Wow. I just found a version of the 9 page, 63 question interview form to work in the Obama adminstration. Assuming this is not some kind of cruel hoax, this could be the worse hiring decision I've ever seen.
Questions range from listing every resume you've used in the last ten years to names and phone numbers of cohabitants you've lived with in the last 10 years. Then they get personal, like asking information on your spouse, loans, money, real estate, investments, facebook pages, diaries, emails and Facebook pages.
It's understandable why the incoming administration would ask people questions. During the Clinton years, several nominees for Cabinet positions were found to have domestic help that weren't legal, or shady backgrounds, and the Obama adminstration is trying to hire people that won't serve as a distraction.
But this, this monstrosity, is not the way to go about it. Check out the pdf of what it takes to get hired (pdf link). If this were a corporation, a good half of the questions would be illegal.
Example: 61) Have you had any association with any person, group or business venture that could be used -even unfailry - to impugn or attack your character and qualifications for government service?
Um -like Abercrombie and Fitch, Monsanto, KFC, ACORN, or working for another politician who can be considered too extreme? What if you worked as a mail clerk in Ted Stevens office. Would that disqualify you? The problem with questions like these is the answer is, it depends on how honest my accusers would be.
Example: Do you or an members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed/ Please also describe how and by whom it is used. and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.
How exactly is it the business of government if your brother owns a rifle he uses for deer hunting? Or a glock or a shotgun. How does that affect your ability to hold a government job?
The fault of course, lies in a political environment where normal behavior is taken to extremes and used as an excuse to deny someone a job or to unfairly tar a political opponent. Questionnaires like these have two effects. The first is that sensible people - the kind we want in our government, won't come near something like this. In addition to being nearly impossible to fill out correctly, the idea of airing your dirty laundry to an unvetted process that could be used against you should scare the daylights out of anyone. No one is an angel, and the only people who will fill out the form completely will be those who have no compunction lying, or those who are rabid true believers, the worst kind of government official.
I hope this is a hoax. Since it's in the NYTimes, it seems not to be. Government is dysfunctional enough without driving out anyone smart enough to not fill out an application like this. My question is who wrote the questionnaire. They clearly have no hiring experience whatsoever. Let's hope clearer heads prevail, and this form disappears into the HR File for some future Office episode.