Do I take initiative rather than being told what to do?

Filling out an online job application for a temp agency, I come across the question

Is there a correct answer here? Or is the best answer going to depend on what kind of worker their looking for?

The truthful answer is yes, I take initiative. But does this translate, for them, into “Doesn’t take orders/is uppity/thinks he knows better than his employers?” Because if so, then I am perfectly willing to pretend to be a non-initiative taker.

I put this in GQ because I’m asking if there is a generally “correct” answer to this question, i.e., one that employers are generally always looking for.

The correct answer is “I take initiative.”

Just like “I am punctual” means to an employer that you arrive on time, not that you leave at five on the dot.

Does anyone else see the irony, here? A fellow is asking a message board whether he should tell his prospective employer that he takes the initiative, but he thinks the answer is yes?

The irony has certainly gone over my head. I invite you to explain.

ETA: I think I’m starting to seem what you meant. My response is, asking for further information most emphatically does not equal failing to take initiative.

There is a certain flavor of… dare I say it… Bush supporter… who fails to note this distinction. :wink:

The correct answer is:

I am a highly motivated self-starter who can prioritize and multi-task based upon instructions given. This answers the question in the affirmative for both. I sometimes think that job applications should be multiple choice sometimes.

SSG Schwartz

“I am always willing to come into work to finish my tasks whenever I think it is important for me to be there”.

OP should read “they’re”, not “their.” :wink:

Oh lighten up :smiley: I was thinking the same thing and I nevr much liked Bush.

With that particular question, you’d want to answer “Yes” as the others have indicated. It’s not getting at whether you are able to follow directions, but whether you’re the type who waits for orders before you’ll do something at all. (I’m sure we’ve all met the type who would watch the office building burn down and say “Well, no one told me I was supposed to report fires to my supervisor.”

I’m retired now, but when I was in the workforce I tended to take imitialtive even after being told to do just the opposite.

This was, in general, regarded as a flaw on my part :slight_smile:

The problem is that way too often questions in HR-speak do not mean the same as for everybody else. He’s not asking how should he answer as much as “wtf does this really mean?”

The problem is even worse when you’re dealing with questionnaries that have been translated. An example I’ve mentioned before is that in the US “ambitious” is pretty much taken for granted (and it means “wants to improve his lot in life”) whereas in Spain it’s pretty much an insult (“backstabbing bastard will do whatever it takes to climb up the ladder, then step on the fingers of those below”).