Gov’t job requirements changed

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Gov’t job requirements changed

Starting this year, young job seekers will be able to apply for work at 130 state-run companies without including their family background, English-language test scores or university degree on their application form.

The central government signed a memorandum of understanding with the nation’s 130 public companies that requires them to hire employees not based on their family and education history but on their practical and relevant skills.

Under the new guidelines, which have already been implemented at about 30 public companies, applicants will only be asked to describe their former jobs and relevant work experience and their basic abilities such as leadership, competitiveness, communication skills and problem-solving.

The agreement was part of the government’s efforts to ease the burden on young people seeking to build up their “specs.” This refers to the abilities that employers will inquire about - schools attended, grades, English test scores, study abroad programs, certificates, awards, internships, volunteer work and perhaps even plastic surgery.

Minister of Strategy and Finance Choi Kyung-hwan, Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Ki-kwon and Vice Minister of Education Gim Chae-chun requested that officials from the government-run companies and organizations follow the new evaluation guidelines, called National Competency Standards, when hiring.

According to a sample application form released by the government, the new form only asks name, address, and mobile phone number for personal information.

The four education-related questions - whether the applicant has experience in human resources, business management, labor management, or psychological studies - require only a yes or no answer.

Following the questions, applicants are asked to fill in whether they had any working experience.

For the test, the traditional style of Korean language and mathematics tests will be abolished.

Some tests regarding applicants’ majors will be also scrapped. They will be replaced by a new type of questions related to common abilities required for certain positions or specific skills needed for the workplace.

Questions for the interviews will be specified, such as asking for a possible solution in a certain case or situation.

According to the Employment Ministry, interviewers at government-run companies previously asked questions that were not relevant to work, such as, “Why do you think you don’t have a girlfriend?”

Yang Jae-hun, a 31-year-old regular employee at Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation, said that because of the new system, he was able to get the job even though he had a bachelor’s degree from a university located outside Seoul and a low English-language test score.

“My Toeic [Test of English for International Communication] score is only 520 and I did not graduate from an elite university in Seoul,” Yang said by phone. “But I obtained three certificates related to my work and also completed a one-year internship.”

“My HR mangers said they chose me because I was almost an experienced worker, with no need for training,” he added.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [kim.heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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