A bizarre information breakdown.

Power of prayer

Kathleen writes: Last night a person representing a very worthy organisation rang wanting to talk to Mia. Mia has Down syndrome and is usually a sucker for a good story - she always gives to street stalls, Plunket, Anzac Day poppies, breast cancer, Lions ... After listening to the plea, Mia agreed she would help.

"I will pray for you," she offered.

"I don't understand you. Do you mean pay?" was the response.

"No. Pray for you to God," said Mia.

"But in the real world we need money," pleaded the caller. "Can you give us even $5 a week?"

"I can but I won't," said Mia.

The disappointed caller hung up.

Outwitting recruitment tests

"I've spent years temping, laughing at the increasing hoops agencies ask people to jump through," writes Helen. "For a factory job in Adelaide, I had to fit blocks into a hole and put screws on to a bolt in a certain time (job involved using electric drill). Administration tests are hilarious in NZ; most agencies use the same Word test. Anyone with half a brain can learn it after one failed test. The speed tests and psychological evaluations are simple if you think like a recruiter. They want someone who doesn't think, doesn't question or use initiative. So speed is better than accuracy, don't edit poorly worded text, only spelling or grammar, and be a pliable, seriously dull person. Not sure if this lack of focus on intelligence says more about the employers or the recruitment agencies."

Doesn't add up

"I had the same experience as John with the recruitment tests," writes David. "I have a degree in mathematics. I was too slow on the maths test. But the interviewer said I got every question correct (in a voice that made it sound as if this was unusual). I thought that was the point with mathematics."

Too simple by half

To your reader Glen who said if you can't meet a time limit then maybe you shouldn't get the job. "No nonsense is one thing, oversimplification is another," says Radu. "The question is, does drawing an arbitrary line in the sand enable you to reliably distinguish between good and poor performers in a real-life situation?"