Thursday, September 28, 2006

Personality surveys

Whenever you want to write about something but don't know what to write about, just visit some other corner of the internet and read. That'll surely inspire something good.

I ventured onto Barbara Ehrenreich's message boards a little while ago and found a thread about those "personality surveys" some employers issue prospective hires. It really bothered me how many of the forum's participants seem to believe these "surveys" actually accomplish anything for anyone, so I registered and added my thoughts on the topic. In short, I believe very strongly that these tests only separate liars from honest folks, then "reward" liars with [shitty] jobs.

The following is my contribution to the thread...

Wow, you people actually believe these tests are anything more than total bullshit?!? Wow!

A few questions I remember from some of these "personality surveys":
1) ...Do you see the glass as half empty or half full?
2) In high school, were you in the top third, middle third, or bottom third of your graduating class?
3) If you suspected a co-worker has been taking money from the register, would you disregard your suspicion or would you inform your supervisor?

Come on, now. The "correct" answers are obvious:

1) Half full.
2) Top third.
3) Inform my supervisor.

My answers:
1) I don't see half empty or half full; I see half.
2) Are you talking about before I got kicked out of high school? If so, then I was in the middle third or bottom third? (Perhaps I should mention that I made the Dean's List in college. Perhaps I should mention that I also earned a scholarship. But that's not what they're asking me. And the tests are usually multiple choice--not open ended--from what I remember.)
3) I'd have to be in the situation before I could tell you how I'd react. My suspicion that a co-worker is taking money from the register doesn't necessarily make it true. By impulsively reporting my co-worker to my supervisor (who might be the actual culprit), I could end up causing a lot of unnecessary damage.

With those answers, I don't get hired. Why? Because I'm honest. That's the only reason.

Who gets the job, then? Liars and ass-kissers. (If I could remember more of the questions from these tests, I could provide better evidence. If you have one of these tests, please send me a copy.)

So who benefits from personality surveys? No one. The biggest loser of all is the stupid employer who actually believes the tests are even slightly useful. They end up hiring selfish, half-assed liars instead of honest, hardworking team players. That's why you can't get decent service anymore when you go out to eat or stay at a hotel or call the nearest pizza chain for delivery. That's why your pizza sucks. That's why your Applebee's entree sucks. That's why you can't get your damn Coke refilled. That's why your Ford falls apart. That's why Ford is falling apart.

Hey, if you want a shitty job where you're underpaid and treated with no respect, go ahead and lie on the personality test. But if you want to find the right job, walk out as soon as they mention the test. And don't come back, either. Ever. Their loss, not yours.

Remember, they need us a lot more than we need them. And until we, the vast majority, show the corporate bosses how much they need us, they'll keep ripping us off a little more each day.

You want to know my real answer to Question #3 above? Here it is:

If the job was comparable to any of the other jobs I've held in my life, I probably would not report my co-worker, even if I witnessed him or her clearly stealing from the cash register. When you (an employer) rip off your employees, some of them rip you off back. And if you can't stop it proactively by hiring honest people, paying them fairly, and using secure accounting practices, then who am I to interfere?

You get what you deserve. It wouldn't happen to me if I ran the business.

Aimless: You wish you had the balls to do this.