HR experts: how can I answer these questions to get a job at Walmart?

There’s a very interesting thread in MSPIMS called We are not smart/savvy enough to work at a Walmart that leaves me with some big questions about HR departments.

The thread is by a mother who tried -and failed- to help her teenage daughter apply for a job at Walmart. They failed because of the very strange questions about psychology. For example:

Please click the link and read the whole OP to see another half dozen questions.
The questons all seem totally weird to me, vaguely worded, and leave me (like the mother in the OP) totally unable to figure out how to get a job as a drone at Walmart.

The thread continues as a typical SDope dicussion-- using too much logical reasoning and overly careful analysis about a subject that many millions of Walmart employees can apparently do better than we Dopers— Because none of the posts in the thread succeed in giving good info about how to actually succeed–i.e. to answer the questions properly and get the job.

Here’s what I need some help understanding:
This application is for a job as a lowest level employee at Walmart. There are over 60 questions to answer, and most of the people who apply are not experienced at sitting the GMAT or LSAT exams. So, without over-analyzing and looking for deep meaning, there has to be a simple way to “get it” and give the right answer.

I assume that there are lots of Dopers who have worked in Human Resource departments at huge corporations. (And I assume that if you are still employed there, you are legally prohibited from revealing secret info about your company’s tests). But surely there is somebody out there who can 'splain to me why I am unqualified to work at Walmart?
My specific questions are:
What are these tests designed to measure?
What percentage of applicants fail?
WHY do they fail?

also-many of the applicants are not fluent in English–how does that affect their testing?
Note: please do NOT let this thread deteriorate into another walmart-bashing festival. My questions apply to many other large companies too. There are tens of millions of people who have worked retail. Most of them are fine people, and do a pretty good job. I’ve been there, done that type of work, and respect those who can do it better than me . But that was 35 years ago, and I didn’t have to overcome a computerized application process.

For what it’s worth, here’s my take: the 65 questions are designed to measure your common sense, your social skills, your willingness to take responsibility, and your awareness of conventional standards of right and wrong. Emphatic responses are valued over covering your ass.

  1. You see Paul dealing with Susan, an upset employee from another department. Susan is complaining about something that your department was supposed to do but didn’t. You are in a back room and have not been seen by Susan. Paul is obviously frustrated and unable to deal with Susan effectively. You should:
    A. Walk up to the pair and attempt to change the conversation.
    B. Introduce yourself to Susan and offer your help.
    C. Ask your supervisor to offer some interpersonal skills training to Paul.
    D. Tell Paul that Susan is needed by the supervisor to end the situation.

Answers A, C, D involve lying and/or evading responsibility.

  1. A customer has come to your department with an urgent question. You promised her that you would collect information about her question and answer it by noon. It will take you at least 20 minutes to gather the information needed to provide an answer. It is now 11:50 a.m. Your supervisor just scheduled a 30-minute meeting to start at noon. This meeting is for all employees in your department. You decide to:
    A. Ask your supervisor if you can be late for the meeting.
    B. Find the customer after the meeting and apologize.
    C. Contact the customer right away and hope that she can be found.
    D. Arrange to have the customer call you back at a better time.

Tough one. B is right out – leaving the customer hanging is bad customer service; A feels like CYA; C is OK, only – then what? How does it serve the customer to call when you have no answers and no plan?
Only D allows you to talk to the customer right away, provide answers, and still go to the meeting.

  1. It’s been a very busy day, and you have just gotten a customer complaint. This is the third time today that this same customer has complained to an employee about the same problem. However, it’s the first time that you have spoken with her. Your best course of action is to:
    A. Apologize to the customer and ask how you can help fix the problem.
    B. Apologize to the customer and ask if she would like to speak to a supervisor.
    C. Ask the customer to wait and ask the employee who last dealt with the customer to speak to her.
    D. Ask the customer to wait and ask the employee who last dealt with the customer why the problem was not fixed.

B,C,D involve evading responsibility

  1. Terry, who has been an employee in your department for about six months, can be careless about safety. He hasn’t been involved in any serious accidents, but he’s had many near misses. Your supervisor asked you to introduce a new employee, Susan, to the department and to help with her training. Terry overheard and offered to show Susan the safety procedures. Your supervisor thought that would be a great idea. What should you do?
    A. Let Terry give Susan the safety training.
    B. Volunteer to help Terry train Susan on the safety procedures.
    C. Tell Terry that you think it would be better if he let you do the training.
    D. Tell your supervisor that Terry has had many near misses and not much experience.

A & D involve evading responsibility; C involves an unnecessary conflict with Terry (and your supervisor)

  1. Each shift, you have to complete several tasks before leaving for the day. It is near the end of your shift and you probably will not have enough time to finish all of your assigned work before leaving. The best thing you can do is:
    A. Explain the situation to your supervisor and ask for help.
    B. Leave for the day and complete the unfinished tasks tomorrow.
    C. Think about changing your routine to help finish your work on time in the future.
    D. Tell the employees on the next shift that the tasks are unfinished and ask them to finish them.

C is a good answer to a different question; B,C,D involve not doing the job.

  1. An employee in your department has been coming to work 20 minutes late for the past week. The rest of the employees have picked up the slack so far, but everyone is becoming angry. What should you do?
    A. Bring up lateness in the next department meeting.
    B. Tell the employee that it’s unfair to everyone when she comes in late.
    C. Warn the employee that you will speak to the supervisor the next time she is late.
    D. Explain to the employee how being late hurts the department’s ability to get things done and that she can help by getting to work sooner.

IMO, the correct answer to number 2 is A: Ask your supervisor if you can be late to the meeting, which was called after you made a commitment to the customer. The lesson is that the customer comes first. That doesn’t mean you blow off the meeting, but your supervisor may tell you the meeting is not important, or may assign someone else to finish helping the customer.

I understand your reasoning here, but realistically do they think the average Wal-Mart customer is going to want to wait around for half-an-hour to get an answer or bother calling you back after your meeting is over?

Well, based on what (minimal) service I’ve received at Wal Mart, they are not really interested in what a customer is going to want. They are interested in what theirs studies tell them is the optimal answer to the question.

I am not Wal Mart bashing, because in this, as in many things, they are in the same boat with a lot of big, profitable companies.

This had been my original thread over in MSPIMS. Don’t forget that there were 60 more questions on the website. If you really want to figure this out, apply under a fake name/SS# and cut and paste ALL the questions. Some of them were even screwier than these. And many of them are the ones where you have to Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, etc. repeatedly answering seemingly the same questions. I just quit cutting and pasteing after the first 5.

They are designed to test honesty, etc. Oddly, they don’t seem to work. :rolleyes:

Cut and paste to where? The computerized systems I’ve seen for Walmart applications don’t have a USB port or other device to save files to or access to any programs to do this task. From what I’ve seen they’re like dumb terminals with just a KB and monitor encased in a large housing. Be interested to know where this Walmart is. Or am I totally off here and you can do this online? Seems odd for a company to put this sort of thing online allowing people to do exactly what you’re suggesting. I don’t find the answers particularily hard to figure out but maybe I’m slightly smarter then the average Walmart employee.

Just for the record question 2, the answer has to be A. Ask your supervisor if you can be late for the meeting. This gives you the option to explain to your supervisor the situation and if they tell you “no” then you have done your job and it is now the supervisor that is blowing the customer off, not you.

In fact yes. My wife filled out an application for them online when she was looking for a job last year. She also applied to a lot of other retail jobs online and pretty much all of them employ this type of test.
And I’m curious, who the hell would answer yes to the question about whether or not they would steal anything?

Well I find that very interesting. Seems like a big security hole in their hiring process if you ask me. Not that I put a lot of faith in those tests but I suspect they do weed out the totally clueless. I’ve seen questions about if you consider even stealing a pen from work theft and I always answer “yes” but to be honest I’ve taken many “pens” from jobs.

But what I can’t understand is why we ALL seem to be “totally clueless”? So far, we Dopers have had a nice little debate about each of the questions, and nobody seems to know the right answer.
The questions are so vague, I think that if I took the test several times I would give different answers to the same question each time. And that’s probably true for everyone, including the successful applicants.
So what are the psychologists who wrote the test looking for?

One of the things they are looking for is consistency. So they often do ask the same question several times in different ways hoping to catch you in an inconsistency. To “get” this you really do have to look at the test as a whole, not just a couple of questions. Otherwise, the answers Nametag gave were right on: “taking responsibility” is big on these things. Maybe the reason it seems like dopers do poorly is that they’re not actually taking the test! If you’re really taking the test you don’t stop to analyze everything (or you shouldn’t) and you do see the whole picture a little more.

Incidentally, before posting in this thread, I read the other thread and went and took the WalMart online test, and passed. The other questions on the test were not in the format used for the first six; they were short statements with which one is supposed to agree or disagree on a five-point scale. For the great majority of these questions, I selected either “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree”; only when I truly couldn’t figure out whether the statement was good or bad did I select a less enthusiastic answer.

I also checked a few websites offering insight into the hiring practices that led to such tests. I doubt that this test was created by WalMart, and I doubt that WalMart employees or low/middle managers were studied or questioned to create it. These people are not looking for moral analysis or any knowledge of WalMart policy, they’re looking for a basic understanding of what a retail employer wants from its employees: do your job and don’t cause trouble.

I saw this basic idea in another thread.

Why not just use Google or another search engine? …
Or even better, I just used ASSESSMENT ANSWERS, and I had all of the answers in one place.

Thank me later.
Takes bow

Spam reported. (samwalton)

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

Also zombie.
This thread is from 2010.

What can I say? I love to give life to old threads. I’m a life giver. In fact, I’m very fond of the whole reproductive process in general.