Taiwanese Job Applications--Height, Weight, Age, and Sexual Predilections Please

I am shocked at what sorts of things appear on Taiwanese job applications. Answers to intrusive questions about age, height, weight, blood type, personal medical history, and the educational backgrounds of parents and siblings are all required on job applications for companies large and small here in Taiwan.

I saw a job application asking for this sort of stuff a year or so ago, but shrugged it off as something from the Twilight Zone and an exception. As it turns out, it is the standard practice here–my girlfriend is in the process of landing her first post-university job, and EACH application she’s filled out (a few dozen now) have asked for this information.

Unfuckingbelievable. We’ve been joking about whether they will ask her how many times a week she has sex and the approximate size of her boyfriend’s package in the interview. What a farce. Medieval, really. How can this garbage possibly be legal?

And taking your horoscope into consideration during the hiring process … that cracks me up! :smiley:

Hey! It’s not like you are supposed to be honest! Make the info up! Have fun!
OH, and when you get caught just smile and act stupid like you didn’t understand it.

I review many job applications from Taiwanese people for my company. In their “self description section”, a good 2 thirds of them offer detailed information about their parent’s and sibling’s careers and character that we do not ask for.
In the beginning I’d bin these applications straight away figuring that someone who thought I gave a shit about whether her 2 brothers have steady jobs or not didn’t understand and probably didn’t have what we look for in a colleague.

I too, Tomas, am surprised at all that people are forced to divulge here in the hiring process. What’s with the job app photos – is it a beauty contest? It seems to me, though, that newspaper ads less frequently ask for “attractive female ages 20 - 25” than they used to. That could be due to the passage of Taiwan’s Gender Equality in Employment Law, about a year ago, which says (in Chinese) among other things:

“An employer shall not treat an applicant or an employee discriminatorily because of sex in the course of recruitment, examination, appointment, assignment, designation, evaluation and promotion. However, if the nature of work is only suitable to a particular sex, the above restriction shall not apply.”

Another thing that cracks me up here is letters of recommendation. In my prior employment with a Taiwan law firm that unjustifiably thinks it is hot shit, I was often asked to edit such letters. A young lawyer would ask a partner for a recommendation to get into an LLM program in an american uni. So the partner would tell the young lawyer to write the letter, which I was supposed to edit prior to the partner signing it. Some letters were particularly ludicrous. One guy wrote something like, “when I first talked to X, I knew he was the smartest person I was ever meet and his final project in law school was outstanding because it was obviously the best paper ever wrote by student and I was lucky we could hire such outstanding lawyer and he made great contribute for our lawfirm.” It bothered me that I was supposed to make this idiot look good so he could outcompete a better qualified student in the admissions process. So, I tended to do a half-ass job in editing such letters. :laughing:

I hear ya, MT! :wink:

Is there anything on age though, Mother Theresa?

A lot of practice here are really downright profiling though. I once saw an wanted ad posted outside cashbox

You’re right, huggie, those hiring practices would be illegal in the US. I don’t know about other countries, but in the US both federal and many state laws prohibit discrimination in hiring, promoting, terms or amount of compensation, etc., and when renting out accomodation, based on age, gender, race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, etc., and the penalties for violating such laws are substantial.

As far as I know, the only similar thing in Taiwan is the Gender Equality in Employment Law, which prohibits gender discrimination in employment. Even with such a law, equal rights for all who are capable of doing their jobs will take time as victims might feel they have no legal or moral right to complain, and many judges are too ignorant to take such laws seriously.

While I favor the US laws that I cited and I think Taiwan will gradually adopt more such laws, admittedly, they can have troublesome consequences. I remember one lawsuit by an extremely obese woman who sued for discrimination the health food store that had fired her because they claimed she was too fat to stock the shelves and do her job. In another case, a female firefighter sued because the male firefighters read Playboy in their separate accomodations where they lived and she argued it subjected her to a hostile work environment. Such laws have also resulted in gargantuan costs for schools, businesses and government bodies in the states to install elevators, widen doorways and make countless other changes to accomodate all people.

By the way, the reason why people ask for or mention blood types is that certain blood types are associated with certain character strains. I got lots of applications where people stated their blood type. I think the application sample of 104 even has an extra field for that. I don’t know how seriously HR managers in Taiwan take this. But I know for sure that the guy who is esponsible for HR in our Shanghai branch always checks the blood type of an applicant (however, I don’t think my German colleagues there ever cared about the blood type when employing or rejecting anybody).

I haven’t written many applications in Germany, but I think questions or statements on marital status, family background, and, of course, gender or age are very common. Some bosses might even ask female applicants on their family planning (who wants to employ somebody who they might have to pay loads of money for maternity leave for and who they might have to keep the job open for for up to six years after they’ve been with the company for a short time?), but I think it’s been ruled that as a female applicant, you don’t have to answer such a question truthfully.

Has anybody had any experience with the blood type thing?


The best one that ever came across my desk was from a project manager at Pfizer who was applying to all the Ivy League schools to do an MBA. According to his application, the reason this 30-something wanted an MBA was to earn a lot of money so that he could build a mausoleum to himself that would contain photo exhibits of his life achievements – kind of like CKS Hall. He would need plenty of extra money, too, as he was already astute enough to realize that the admission fees would not be sufficient to pay for the maintenance and pay for the salaries of members of his family who would give guided tours of the edifice after his death.
I kid you not.

I see these all the time - lots of details about the ‘poor but honest parents’ - "dutiful sons doing their dutiful duties’

Back in the 90’s I had the HR dept reject an applicant that I wanted to hire on the basis of blood type. Apparantly that blood type made her aggressive and hard to control - which sounded like fun to me!

Challenged my boss on the blood type once - so he gave a run down on my character, and said you must be A+. Bugger was right too …


[quote]Challenged my boss on the blood type once - so he gave a run down on my character, and said you must be A+. Bugger was right too …

Going off-topic here…

I once informed someone that I thought astrology was a load of crap, wishful thinking etc. She nodded her head wisely, and correctly fingered me as a virgo. I hate it when people do that.

But I’m a Gemini, and I think astrology is a load of crap too.

The blood type thing is a Japanese pop-culture superstition from the 1970’s, and not an ancient and respectable superstition like astrology.

I remember one company that specifically recruited females, because they felt women were less likely to leave the company and start their own.