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On Pacific time
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Moderator's Pub
2004-06-04, 18:53

I've mentioned this before on a thread at the other place, but I'll mention it again.

When I first got out of college, I just had a degree in English (with a minor in Russian). I interviewed for everything in the world - for months! Sometimes two interviews per day. It was very discouraging, and was a huge smack in the face, courtesy of "the real world". A degree in English qualifies one for so many things, or for hardly anything, depending on how you want to look at it.

Anyway, one of my interviews was with the phone company for the position of service representative. Like you, I took the tests - reading comprehension, spelling, math. After they got my scores, the interviewer called me in and said that I was "as smart as a whip", and she had just one question for me:

"A neighbor sees a phone repairman leaving the house where he has made a service call. The neighbor says to him, since you are already here, could you look at my phone and not charge me for a service call?"

The interviewer asked me how I would respond if I were the repairman. I replied that in the interests of good will for the phone company, I would take a quick look at the neighbor's phone to see what the problem was. Turns out that was the wrong answer. I guess consulting psychologists had been hired to set up screening in the interview process to weed out "nice" people, who might become disgruntled with phone company policy after the co. had spent a lot of money training them. That question was the one they came up with to weed out people who were too "soft".

So, I think a company - in order to manage resources efficiently - must be concerned about reducing the costs of personnel turnover, especially when a lot of expensive training is involved that might be wasted if the person quits or is fired for attitude reasons.

Personality tests are ideal for this. I personally know that I would hate to sell stuff. I am emotionally averse to twisting people's arms to get them to part with their money. Some people are not bothered by this and would be perfect for the job. So, in the long run, it's to everyone's best interests to have the right people hired for the job. If the job suits someone's personality, he'll be happy in his work and will do well. Good for the company AND the employee.

I finally took a job as a secretary for a guy who was monitoring the building of an exclusive new resort hotel. I took the job, and then at night went back to school and got certified to teach English. Started interviewing in March of spring semester, and had five job offers before I did my student-teaching that summer. But I learned a LOT from those horrible months of rejection.