Maybe it is really not important what the thing is, merely that the respondent thinks it beautiful, and thinks that they created it.

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Google says Loughton is down the road from Buckhurst Hill

    Did Domic Oconnor, your resident ex Quant headhunter take it by any chance?

    Enquiring minds want to know, and did he experience "joy joy feelings" at the outcome?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    No surprises. IIRC owning up to having a pet is used by ATOS as prima facia evidence you are mentally and physically able to work.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so what?

    we're bombarded by propaganda about how you should "feel no shame" for sitting on the dole while watching the big screen TV and getting season tickets to your favorite sports team. Unions and everyone to the political left telling you "it's not your fault" that you dropped out of school because dealing dope made more money and education was for "uncle toms" or "fools". We don't need no education, after all.

    So reverse that, a little positive reinforcement, a reminder that yes, even the "poor cancer stricken mom who cannot work and is afraid of losing her dole." can STILL contribute a lot to society and earn her own way, as there is plenty of union-supported civil service type paper pushing that she could easily manage from home or report writing that could be done by telecommute.

    How DARE the government promote positive awareness instead of promoting the victim mentality to keep everyone under their thumb, their purchases monitored, their income and housing all under the control of whatever social experimental rules the local offices subscribe to?

    Being encouraged to pull one's head outta their arse is NOT the same as being "cut off".

    1. Corinne
      FAIL

      Re: so what?

      So the "poor cancer stricken mom who cannot work and is afraid of losing her dole" works, in significant amounts of pain & distress, and the perfectly fit person doesn't get a job.

      When will some of the commentators here understand that there just aren't enough jobs to go around, and that there are many multiples of people genuinely trying to get a job than there are vacancies? Jobs are being cut all around with mass redundancies, and very few new jobs are being created. Add to this the number of disabled people who have been declassified "as an incentive to find work", and the fact that the retirement age is rising so people are working longer, and you can see how things don't add up any more.

      Oh and the "feel no shame" thing? Try being out of work & signing on, they seem to use every trick in the book to try to make you feel shame if you don't manage to get a job within a couple of months.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: so what?

        " Try being out of work & signing on, they seem to use every trick in the book to try to make you feel shame if you don't manage to get a job within a couple of months."

        Not surprisingly.

        Some have very high quotas of claimants they have to "sanction"

        Latest wheeze, making updating the online "notepad" for the Universal Orifice mandatory so they can monitor you automatically.

        Bad news for job centre staff. I see a "reduction in force" coming real soon now.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: so what?

      "we're bombarded by propaganda about how you should "feel no shame" for sitting on the dole while watching the big screen TV and getting season tickets to your favorite sports team. "

      Really?

      This would be on Sky New?

      The Daily jailbait Mail?

      The Jeremy Kyle Show perhaps?

    3. skwalker1964

      Re: so what?

      This was EXACTLY the same as being "cut off" - take this test of we'll sanction your benefits.

      There are 2.5m unemployed people and less than 500,000 jobs for them to fill. Even assuming there is a suitably-skilled person to fill every vacancy, that's still more than 2m people for whom there is no job, no matter how much they want one.

      Typical closed-minded right-wing thinking. :(

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: so what?

      Which planet do you live on AC? It certainly bears no resemblance to where I live.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like horoscopes and fortune cookies

    This test sounds like horoscopes and fortune cookies.

    And "Meet singles in your area" ads.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Gizza Job!

    As did your Reg reporter, I answered every question in the most negative way possible, making myself out to be a lazy, feckless, grudge bearing, anti-social, good-for-nothing and got the following results:

    Strength 1. Modesty

    You do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Others recognize and value your modesty.

    Strength 2. Humour

    You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

    Strength 3. Fairness

    Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

    Strength 4. Originality

    Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

    Strength 5. Social Intelligence

    You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Wow the test heavily distorts the results, and it could be more indirect with less leading questions

  45. Nifty Silver badge

    BOFH

    so you answered the questions as an average BOFH honestly would, to do the fail case test?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Their real purpose... is sinister.

    You all assume the purpose of the test is either

    a) to assist the unemployed in gaining employment

    or

    b) to convince the unemployed they could gain employment.

    But the real answer is:

    c) To identify all the malcontents and dangerous "persons of interest" who fill out the form in ways that would make a BOFH shudder, and add them to The List. Congratulations to everybody who filled out the test in the worst possible way: your IP has been noted, and every camera will now track you as you go about your life.

  47. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Arbeit macht Frei

    Wasn't perhaps the best mission slogan for the new department

  48. king of foo
    Pint

    fixed it for you

    "...claimants committing suicide because of the fear of losing their benefits is..."

    ...arguably a win-win.

    less job seekers = less competition if you are presently unemployed = less of working peoples taxes spent on benefits = more public funds to fight inflation = CHEAPER BEER

  49. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The irony is so many of those *non* computer literate candidate are *exactly* right.

    No drive.

    Just want a job.

    Do as they are told.

    and (best of all) completely non threatening to the deeply incapable layers of UK management who live in terror of actually having to deal with a subordinate disagreeing with them or (nightmare) asking them for a long term plan to follow (requiring them to formulate such a plan in the first place).

    Pity these "perfect" candidates will never be seen by managers who would think them perfect.

  50. C. P. Cosgrove
    Thumb Down

    Fun, fun, fun

    I just went through this out of ( morbid ? ) curiosity, ticking 'Neutral' to everything. Got told that I am creative and go out of my way to visit museums, art galleries etc.. There is some truth in this - I visited Louvre-Lens two weeks ago ! Haven't had as much fun with a questionnaire in years !

    As a reliable indicator of work skills ?

    I am reminded of a former neighbour of mine who was nearly 60. He had had a slight stroke and was blind in one eye. The local Job Centre sent him for an interview as a security guard on a building site !

    Chris Cosgrove

  51. Andrew Jones 2
    Thumb Down

    Right where to begin?

    1) Mixing of tenses - if the government cannot even be literate online - what hope for the next generation?!

    2) It seems to test can only be accessed by visiting "strengths.php" at "behaviourlibrary.com" - could they be any more obvious about what the test is really for?

    3) Does every Job seeker have access to an internet-connected computer and a printer now then? I know it seems like a good idea - but paper and ink costs money - if you have to go to the library to do this test and print it out - it's 2 A4 pages in colour - that's anywhere from 25p to £1 depending on the library - those who don't think that's relevant have never had to live on the dole.

    4) If someone visits www.behaviourlibrary.com without adding "strengths.php" (since most people will probably actually open a browser and type behaviourlibrary into Google - seriously - I do computer free computer courses for older people - you wouldn't believe how many times they Google ASDA and Tesco to do their shopping - and yes the IT Crowd favourite - older people Google "Google".... anyhow if one visits the root site - one is presented with a very scary looking "FORBIDDEN"

    Finally - if you can't be bothered clicking (I got bored after 16 questions) just typing into the address bar javascript:currentQuestion=48; and click an answer and then next and you will have completed all the questions......

  52. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Lot of +ve comments from AC's on this topic

    Are you from monster.com, developers of this iteration of the Universal Jobmatch (which cannot in fact match a specific job ID if you give it one) or or the professional torturers staff motivators at behaviourlibrary.com?

    Don't be shy.

    After all you are proud of your handiwork, are you not?

    I'm sure you also subscribe to the theory that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear as well.

  53. ilegal

    VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE TEST

    Hi, you can also see the walkthrough of the 'test' on YouTube - 5 runs through, controlled responses etc. The really interesting one I think is the "Love of Learning", which appears in every single report. You can see it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n62HGO_gQpo

    Or: youtube.com/watch?v=n62HGO_gQpo if that doesn't work

    Or if neither of those links are allowed on here, just search "love of learning" on YouTube

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Daily Mash's take ...

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/take-the-jobseekers-psychometric-test-2013050167329

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