Bullshit job applic. requirements

Employers, this is why you’re hurtin’ these days!

Just applied for a retail, customer service position. (Keep that in mind, folks.)

The application returned a request for some “skills assessment” questions.


They were all “choose a.) or b.)” format. No leeway if neither applied. Nor if both were equally valid.

Some of the questions? (And yes, I have screenshots.) Mind you, there were SEVENTY-FIVE of these, just to complete an application.

Here we go!

Which statement do you agree with more?

1.) I know how it impacts my co-workers when I miss work.
2.) It’s easy for me to adjust if plans change.

1.) Co-workers would say I’m an easy person to talk with.
2.) I try hard to make sure I don’t miss meetings.

1.) Others know I do what I’m asked to do.
2.) I don’t let my emotions get the best of me.

1.) I can deal with problems that come my way.
2.) I keep my commitments.

1.) I keep working even when distracting things happen.
2.) Others know I keep my promises.

1.) I’m drawn to people who can teach me something.
2.) I don’t pretend to know more than what I really know.

1.) I like to learn as much as I can about new things.
2.) My co-workers can trust me to be honest.

… remember, you can only pick ONE description about yourself …

1.) I work well with people from different backgrounds.
2.) It’s important to me to start what I finish.

1.) I’m open to suggestions of ways to better myself.
2.) I make sure to complete my work obligations.

And then there was another multi-question series, starting with "How often do you believe that OTHER PEOPLE… "

… take small things from their company?

… do the right thing?

… lie to their manager?

… bend the rules to get ahead?

As a reminder: this was for a basic sales/customer service/retail position.

70+ “gotcha” style questions.

But sure, tell me AAALLLLLLL about how no employer is hiring, how all the out-of-work folks are deadbeat ingrates (welfare queens?) and how we should be falling on our knees grateful that some corporate overlord is willing to hire our sorry ass.

Is it a chain hiring? They’re far more likely to have stupid crap like this, these days.

That’s an HR/hiring manager who has no idea what they’re doing.

That belongs on Ask A Manager

Ugh, these things are beyond stupid.

I took one that asked: “I am afraid of fire” (I could only answer true or false.) Uh yeah, I’m gonna need more context.

Looks to me like they probably paid an obscene consulting fee to some incompetent “psychologist” to force the applicant to make seemingly meaningless or incoherent choices which would magically reveal their true character. Undoubtedly there is a super-secret decoder card that tallies up the responses and gives you a total personality assessment of the applicant, guaranteed accurate. I wonder how they would assess my response, which would be along the lines of “here is your application; I respectfully request that you roll it up and stick it up your ass sideways”.

That’s bizarre. All of those options are good things to want in employees - how could you choose between someone who likes to learn about new things and someone who can be trusted to be honest? They’re not exactly opposites.

I mean most of these things are stupid, but this one is both stupid and random.

I’m more polite than you are. I’d return the form unmarked and say, “I don’t think this is a good fit.” I wouldn’t call them morons unless they asked why.

Okay. So you’re applying online.

Since I manage hiring I just want to point out to you that from our perspective this 75-question moron quiz from hell is presented to us as a single checkbox that says, “[_] do you want applicants to complete a skill assessment?” And they really try to make us check the box. It’s like its own step in posting the ad IIRC.

My money is on the manager not even knowing what you’re being asked. It comes out on the other side as some percentage that means literally nothing.

Our online ads ask if you have a HS or equivalent, if you are authorized to work in the US, and if you are comfortable around needles (doctor’s office). Three questions, attach your resume.


No, in my experience HR managers who select those kinds of tests know exactly what they are doing, and the hiring manager likely has zero input or control over it. What you need to realize is HR isn’t about hiring the best employees or supporting line managers, but about protecting the company from liability. From the questions on this test I would assess that they are evaluating for compliance and social compatibility and versus creativity or self-evaluated integrity. I’m sure there is some kind of social science behind this test, although if it actually produces the desired sorting is questionable.

In my last round of ‘hiring’ (in which I recruited one person who had previously worked for me, and another who I was basically told to do a cursory interview because the hiring decision was already made) I had to go through two hours of mostly nonsense training in which I was edjumucated on what I couldn’t ask and what I should ask. The couldn’t were obvious things to prevent any whiff of discrimination, such as not asking about family, religion, politics, sexual orientation, hobbies, or background outside of what was directly applicable to the vocational requirements, but the “should ask” was risible, such as presenting completely hypothetical work conflicts (using people with made up names, of course) and then asking or “role-playing” with the candidate to see how they would resolve it.

Now, I often do a bit of presenting a technical situation and asking a candidate how they would approach to understand see if the experience and training on the resume actually matches their knowledge, but such scenarios are pretty concrete and I have a good idea of what a knowledgable candidate will present even if they aren’t using the exact language I would use. But presenting, “Bob said something rude about Sally to Alex, and Chaz overheard and came to you to ask you what he should do?” is a kind of moronically leading question that is clearly drawn from some workplace harassment video or scenario, and I wouldn’t waste the time of a legitimate candidate with it.


They’re simply trying to weed out creations of Dr. Frankenstein. I’m guessing they’ve had trouble with that sort in the past.

It can be a problem in a public relations role.


reminds me of

I also had a questionnaire like this. One of the choices was was:

  1. When I schedule my work, I leave time to review.
  2. I’m respectful of others.


  1. I like to leave things until the last moment.
  2. Fuck you if you have a problem with it.
  3. (Yes, I do have a problem with bullshit questions, why do you ask?)


Yeah I had a tough time answering because I’m both an asshole and a procrastinator.

I remember filling out a questionnaire many years ago when applying for a retail job. I was amused at how many different ways they could ask the question, “Are you going to steal from us?”

I think that’s the point. If you had an obviously good choice and an obviously bad choice then it’s easy to give them the answer they want. When you have a couple of answers that are both appealing to an employer then it’s less of a gimme.

To me it seems like they are trying to see what you prioritize and figure out what kind of worker you’d be.

That’s very plausible. Though I agree that the value of such a questionnaire is, uh, questionable.

But they all seem like they’d be good employees if you took their answers at face value. There is no way to filter out a bad employee at all.

That was my point in suggesting that this “assessment” is the work of a highly paid but incompetent consulting psychologist. I am very, very doubtful that the pattern of responses that matches their super-sekret decoder card has any correlation with the kind of employee profile they think it does, or indeed that it correlates with much of anything at all.

There are ways to design personality assessments that are genuinely useful and actually quite reliable, but this sure ain’t it.

Yeah, it looks to me like they’re looking at rules-abiding vs. creative/self-movitated. I’m not sure which one they want. They might just be looking for consistency in answering. Or it might not even actually factor into the hiring decision - I’ve had to take “assessments” like this that weren’t meant to “grade” me, but to supposedly give guidance to my supervisors as to my personality “type” and help them manage me (my supervisor got material on how to manage the supposed strengths and weaknesses of the various personality “types”).

I’m pretty sure the “How often to you believe that OTHER PEOPLE…” questions are a poorly veiled assessment of how likely YOU are to steal or otherwise “cheat” the company. I think that bit actually does have some real social science research behind it. It’s my decidedly non-expert understanding that there is actually pretty good evidence of a significant correllation between a propensity to steal or embezzle and a belief that others are likely to do the same.

This is an odd statement. I’m pretty sure I ALWAYS start things that I finish, and I hardly EVER finish things that I don’t start. Doesn’t everyone?

This sounds a lot similar like the MMPI test, which appears to have a whole lot of T/F questions that don’t seem to relate to anything. The questions, and the evaluation of the answers, are based on a large corpus of statistical data about how people answer those questions.

For example, a question like “[T/F] Strange smells come to me at times.” is one that, historically, a lot of people with schizophrenia will answer T and a lot of people without schizophrenia will answer F. No one questions alone is diagnostic of anything, but by the time the client answers 400 questions like that, a personality profile emerges.