That unfair job application process at GSIS (Government Service Insurance System)

I never thought of writing this post. Documenting my experience of applying to this government agency.  However, a previous similar post is generating hits in my blog.  I once wrote my degrading experience with Metrobank. I figured out, a lot of people are trying to exploit the internet to secure tips, reviews about job application on particular companies.

I applied at GSIS twice. My first attempt happened three years ago. I browsed their website for careers and saw some vacancies within my field. I submitted my application via email and expected nothing. Months after, I received a response. I was asked to report for an examination. Unfortunately, my first attempt was unsuccessful. While it was a sad experience, I appreciate the agency’s gesture of reaching out to applicants. I was also told that I could reapply after six months.

Two years after, I went for a second chance. I checked the job postings and submitted my application via email. Same old story, I didn’t have high hopes. Two months after, I was surprised with another invitation to take the examination.I conditioned myself not to expect anything. In the middle of a busy work day of March of this year, I received an SMS. I passed the examination. Finally!!!! I was told to wait for further notice, as they will forward my application to the department concerned. Months passed again. It was only around May when I received a second invitation via email. There will be a second leg of pre-employment examination. This time, the examination will be administered by the department that holds the position I’m applying for.

June, July and August passed, I never received any word from the government agency. I took the initiative to send an email. I was feeling optimistic because I was able to satisfactorily answer all the questions. Added to it, the entire examination came in full essay type questions.

Just when your hopes are going up, a sad news will break everything

I received an email containing these words

We have given careful considerations to your application against the criteria we have specified for this position. However, we regret to inform you that on this occasion, you have not been shortlisted for interview.

Pardon my words, wtf!

I just had another case of an organization who doesn’t understand the proper system of recruitment and selection.

First, I was asking for the results of my second examination. I was not told whether I passed or failed. I’m beginning to believe and adhere to the idea that the second examination was designed for nothing. I will later explain how I landed on this conclusion.

Second, “careful considerations to your application against the criteria we have specified for the position.”

If my credentials were not sufficient for the position, I SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ASKED TO TAKE THE EXAMINATION.

One does not have to be an HR practitioner to understand this basic principle. You don’t reach out to applicants who are not qualified for the position.  It defeats the purpose of making applicants submit a comprehensive resume and answer a lengthy personal data sheet.

It appears to me that the agency doesn’t really screen applicants. They probably accommodate all applicants for the examination. Those who pass the initial examination will be forwarded to the respective department and voila, same process again. Email and ask everyone to come over for the second leg of the exam.

True enough, I discovered insider information from HR practitioners of other government agencies. Here’s what I learned.

  1. There are government agencies that don’t really screen applicants. They just ask everyone who submitted applications to report for the date of the examination. It’s a stupid practice they have to follow so they have proof / documentation that there was allegedly a fair selection process that happened.
  2. Internal applicants and kins of employees are given favor against external applicants.

Let me tell you the usual scene I experienced when I attended the two examinations. I noticed the the bulk of my fellow examinees are employees of GSIS. They usually arrive together, wore uniforms, have IDS and are being cheered by the employees in the Human Resources Department.  The same went during the second leg of my examination.

The second examination, which was administered by the department that holds my applied position, contained questions that are biased to internal applicants.

I applied for the Corporate Planning Group and was required rank and explain the core values of GSIS. I remember browsing the GSIS website a few days before. I never saw the core values posted. Obviously, the internal applicants have an obvious giveaway advantage. Nevertheless, I tried my best to answer all the “biased” questions.

I don’t think it’s fair to pair internal and external applicants under the same recruitment process and standards. The internal applicants will always have the advantage. If GSIS intends to favor internal applicants, then they should initially offer vacant position to internal applicants. Those that are not filled by internal applicants should become the content of job postings for external applicants. I believe a lot of BPOs in the Philippines implement this practice. They offer junior to manager positions to their internal or existing employees. What is left is later offered to the public. This is also the BPO’s way of giving opportunities for night shift employees to gain the much awaited day job.  Hey GSIS, it’s also  good to benchmark.

~~~~

I would like to believe that people currently reading this post are attempting to explore information about GSIS’s job application process. Unfortunately, I was not given the opportunity to reach the interview phase. Hence, my knowledge extends to the “biased” examinations I took. Instead of feeling frustrated, I might as well share the few details I remember.

The first examination I took contained multiple choice questions. I can’t exactly remember if it went from 50 to 100 items. It was a standardized examination developed by the Civil Service Commission.  Topics ranged from vocabulary, reading comprehension, reasoning and mathematics.

For vocabulary, the test evolved on finding the best synonym or antonym for a give word. A few of the words I remembered was woot, contrite…

In the case of reading comprehension and reasoning, I remember being tasked to arrange sentences to formulate a comprehensive paragraph.

For Mathematics, the classic find the missing pattern / values and some word problems were given.  It would be better if you can still read figures in exponential forms, divide and multiply decimals… manually.

Recalling how to solve age, coin, distance and vector problems in Algebra will be of great help as well.  Age problems that goes like, if John is twice as old ad Peter in 10 years and the sum of their ages is 10. What is Peter’s current age. I also remember answering questions about distance, time, speed and vectors.

~~~

My job application to GSIS may not be as worst as my experience with Metrobank. It went bad and frustrating on a different aspect. Bottomline, the playing field was not fair and equal. There are loopholes in their recruitment process.

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16 thoughts on “That unfair job application process at GSIS (Government Service Insurance System)

    • For me, I don’t want to say that there is bias in the way GSIS screen their applicants but I believe that you shouldn’t compare the hiring process of a BPO to a government agency because unlike BPOs, slots in government agencies are really limited and so you should have expected tighter competition (that’s why the positions are “itemized”). Also, I want to mention that info about core values, it can be seen in the website of GSIS. I believe you weren’t just able to see it. Lastly, I also want to point out that the email sent to you was already an indication that you didn’t pass the second examination. If you really wanted to clarify whether you passed or failed, you should have put more effort by contacting the HR thru phone call and not just thru email (as I learned from HR interview seminars). That way, you will be able to know directly from them the reason why you failed and also the HR could have possibly done something like for example refer you to another department that better suits you. Maybe it’s just like as you have said, you really didn’t expect much from your application.

      By the way, I’m not an employee of GSIS but I also tried to apply in other government agencies and based on my experience, their screening is similar to what you have stated. The competition is really tight. But I believe that whether it is a private company or government agency, they would really prioritize internal applicants rather than external applicants (especially for higher positions) and yet post vacancies in their websites in case they couldn’t find someone internally. It’s just a matter of whether you can perform and impress the department heads way better than those internal applicants.

      Overall, your post is a very informative story of your experience in applying with GSIS. It was a great read!!!

      • Hi Jason!

        I wasn’t directly comparing BPOs vs. GSIS or any other government agency. I recognize the tight competition and limited slots among government agencies. What I’m trying to emphasize is that government agencies can still improve their recruitment and hiring procedures by benchmarking from good practices of the private sector. Improvement doesn’t hurt, it makes everything better both for the consumers and end users.

        FYI, I did make means to further ask if I failed the second examination. I did not receive any response anymore.

        Core values, they launched a new set of core values prior to my examination date. I checked the website way beforehand and even after my examination.

        Job postings : I adhere to the fact that internal applicants should be prioritized. However, I held on to the idea that only job positions that were not filled by internal applicants should be posted for external applicants That way, we are not giving false hopes or opportunities for external applicants.

        Thanks for your comment.

      • “Lastly, I also want to point out that the email sent to you was already an indication that you didn’t pass the second examination. ”

        I think in any field or discipline, truthfulness is expected. It’s always better to directly tell the applicant his / her fate. And as I have explained, if my credentials were not enough for the position I applied for… I should not have been asked to take the exam. This should have been the work of the Recruitment or Talent Acquisition Officer.

  1. failure could mean you’re destined for something better.

    i suggest that you consider working overseas. as far as i know, canada is still welcoming skilled workers. why don’t you try to apply as an immigrant? you can do it yourself without assistance from anybody.

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/ctc-vac/ee-start.asp

    it would require that you pass an english proficiency test. you can take it from any of these locations:

    https://www.ielts.org/en-us/book-a-test/find-a-test-location/location-list/philippines/tv

    even if you’re not sure you want to immigrate, apply anyway. you’ve got nothing to lose. hold off on the worries for now. the decision to go or not to go is when your application has been approved.

  2. Worst thing happened to me in DILG, they told me I was hired and was required to submit several requirements, after I completed all those requirements and about to send them those, I recieved a message saying my application was transferred to another position, unfortunately I was not accepted for that position. I was so disappointed and embarassed.

  3. same experience.. but in other gov’t office… the item was posted like 3 years ago. Until now, wala parin kasi hinihintay pa daw nila pumasa ng CS yung kanilang Job Order Employee.. WTF talaga… kaka depressed sobrang ko pang review para maka pasa sa CS Exam then so excited to apply kasi yun lang lacking sakin.

  4. Sad reality for our government. That’s why corruption is rampant in our country.
    I remember working at a government. Our co-worker got a higher position despite being new and not passing the CSC but because she knows the mayor and someone on the inside.

  5. I felt bad about what you had experienced, which was also similar to mine. I passed the exam, interview, the interview panel clearly all voted for me but the problem: the regional director disapproved because he wanted to and chose another inside employee and his reason was “to promote others before hiring outsiders”. My point is nobody knows if that person went the same recruitment process as mine, and if they were going to promote someone, they shouldn’t have let me pass that interview! That was absurd and hurtful on my part, but that’s the sad reality.

    • Hi! Sorry to hear your experience. I don’t have any complains about internal employees being prioritised for higher positions. However, just like what you had experienced, I hope they don’t anymore consider external applicants if they have preferences for internal applicants. They are being unfair in the sense that external applicants are given false hopes. They already have a decision long before another external applicant is making all means to surpass their requirements.

      “they shouldn’t have let me pass that interview! That was absurd and hurtful on my part, but that’s the sad reality.” exactly my sentiments

      I’m not just sure if this unfair practice fulfils a certain process requirement in govt service. I think govt agencies need to prove that there were options made …. there were other applicants considered, other than the internal applicant / existing employee got the position. It’s making it appear that there was a fair recruitment and selection process. This sucks and of the years they were existing, no one bothered to improve this requirement….

  6. Hi, just my two cents. It seemed you think that GSIS favored internal applicants but in reality all is fair for external and internal. There were already 9 external applicants who were hired as permanent employees in bacolod branch but the Job order personnel who were working at the branch for 2-3 years and a permanent employee who applied for the position(internal applicant) were not hired because they weren’t able to meet some qualifications like passed the HR exam or have an eligibility. You should pass the exam first prior to the interview.

    • Hi au! I don’t think you get my point. GSIS should improve their recruitment process. Instead of simultaneously offering a vacant position to both extetnal and external applicants, they should prioritize the internal applicants. Once all internal applicants have been exhausted, they can start offering the vacant position to external applicants. It’s a simple process improvement principle.
      As I have said, I passed the first set of examination on my 2nd attempt. When I took the 2nd leg of the examination, I never received any result from the corporate planning division. If I didn’t make a follow up email, I wouldn’t know that I’m actually waiting for nothing. Again, if you have fully understood my post, the employee, who replied to my email, did not even tell me the result of my exam. I was just told that my credentials do not meet the qualifications of the position. If such was the case, I should not have been called for exam in the first place… learn the basics of selection and recruitment…
      The way it sounds, you are working from GSIS. Maybe it’s high time that you share or participate in some process improvement initiative. Also, if you have colleagues who did not pass as internal applicants… i think it should be viewed as a wake up call too. Despite working for the agency, they were not trained or developed enough to occupy higher ranking posts..

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