At the suggestion of a friend, I interviewed at a company that will remain confidential. I arrived at 9 a.m. and was shuffled into a testing room cubicle and handed a pile of questionnaires. My complaint wasn’t the woman who interviewed me after I had filled out my tests and handed them in. The problem I had with the interview was the invasive, mistake-riddled, poorly designed tests meant for high school students.
One of the tests I was given had fill in the blank questions. Below are actual sentences I was expected to complete. My answers are in italics.
- If I had sexual relations I wouldn’t be discussing them in an exam.
- I wish my dad would –he doesn’t have to do anything. He’s fine.
- My sex life is private. Seriously, why is a questionnaire so curious about this? (second sex question. Really?)
- When I was a child I was shorter than I am now
- When I am not around, my friends are still functioning
- My fears sometimes force me to scream. Panic. Mostly scream.
- I like working with humans
- Someday I will have finished this extremely long “interview”
See how irrelevant they are, how frustrated I was answering them, and how open-ended sentences do not indicate my level of job capability. There were about 50 of these. And they were repetitive. I had already answered what kind of people I like working with two other times before I got fed up. I sat there in shock, wondering how these kind of questions were tolerated in any society. Of what interest is my bedroom life and my dads shortcomings to this company? Do they think it will affect my career? Does it change my experience of level of education?
Yet another of the tests were True/False, and had statements such as “I believe that stealing is wrong.” Regardless of whether an applicant feels that stealing is wrong, he or she will put true, because it’s a transparent question. That won’t tell you anything about a person’s integrity, all it shows is that the applicant has a general understanding that stealing is frowned upon. Why is this company taking up my time answering obvious questions? “I think it’s okay to get uncontrollably angry.” False. “I often tell racist jokes at work.” False. “I make sexual advances to coworkers.” False. Duh! Anyone knows the “right” answer to those questions.
The interview process shows that the HR department generalizes all applicants, indicates that the company is outdated and doesn’t respect its employees, and wasted my time.
So, companies, if you want to give your applicants the worst interview of their lives, don’t put them in front of a person. Instead, make them take five (yes, FIVE) generic exams with questions that have nothing to do with their professional lives. Have them fill out a standardized test that was clearly designed for grade school students (there were instructions to circle which grade level you’re in) and a questionnaire that pries into the intimate details of their personal lives. Take up 2 hours of your applicants’ time filling in those tests, and then take up another 2 hours of their lives making them question why they ever wanted to work for a company that generalizes all people and positions, and puts so little effort into truly knowing the people called in for “interviews.”
My recommendation: If you feel like the state of Manila’s interview process needs to adapt to world standards, and you’d like your company to hire a little more efficiently, check out Profiles Asia Pacific. I’ve personally taken a few of their assessments and I can say with certainty that the tests are well-tailored, questions are respectful and relevant, and the results are useful.
June 21 update: I got a callback for the job, which makes me wonder whether they even read the 50-item questionnaire that took an hour to complete.