Job hunting, revisited

Day 15. Weekend, count suspended.

I thought I would offer the following little snapshot of the fun and interesting job-hoops that I have recently been required to jump through. This one was for a workplace personality test of some sort, and at the end it didn’t tell me I was Optimus Prime or Posh Spice or whatever, unlike most of the online personality tests I do.

Actually it didn’t tell me very much at all, but presumably it will tell my prospective employers something. Some of the questions were interesting, and others were just plain baffling. They were all True or False, and – as I will drop a sample here – sometimes it was just plain impossible to answer them.

I often find myself not knowing about things happening in other people’s lives.

Well, this is patently True. There’s around seven billion people in the world and I know all of about five hundred of them. Fair to say there’s a ton of crap going on in other people’s lives that is a) completely unknown to me, and b) none of my damn stinkin’ business.

My morals are on higher level than the average.

I answered True to this – not because I think I’m more moral than any of my friends and family (although I may well be more moral than some of my rat fink weasel bastard friends…), but because I’m pretty sure I am a more generally ethical and well-behaved person than at least half of the population. This is purely and simply because I can afford to be. I’m a middle-class first world white cis male, and morality is the luxury of the fortunate few. Of course, this question also fails to encompass what exactly ‘morals’ are, but it was only a 30-minute test.

I’m ready to lie a little if some personal interest important to me is threatened.

Again, I answered True. Only because ‘a little’ is the operative term here. What is lying ‘a little’? I assume it just means misleading someone in a small and harmless way. Sure, if I consider it important, I guess there are situations I can envisage where I would be ready to lie. A little.

I’m not always willing to help others when I have much to do myself.

I answered True. Of course, if I have a ton of stuff to do and a heap of stuff to worry about, I’m going to be selfish. But again, this question doesn’t say I won’t help. Just that I won’t do it willingly. I might do it grudgingly.

I pay more attention to the utility of objects than to their beauty.

This is stupid. It depends on the object, doesn’t it? If you’re talking about something that’s pretty for the sake of pretty, I’m going to care more about how nice it looks. If you’re talking colostomy bags, they can be gunmetal grey and have a swastika on them for all I care, as long as they holdey the poo-poo.

I always prefer to work in projects with clearly defined procedures.

Depends on the project. But yes, doesn’t everybody like to know more or less how to do a thing?

I believe that competition is a central incentive underlying human action.

I answered True – just because I believe it, doesn’t mean I approve of it. I think it’s just a sad fact of life and evolution. We have survived because we won the kill, eat, fuck game.

I can always make the right decisions, even in difficult situations.

Always? What sort of sociopath would say True to this?

I like the kind of work that allows [me] to concentrate on particular matters.

I found this question meaningless in its vagueness. ‘Particular matters’? ‘Kind of work’? Sure, I like to have work to do that doesn’t constantly distract me from itself. What?

It’s very important for me to be well paid for my work.

It’s not super-important – for example, I don’t get particularly well-paid for my novels (at the moment). But until we become a truly post-capitalist and post-scarcity civilisation, yeah it’s going to be important to be that I get some sort of payment so I can feed my family.

I’m able to get many projects going at the same time because I don’t plan too much ahead.

Seems to me there’s no good answer to this one. If I answer True in the hope of sounding like a good multi-tasker, I am a bad planner. If I answer False because I don’t want to sound like I don’t plan ahead, I’m incapable of doing more than one thing at once.

I have sometimes bad thoughts about other people.

Uh, of course I do? You saw me mention my rat fink weasel bastard friends up there, right?

I always want to work thoroughly, even if it wasn’t necessary.

This seems odd to me. If it’s not necessary – really, really not necessary – then why work thoroughly? Of course you want to work thoroughly enough, but you also want to manage your effort and not waste time and resources, right? So anyway, I answered False.

I don’t like to give up doing something even when it appears that I’m not making any progress.

I don’t like to … but again, pragmatism. Shouldn’t I give up, rather than waste effort? Then again, the key word here would seem to be ‘appears’. Maybe I am making progress, it just doesn’t appear like I am.

I prefer changes to happen gradually.

By and large, this is True. I think changes that happen suddenly are more likely to be violent, or impermanent, or both. Sometimes an abrupt and total change is vital, but usually it’s the slow and steady improvement that works.

I’m a perfectionist.

What do you say to this? Sure I am, a bit, about some things. How extreme do you need to be in order to really take on this label, though?

I continue to work on a problem even when I have a bad headache.

How bad a headache? Surely I’m just wasting effort and making matters worse when I should just take it easy and come back to the problem when I’m feeling better?

I always prefer to work with other people rather than by myself.

Again with the ‘always’. No, of course not always. Sometimes the work is mine and mine alone.

I’m usually willing to take the risk even if the chances for success are small.

What? That depends entirely on the risk! If I have a small chance to stop a beetle from getting run over by a truck and there’s a huge risk the truck’s going to cream me, I won’t take that risk. Substitute the beetle for one of my daughters, and I’m sliding down the last few feet of the road to Hell with an appropriate truck logo pasted across my forehead. Usually, if the risk isn’t too stupid and the success would be darn cool, then yeah. I’ll take the risk.

I like films and stories that have clear endings.

I like lots of different sorts of films and stories. Yes, I like the ones with clear endings if that’s what the story requires. If the story requires a bit of ambiguity, then that’s also good. Saying False to this strikes me as a strange choice.

That was it. To be continued.

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4 Responses to Job hunting, revisited

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Wow, what the fuck? When you say “True or False” do you mean exclusively? No explanation allowed? And I started to wonder, about 1/3 down, if translation was an issue with the weird phrasing of some of those questions.

    I do have to say, while you said you were willing to lie in significant personal interest, you didn’t seem to follow your own rule with some of your later answers! LOL

    Specifically the question right after the “are you willing to lie” one (ooh, did they guilt you into the wrong answer with the sequencing? Dun dun dun……). Because you surely could have afforded to “lie” and say you are always willing to help others even when busy! LOL

    What a mind-fuck that is, man. You have my sympathies.

    • stchucky says:

      Wow, what the fuck? When you say “True or False” do you mean exclusively? No explanation allowed?

      Radio-button either/or selection, no comment field. Correct.

      And I started to wonder, about 1/3 down, if translation was an issue with the weird phrasing of some of those questions.

      Absolutely, the translation was pretty bad but there was no place for feedback on that either. In this case, though, I’m glad I didn’t try to use the Finnish version – there were clearly subtleties and phrasings here that I would have missed if I’d done it in Finnish.

      I do have to say, while you said you were willing to lie in significant personal interest, you didn’t seem to follow your own rule with some of your later answers! LOL

      “Willing to lie” doesn’t mean “will always lie”, or even “will lie when the situation in question arises”.

      And “wanting to do well in a job interview” doesn’t equate to “significant personal interest”, at least in my book. Something else I would have liked to make clear before the HR people went “oh, so he said he’d be willing to lie, and this is a job interview so it must be important, so we can’t trust the rest of these answers.”

      Specifically the question right after the “are you willing to lie” one (ooh, did they guilt you into the wrong answer with the sequencing? Dun dun dun……). Because you surely could have afforded to “lie” and say you are always willing to help others even when busy! LOL

      Hah! I don’t see the benefit in lying. The opening to the test said that there was no point to it unless you answered honestly, so I took it at face value. Saying I’m willing to do so if something is important enough shouldn’t make it seem like I’m going to lie here. If they make that assumption, then tish and pish to them.

      But maybe we’ll discuss the test in today’s interview.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well, those are all fair points…. I just consider that test to be so much of a mind fuck, and an unknowable-how-much-mind-fuck at that, that who knows what the best approach is. I mean, even “being honest”, in the context of complex questions with true-false answers…what does “honest” even mean in that context? The overall “no shades of grey” implied by such a survey really pisses me off, TBH.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        For example, to elaborate further, here in America I’d be wondering if some of those questions were tests of my loyalty/dedication to a company, or a test of my individual drive, or a test of my teamwork skills, or a test of my planning skills, or a test of how balanced I like to keep my life…. Each question seemed to go a different direction with one of those aspects than at least one other question, if you tried to read into them what they were actually asking.

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