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Pre-Interview Organization Analysis Design Tests?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the this-position-requires-a-written-exam dept.

Businesses 107

miasok asks: "Recently I was deemed unfit for a job I was applying to, even before having an interview. A local software development company expressed an interest in my resume, but first wanted me to take an Organizational Analysis Design (OAD) test. The OAD test is a form with approximately 100 personality attributes and you are supposed to identify if they whether they apply to you, and if they are expected of you in your current job. I completed all fo the questions truthfully, and was surprised at the response: '...the results do not fall within our range of acceptance for the programming position'. Has anyone else had experience with such a test, especially as the sole means of determining a candidate suitable for a job? More information about this test can be found at here."

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Tsarkon Reporsts Pissing Frost PHIRST POAST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5439434)

I just had to let you all know at least one more time.

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You are all weird, cuntcaskety miasma of festering caramelized dog shit mediocritomatons; In that what is supposed to be your grey matter in that quagmire cesspool you have going in that vacuous cavern that is your skull.

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Fuck all you.

Three cheers for pseudoscience! (3, Insightful)

Dr. Photo (640363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439469)

This test seems to be unfairly weighted towards people in the "lying scum who know exactly what the employer wants to hear" category. Of course, that's the way most interviews are, so get with the program!

Or just find out which companies are stupid enough to implement this test, buy some put options, and laugh all the way to the bank when the company collapses under the weight of its own managerial stupidity and/or corruptness (assuming you've timed it right).

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! tsarkon reports (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5439485)

hi cunt bitch. freebsd is better than netbsd, and fuck gentoo. fucking genital-too. piece of fucking shit. you are a fag for using netbsd, you should be using FreeBSD. but you are a worse FUCKING FAG for using puke bitch genital-too. i hate that fucking cunt bitch distro. piece of shit. linux is a piece of shit.

so in closing, i would like for you to get coprophagic, eat my shit, and lick the spatter marks off the public toilet in your fucking mental ward.

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! tsarkon reports (1)

Dr. Photo (640363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439552)

Wow. With advocates like this, FreeBSD is sure to make an impression!

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! tsarkon reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5439641)

In case you weren't being tongue-in-cheek and hadn't figured it out for yourself:

Only Linux wannabe's trying to make the BSD's look bad in order to appease their own cognitive dissonance pretend to advocate FreeBSD in such a manner. One of the many clues in this case is that no FreeBSD advocate would refer to any Linux version as a "distro".

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! tsarkon reports (1)

Dr. Photo (640363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439700)

In case you weren't being tongue-in-cheek [...]

I assure you that I was indeed being flippant, and did not in any way mistake the aforementioned vituperations for any semblance of actual "advocacy" whatsoever.

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5439735)

This test seems to be unfairly weighted towards people in the "lying scum who know exactly what the employer wants to hear" category.

I prefer to describe it as weighted toward those with sufficient cynicism and verbal ability to know the "correct" answers and not be caught in a contradiction in the test.

What I find fun about personality tests is that it's fairly simple to fall where one wants on the scale--anywhere from "cannibalistic psychotic lunatic" to "type A driven executive" to "mellow stoner."

And, as others have said here, why on earth would one want to work for a company that uses these sorts of tests, economy notwithstanding.

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5450134)

Regardless of the economy? Do you really mean you'd rather starve than take a crummy job?

Re:Three cheers for pseudoscience! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5440009)

I lied my ass off at the company I work for and was hired for my efforts. I suggest you do the same.

ok an anctual comment (1)

phillprice (655353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439474)

In the UK the SHLGroup [shlgroup.com] tests seem to be the rage and done pre interview, and yes I have been turned fown by some, but I have also been acepted by others!

Some Advice (5, Funny)

themo0c0w (594693) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439504)


Don't check the box that says "Reacts violently to stupid questions."

Personally ... (2, Interesting)

GreatOgre (75402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439571)

I think tests like these are a bunch of bullshit. I don't mind a company using tests like these, but they need to understand that there is a lot more to people than what these tests show. (Slightly offtopic: I know that my personality test results (same test by the way, I keep a copy around somewhere) vary according to the mood I'm in when I take it.) Personally, I think if a company is going to use this as their sole basis for determining who to interview, they deserve what they get -- corporate trolls that already aligned with (and won't buck) their corporate philosophy.

Re:Personally ... (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441210)

I think tests like these are a bunch of bullshit.

Perhaps there is more involved in the tests than what you know or understand.

I know it's a geek tendancy to assume one's self is hyper-intelligent and knows more than 99% of the population, but I've also noticed that particular assumption blinds one to huge amounts of knowledge and experience that one does not know.

But don't worry about it. I just said something negative about geeks, so this post will get modded to troll immediately.

+1 insightful [no text below] (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441762)

dd

Dude why are you stressing? (4, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439572)

Would you really want to work for a company where everyone fitted into the same precisely-defined psychological profile? That isn't a company, it's a cult!

Re:Dude why are you stressing? (2, Insightful)

bryane (614590) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440577)

Why assume that they require everyone to be the same? They might need to fill a niche, and realize they need someone creative to complement the mix that currently exists... Tests aren't always binary, and there may be more of a "both/and" mentality.

I had one of these once.... (5, Interesting)

DjReagan (143826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439589)

I once applied for a job that gave me one of these personality profiling tests. I completed the test, and the interview, and obviously passed whatever crietia they were looking for, as they offered me the job. I then declined to take the position, and told them the sole reason why I was turning them down was the fact they used a personality profile as part of the selection criteria.

Re:I had one of these once.... (2, Funny)

dirtmerchant (162306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439817)

Yeah, the 90's were great, weren't they?

Re:I had one of these once.... (1)

RabidMonkey (30447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440453)

wow .. wish I had that option ... I've been unemployed for a year now and would bend over and take a rectal exam if it'd get me a job at this point.

booo to unemployment!

We do that here. (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439605)

We use similar tests at the place where i work, and i must say, after seeing the results and the candidates, the test results are suprisingly accurate, although we have a policy of interviewing candidates whatever their results.

We usually end up rejecting all the candidates based on their interview, that the tests say we should reject anyway. It also helps us target applicants for other jobs within the company.

Re:We do that here. (1, Insightful)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439696)

> We usually end up rejecting all the candidates based on their interview, that the tests say we should reject anyway.

Have you ever thought of making your interview decision before looking at the test results? If you know going into the interview that they "failed", that knowledge is likely altering your perception of them during the interview.

From a scientific point of view, it would also be interesting to compare the performance of employees who were hired (regardless of test results), and see if those that failed actually do better.

I also wonder if there is a gender/racial bias in the test results. If so, you're likely setting yourself up for a discrimination lawsuit. At my place of work, they make us go to training before we are allowed to interview candidates. The emphasis in the training is on the fact that we can only ask candidates questions that relate to their job. I don't think the lawyers would like us asking candidates if they are "Appreciative in their current job," as that has NOTHING to do with whether or not they are qualified to perform the job that I am offering.

A fine example of an illegal question from King of the Hill:

Hank: We're all Christians around here. How 'bout you?

Re:We do that here. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439971)

Have you ever thought of making your interview decision before looking at the test results? If you know going into the interview that they "failed", that knowledge is likely altering your perception of them during the interview.

Usually two different people do the test and the interview, so essentially what you are suggesting, happens.

I also wonder if there is a gender/racial bias in the test results. If so, you're likely setting yourself up for a discrimination lawsuit. At my place of work, they make us go to training before we are allowed to interview candidates

Our interviewer is a long standing and well trained professional, and i can assure you we in no way discriminate between anything, we judge people entirely on their merits.

Re:We do that here. (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440210)

> we judge people entirely on their merits.

Clearly you're not. I looked over the sample OAD test and if you're using it in any way as a basis for hiring, you are hiring people for something beyond how well qualified they are for the job.

How does one's satisfaction of their current job (or any psychological profile) alter their qualification to work for you?

Re:We do that here. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440753)

If they're programming, but they hate it, and want to be an artist, should I really hire them to be a programmer?

'The merits' can and should include things like 'will they get along with the rest of the team' and 'are they psycologically capable of performing their tasks?'

Somebody like me, for example, an INTP [intp.org] probably shouldn't be hired for a marketing job. That's not discriminating against me, that's understanding that I don't have the temperment to do marketing.

The second link under the 'What is an INTP' for intp.org, by the way, is an excellent essay on us INTP types.

Re:We do that here. (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440937)

> If they're programming, but they hate it, and want to be an artist, should I really hire them to be a programmer?

If they are qualified to do the job, yes, you should.

> The merits' can and should include things like 'will they get along with the rest of the team'...

And if the rest of the team happen to spend their Saturdays at KKK meetings, do you feel justified in excluding minorities?

> Somebody like me, for example, an INTP probably shouldn't be hired for a marketing job.

If you are qualified and are seeking the job, you have an equal right to be considered for that position. In todays economy, do you really think that everyone is going to get their ideal job?

I love my job. I'm sometimes surprised that I don't have to pay my employer to do what I do. But if I were laid off and could not find a similar job, I would do any job that I needed to support myself and my family, even if that means working at McDonalds. I can guarantee you that I would NOT be happy in my work, but I would be capable of doing all that is required.

But you're proposing a world where I have no right to accept a job that I would be unhappy at.

> Somebody like me, for example, an INTP probably shouldn't be hired for a marketing job.

Nevertheless, if the marketing job paid $200K and the INTP job paid $20K, you may be willing to do that job. You have a right to be equally considered for the job.

Interesting also that the INTP site uses a picture of Einstein. I wonder if he was pyschologically suited to working in a patent office?

As for whether or not an INTP can do well in marketing, the "Famous INTPs" include lots of politicians. I would think a politician is perfectly suited to marketing...

Re:We do that here. (2, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441179)

But you're proposing a world where I have no right to accept a job that I would be unhappy at.

No, I'm proposting a world where the employer has the right to refuse me a job based on the fact that I can't do it properly.

I'm not qualified to do marketing. No matter how many courses I take, how much marketing theory I understand, I'm not qualified to do marketing. Why? Because I'm not a 'people person.' Therefore, I'm not qualified to do marketing. I might be 'technically' qualified, but I'm not qualified.

I can guarantee you that I would NOT be happy in my work, but I would be capable of doing all that is required.

I'm sure you would. But would they rather hire the exuberant, extroverted people person, who doesn't need to force a smile and who really does care about the customer, or would they rather hire the engineer who is unfortunately caught in the tech implosion, and doesn't want to be there?

It's no more 'unfair' or 'discriminatory' to check for this, then it is to check for 'hard' skills. If you can't code, you can't be a programmer. If you can't sympathise/empathise with people, you can't be a counsellor.

Re:We do that here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5441266)

So a natural looking smile is proof that someone "really cares". How many times have you bought the brooklin bridge this year?

Re:We do that here. (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441388)

> a world where the employer has the right to refuse me a job based on the fact that I can't do it properly.

I guess we're still pretending that there is some real science behind these tests. In the original poster's case, he was not considered at all because of his test score. What if, objectively, he had more work experience and education and had a lower salary demand than the candidate that was ultimately selected for the job?

And, as I've said before, what if we can scientfically determine that white men best work in an environment without anyone who is not also a white man. Even if that is true, we live in a society that has developed a social conscience and does not tolerate such discrimination. I can not see any difference between your "psychological profile" and your race, gender or physical disabilities.

Now I can imagine that there are some jobs that do require certain characteristics. A moving company would be justified in not hiring a quadraplegic to a position of moving boxes around. But you're going to have a MUCH harder time convincing me that an introvert is incapable of a job that involves human interaction. In fact, I would think you would have an easier time convincing a jury that your psychological profiling was nothing but a facade for illegal discrimination.

> would they rather hire the exuberant, extroverted people person...

Can he count change as well as I can? Does he have any experience? Will he try as hard as I will? Are you sure he's not going to spend too much time chatting with one customer and ignoring the next person in line?

Re:We do that here. (2, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5442152)

I guess we're still pretending that there is some real science behind these tests.

Well, later you throw in racisim, so I'll point out that Galileo was excommunicated from the church because of his 'nonsense.' I think that psychology and social interactions are a science, just one that we're only now starting to explore in a structured way.

In the original poster's case, he was not considered at all because of his test score.

No, in the original poster's case, he THINKS he wasn't considered at all because of his test score. We've no way of knowing that, do we?

Hell, at this point, I could say that 'when hiring for a programming job, giving them a problem to solve isn't 'fair' because it measures how well they take tests, not how well they'll code on a day to day basis.'

Should decisions be made solely on things like M-B type indicators? No, probably not. Can said things have a bearing? Yes.

At least, I think so.

Re:We do that here. (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5442498)

So, because Galileo was excommunicated for heresy (and NOT because he was following the scientific method), anyone who preaches a pseudo-science can now claim that people are not treating them fairly either. Just remember, while they laughed at Edison and Marcconi, they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Phrenology was once also accepted as a science.

Here's a site with lots of humorous* examples of the misuse of psychological tests [deltabravo.net] .

Or you can read about what many think is real science, polygraphy [antipolygraph.org] .

There may, in fact, be a way to explore psychology in an empirical and scientfic manner. But I don't think we're anywhere near that stage yet, and I am bothered by the notion that people's livelihoods are affected by the latest fads in psychology.

Even, assuming we reach the point where one can be plugged into a machine that can empirically measure our worth as humans, I would hope that such uses would be outlawed for any purposes other than treatment of individuals. I don't want to live in Gattaca or Huxley's Brave New World.

* Humorous only because they didn't happen to me. They're actually quite sad and frightening.

Re:We do that here. (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5443304)

Aye, aye. If you're ever in a rather morbid mood, go pick up the 'Taint of Madness' sourcebook for Call of Cthulu RPG. As with many such expansions, it's a wonderful primer and history on it's subject; subject in this case being the history of psychology and mental disease.

Nasty stuff, like locking people in giant washing machines for 'hydrotherepy.' *shudder*

Now, what I've always hated in interviews was 'behavioural profiling.' "Tell me about a time...you were part of a project that was going very very poorly. What did you do? How did you react?" Yeah, show me your Masters of Psych or Sociology, and then you can interpret my actions.

Re:We do that here. (1)

algebraist (9797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441000)

Okay. Since this is a group which prides itself upon technological erudition and logic, please justify your assessment that "the test results are su[r]prisingly accurate". How do you know? Using "gut feel"? If your company uses these tests all the time, how can you know if you've not hired someone who failed the test?

Snake-Oil (2, Interesting)

abreauj (49848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439661)

This looks to me like just another scam, similar to things like handwriting analysis, horoscopes, or tarot card readings. It's frustrating when employers resort to such nonsense to screen job applicants; it's just a lose-lose situation.

Re:Snake-Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5441275)

This looks to me like just another scam, similar to things like handwriting analysis, horoscopes, or tarot card readings.

Speak not of what you know not.

I've seen a lot of people here slam religion, psychics, or what they call psycho babble. I have yet to see that any ONE of these "slammers" has read one piece of information about what they are slamming. It's no better than Rush Limbaugh saying all Democrats are liberals and all liberals are bad, so all Democrats are bad. He's too blind to even consider any fact or piece of data that could disprove him.

I've heard people say, "Read this, or look up that," but, in every case, they're saying to read a book that supports their view point.

As I said, not once have I ever seen anyone slam any of the topics mentioned (by you or me) if they have actually researched and read up on the topic from a point of view different than their own.

Personally, I've seen people do remote tarot readings (the person they were reading wasn't there -- so they couldn't do a 'cold reading') that were just amazing. I've seen astrologers look at a birth chart (Which is a LOT more complex than the stupid newspaper "I'm an Aries" horoscopes) and give a wealth of accurate detail about the person the chart described.

I go out of my way not to judge religion, beliefs, and points of view. I've found that, by doing so, I've made many friends I would have never talked to if I were judgemental of people outside of my belief system and I've seen things that I would have never believed possible.

Again, speak not of what you know not.

It only shows you have never studied or researched the topic -- or have only researched it from one point of view.

I hate them (1)

Quantum Skyline (600872) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439672)

I've seen a few of these in my time applying for summer jobs. Since companies advertise their jobs to universities all over Southern Ontario, they need a quick and dirty method of filtering those who are underqualified. Consequently, I find (and I have plenty of experience with this) is that you have to know the hiring director or some senior vice president or something like that even if you are the most qualified. Since I don't know any senior VPs, I have to work my ass off twice as hard just to get an interview or pray the random number generator that picks resumes finds mine.

I've taken these tests and you never see the results of this test. But if you do badly, you never hear from the company ever again. That pisses me off. Personality tests from what I've seen are usually inaccurate, and there are two or three common ones so people memorize answers or know what they "should write".

A previous poster mentioned that its easy if you tell the test what it wants to hear. While that may be true in the long run, its still tough unless you know the environment you are applying to (everybody's a workaholic and truly volunteers unpaid overtime for the love of it or its laid back) since they need different personalities to fit into the individual company.

These tests should be dropped. If you can't figure out a person's personality in an interview, you're not interviewing properly.

whiner (2, Informative)

ragnar (3268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439677)

Has anyone else had experience with such a test, especially as the sole means of determining a candidate suitable for a job?

What makes you think this is the sole reason? It is simply a pre-condition, like a degree or exposure to certain technologies or industries. If a company knows that a certain personality from the meyers-briggs (for example) test works best on their team, and they have an abundance of applicants, can you blame them? Talent and skill are important, but if you've worked on a team with the odd guy you know how important team dynamics are. Whether this test can really acertain personality for them is another matter and I'm not really qualified to judge.

Btw, I'm also in the job market, so I feel your pain. It sucks, but for all you know this company did you a favor.

Re:whiner (2, Insightful)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439703)

> If a company knows that a certain personality ... works best on their team ...

What if a company knows that white men work better together. Can you blame them if they don't hire women or minorities?

Re:whiner (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440256)

The way employment works in the US is that you are essentially allowed to do anything you want, except when it treads onto a few certain sacred cows - age discrimination, civil rights, handicapped or whatever is specifically protected in law.

I saw a joke once - "you can take a healthy white male under the age of 40 out into the parking lot and shoot him and be ok as far as employment law is concerned".

Re:whiner (2, Insightful)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440418)

I'm surprised that my original comment was marked as flaimbait. I think my analogy was perfectly apt and I'm very curious how one can justify discriminating on an employee because he doesn't fit the correct psychological profile.

Let me seperate my objection to this form a discrimination from the notion that this is anything but pseudo-science. For the sake of argument, I will pretend that their is some objective aspect to these tests.

Is a company justified and picking only a certain personality profile for employment (regardless of what that profile may be)?

I know where I work the Legal department has told us we can't ask women if they plan to get pregnant. An employer might well be justified in not wanting such candidates. After all, pregnant women are likely to take advantage of the Federal laws that allow them to take leave for a number of weeks without losing their jobs. As an employer, I might be justified in not wanting to waste my time training someone who isn't going to stay in the workforce. Women, statistically speaking, are more likely to abandon their careers for family.

> you are essentially allowed to do anything you want

This is not the way our Legal department understands things. We our only allowed to ask candidates questions relating to their qualifications to do the work.

I also wonder what will happen if someone does a study and finds that males and females or different minority categories tend to have different scores on these tests. I would be shocked if there was not some correlation between race/gender and various subjective personality profiles. We already know that there is a cultural bias in the SATs.

It might be nice if employees socialized more outside of work. That would likely lead to getting along better at work. Nevertheless, we can NOT hire an employee based on what he indicates he will do after hours, be it Church on Sunday or Civil Rights demonstrations on Saturday.

If you think it's ok to hire only nerds because they all think and act alike, how is this different than only hiring Republicans?

Re:whiner (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440703)

Women, statistically speaking, are more likely to abandon their careers for family.

And men, statistically speaking, are likely to abandon their jobs for their careers. Men job-hop more than women - possibly because they are more career-oriented. So, unless you are concerned where your potential employee goes next, and you prefer them to go to a competitor than drop out of the job market, you are better off hiring women (on this single point, of stay at a single employer, alone I add hastily).

Re:whiner (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440758)

> you are better off hiring women ...

Which is just as illegal as only hiring men.

Re:whiner (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 11 years ago | (#5448033)

I wasn't say you should do it, just that if you react according to the (illegal) prejudice you expressed, you would actually be harming not helping yourself.

Re:whiner (1)

spRed (28066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440832)

> We already know that there is a cultural bias in the SATs.

A statistical correlation between race or ethnicity and scores isn't the same as a 'bias' in the common sense of the word. Blacks and hispanics are, on average, poorer in the US than whites and asians. That is a very hard thing to correct for in statistics because a whole host of things go along with it (parent's education, better local schools, even better nutrition!). People that want to show a 'bias' with statistics will do so, garunteed.

Looking at groups you can always find something that isn't perfectly equally represented between them. That's OK because the SATs _are taken by individuals_ and schools look at applicants _as individuals_. If they averaged your score with everyone else in your 'group' I would cry foul, but they don't becuase it would be silly.
[admissions offices do other silly things based on ethnicity, but thats a whole nother kettle of fish]

To the orignal poster, walk away. If HR is large enough for this beaurocracy to creep in the company as a whole must be a Dilbertian nightmare.

Re:whiner (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440882)

SATs are also not the sole criteria for getting into a school (and, partly due to the acknowledged bias, are becoming less important). In the original posters case, he was never evaluated as an individual. No interview was allowed because of his score.

If there is a racial/gender bias in this test and the test alone can keep you from employment, the company is discriminating.

Re:whiner (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441452)

"A statistical correlation between race or ethnicity and scores isn't the same as a 'bias' in the common sense of the word."

True, but such a correlation certainly offers no proof that the test is unbaised either. In any case, the charge that such tests are biased is not based entirely on statistics but rather on the content of the tests.

It's easy to see how a test could be culturaly biased. Say there was a test designed to evaluate your understanding of computers that exclusively used MS Windows terms. Those who had a background only in Unix or Apple systems would be at a disadvantage even though their understanding of computers was the same.

Re:whiner (1)

Outland Traveller (12138) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440208)

My experience with the Meyers-Briggs literature is that one of their core tennants is that none of their 16 major personality types is 'better' than another.

I don't believe this test was intended to be used for job discrimination. The seminars I attended focused on using the test as a tool to understand people's work strategies better, and better enable managers to play off of individual's strengths.

Using this kind of test for black-and-white discrimination would seem to be a perversion of its purpose. It seems tantamount to attending a "gender awareness" seminar and taking away the idea that it's too much trouble to hire women.

Re:whiner (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440716)

It's not a question of 'better' so much as 'complementary.'

Throwing an INTP onto your team can produce quite a bit of friction, if they're all SJ types, for example, as I recall.

i see the problem (2, Funny)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439679)

business and honesty don't mix

Show me the code (3, Informative)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439691)

The company I work for relies on something a bit more simplistic...code. The client wanted 8 programmers instead of 2, so we went looking. After about 15 resumes that came close 10 were off the wall, and 5 were worth possibly talking too. Well, since I'm the head person of this project I wanted to see code. Just wanted to make sure they actually knew how to program. I found it amazing that not a one of them had anything to show. I was baffled by this concept, since I probably have 20 or 30 little utility program (most are not finished, but have allot of them) just laying arround.

So I put together a simple set of utitlity type programs that they could create to show they knew something. Ten possibilies, all simple, and they just needed to pick 3 and come up with something. For some reason they all decided it was too much trouble. So we still have 2 programmers.

I'd be curious to see what one of those test would have said about the people who applied. Not that I would ever want something like that as a basis for a programmer working for me, but it would be interesting.

Fortunately I have final say in who my company hires for programming.

Re:Show me the code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5439829)

Are you still looking? Where are you?

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439849)

I'm in Baltimore, MD. And if you know Delphi (working with v5 right now) we are still looking.

Re:Show me the code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5440553)

Who the hell still uses Delphi? Man, I thought people quit with that crap 4 years ago. I would guess that your arcane choice of languages is what's holding you guys down.

Re:Show me the code (1)

softsign (120322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440878)

They probably use Delphi because it works for them. Should they be reinventing themselves every time a cute new programming language rolls along?

If you think Delphi is bad, you'd crap yourself at the amount of COBOL that's still in use at major financial institutions.

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441059)

I've been doing delphi since 1995, and the ide improves with each version. I can do other languages, but delphi (Object pascal) is just what I prefer. Java is on my "to learn" list, but haven't put in the time to really learn it.

I write client/server apps for clients, and I have to write them for computer illiterate people. Lots of effort on making it simple and as idiot proof as possible, not easy at all. Delphi handles more of the complex aspects of programming so I can spend more time on developing software for people who could care less about computers.

Re:Show me the code (3, Insightful)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439965)

I'd be surprised if most people could show you code. If they're working for another company its likely they don't have the /right/ to show you anything.

Its possible to set programming exercises at interview, but only very short ones. Since this was Delphi I guess you could let people use the IDE, but generally it'd just be pen and paper or a simple text editor, to avoid favouring people more familiar with a given IDE.

You might be interested in this article [artima.com] and its followup [artima.com] on how to interview programmers. Some of the panel do talk about asking to see code.

Asking someone to write a bit of code is more something I'd do to a junior programmer, to see if they can cut it at all, because of the small size of the exercise. For senior posts, I'd hope to hear them describe how to solve a problem, being specific about the technologies involved; a demonstration of the breadth of knowledge and problem-solving ability that they'd need to lead on a project.

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440478)

I guess this would be a bit off topic, but don't most programmers do programming at home? Not actually work related programming, but just toys, utilities, practice? Since there are 1000's of open source projects out there that people are giving away, I'd assume there are allot of programmers writing code at home for their own desires.

I wouldn't want to say that a programer that goes home and does no programming ever isn't good at programming, but it does make me wonder. Maybe I'm just the strange one.

Re:Show me the code (1)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440538)

don't most programmers do programming at home?

I code at home all the time.

But, the stuff I do at home is either small throwaway stuff written while I learn a new technology, or it's real stuff written for work.

The small throwaway stuff is nothing like the real stuff I do at work. Toys, utilities, and practice are written with adifferent goals and for a different audience.

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440816)

The small throwaway stuff is nothing like the real stuff I do at work. Toys, utilities, and practice are written with adifferent goals and for a different audience.

Yes, but, do you realize that things you do at home show how you want to write code, how important different aspects are. If you are like me, home code has few to no comments (I'm working on it). I shoot for functionality first...ease of use second, if at all. At work its the same order but ease of use gets almost as much priority as fuctionality.

If someone has good "at home" practices then their work practices should be excellent.

Re:Show me the code (1)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5442061)

Yes, but, do you realize that things you do at home show how you want to write code, how important different aspects are.

Again, no. I write code at work to fill the clients needs, which is often to get a maintainable business solution at a reasonable price.

I write code at home to try some new technique, scratch an itch, or just goof around. It's almost never the same (except, of course, that the inconsequential stuff like variable names, indentation, and brace style are the same).

Re:Show me the code (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440554)

Asking someone to write a bit of code is more something I'd do to a junior programmer, to see if they can cut it at all, because of the small size of the exercise. For senior posts, I'd hope to hear them describe how to solve a problem, being specific about the technologies involved; a demonstration of the breadth of knowledge and problem-solving ability that they'd need to lead on a project.

Having been in the 'biz' since 1976, in data communications, embedded systems, automated test systems, automated software quality assurance, and most recently graphics; employing everything from various assembly languages, to Java (with a particular liking for C++), I would never interview a programmer without a small programming test. And, I have a greater regard for potential employers that insist that I produce some code in "real-time" during the interview. Having to produce substantial examples of "real code" is a problem, because often, as other posters have noted, such code belongs to previous or current employers. The few times I have been asked to do that, prior to an interview, I explained the situation, suggested several programming tasks that would be representative of skill, say 500-1000 lines of C or C++, and suggested that I deliver a solution in a day or two. We'd agree to some varient of one of the tasks I'd suggest (parser for a small language, state driven automaton, cross-browser friendly Javascript, source code pretty-printer, etc.) and I'd deliver, intentionally under time pressure. When willing, I'd deliver incrementally more sophisticated solutions, so my development and refinement process could be examined, but this requires a significant investment of time on the part of the prospective employer (surprisingly, the better ones make the investment). But, I still think, that the in-interview programming exercise permits gleaning much of the same qualities with far less review effort -- the task is necessarily simpler, but the stress and pressure to perform are higher.

The "in interview" programming task doesn't have to be complex: order all the zeros in an integer array at the beginning, or sort an array -- something that can be completed in 10-20 minutes, tops.

The junior programmer will, of course, take the approach he or she knows, and may be able to talk about the complexity of the algorithm. That, and correctness, is all you should expect.

The senior programmer will start with the same, and then proceed to (a) analyze the solution for best, worst, and average case behavior, for running time and memory use, as appropriate; (b) suggest alternatives with their pros and cons; (c) explore the posibilities of making the algorithm generic; (d) identify any traits that might affect implementation. In particular, if there are nested tests in the implementation, the experienced programmer will consider optimization for the order in which the tests are done, noting that branches can be expensive.

Usually, one thinks all these "extra" steps "take time" and are thus expensive and to be avoided. However, the experienced programmer will make a big dent in considering those issues in the same time as the junior programmer struggles to solve the basic problem -- often concurrently while the solution he or she chose to present is still being illustrated.

Of course, the senior programmer will also be expected to "speak to" design methodologies and software engineering best practices, be comfortable with a variety of programming languages, and can demonstrate an ability to pick up a new language without difficulty (I "relearn" Perl or Tcl everytime they're the right tool for the job).

But, the bottom line is, a designer who can't code or understand code can't, without help, produce a running program. They might be of value in some shop, perhaps, but I've never encountered a place where designers (who may be using some modelling system, like Rational Rose, that can crank out state and event-driven code from a meta-description) aren't expected to deal with compiler errors and warnings on their own.

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440965)

Now from you comment, and looking at your resume online, all I would want is a bit of code to show you know how to write...I'd be quite happy to have you.

Re:Show me the code (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441121)

If you're serious, I could come up with something. There's a bit of an attempt at cross-browser "web cams" with "picture in picture" javascript here [hollan.org] , but (a) Javascript is not my real forte, (b) the code has not been kept up to date to accomodate real recent non-standard browsers, and (c) most of the cams are probably dead by now [Jennycam and Kellycam seam to be live]. It represents an toy exercise to rapidly produce something in a language I really don't know. Generally, I'd offer C or C++ examples.

With regard to the hardware side of networking, you can look here [hollan.org] : that's what I did for my house in Dallas.

I amgainfully employed at the moment, so any interest would have to be serious and financially worth my while. What kind of code would you like to see?

Re:Show me the code (1)

pthisis (27352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5445199)

[quote]I'd be surprised if most people could show you code. If they're working for another company its likely they don't have the /right/ to show you anything.[/quote]

I can't imagine going for a serious programming interview and getting a job offer before they'd seen what my code looks like.

I've always required a code sample from applicants, and every job I've applied for where I didn't personally know the tech staff required the same from me (not up front, but once you got past the stupid-filters and the first round interview).

Even big corporate top-secret employers (Lockheed-Martin comes to mind) have been willing to let former employees bring code with reasonable measures to safeguard it (not a whole program, no passwords, hard-copy only that is destroyed after the interview). When we went to lay people off at one of my former companies (who I've since left, though I still do occasional contract work for), I made sure that legal let people know we'd be willing to let them use coding samples (for interview purposes only) under similar guidelines.

Indeed, the only time that former employers have been at all a sticking point is when the applicant is still working for them (and doesn't want to let them know they're applying elsewhere) or did work under contract for a third-party (who had full rights to the code). But those applicants have with one exception had some personal code to show--the one guy took us up on writing sample code just for us since he wasn't previously a programmer and wanted to enter the field (he was a hands-on engineer with a PhD in a related field to the work we were doing).

It doesn't have to be a huge project, but you really _need_ to see what someone's code looks like and how they are at explaining it to you and discussing alternative approaches, etc.

Sumner

Re:Show me the code (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440322)

Probably 99% of the employers they interview with never give them a call back. Why invest that much time for a position they most likely won't get?

Obviously they should go home and write some code to show for the next interview. But to write code specifically for you....

You even admitted that you wouldn't hire them on the basis of that little project. Then it honestly was not worth their time to do it.

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440454)

Why invest that much time for a position they most likely won't get?


Well, actually, the people we were asking to see code from were the ones we were concidering hiring. One of the other people we hired a while ago did bring in code to show. It comes down to the fact that when hiring a programmer for a specific job, one that they might not have direct experience for, I don't want to turn away someone who could do it. But on the other hand I don't have the time to hold thier hand for a couple months while they get the hang of it. One of them had a very good resume, but absolutely nothing to show. Since I could put "Java God" on my resume it wouldn't make it true. Could I bs my way through an interver? Possibly, but could I start a job tomorrow using java and be somewhat productive, not really. It is actually quite easy to read a few books and learn a few concepts and you can talk it quite a bit, but doing is so much more important than talking about it.

It comes down to time/ability. Code shows me if they have the basis for the skills that I need them to have. It also shows coding style, if the code is extreamly sloppy, then there would have to be other more redeaming qualities to make up for it.

I work for a small company, hiring the wrong person not only cost the company money, but cost me time in having to work more hours to correct major screw ups.

Re:Show me the code (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440686)

Maybe they were paranoid about winding up doing 'free work' for you. I've seen it happen.

Yes...we're hiring...a...cisco...engineer...but we need you to come in...for a day...and ...ummm...show us how...well you can...umm...fix this problem with the router. *shifty eyes* We broke it *shifty eyes* as a test, you see. *shifty eyes*

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440764)

Actually, the test was things like simple db program using demo db files that come with delphi (paradox flat file) and just do simple things like read and write to it. Some of the others were a simple caclulator, A dice generator (give it how many sides and how many to roll), A calender, a slider game (16 blocks one empty), Simple program to place shapes on a form, and a program to do minor number analysis on randomly generated numbers. Now they didn't have to do them all, we were looking for 2 or 3. Nothing I don't already have or could generate in a hour or two.

I just wanted to see how they approached writing code.

Re:Show me the code (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440835)

Huh. Maybe they didn't have Delphi compilers at home?

Dunno, dunno. Guess they didn't want a job too badly if they couldn't be arsed to do that, eh?

Re:Show me the code (1)

Darkstorm (6880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440867)

Beyond me, I have enough problems without asking for more. If I would have seen code, and it looked decent and it appeared they could do the job, they would have had it. If you don't have the initiative to do something to show you are worth hiring I can't see how anyone could get upset when not getting the job.

Re:Show me the code (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440681)

Obviously they should go home and write some code to show for the next interview. But to write code specifically for you....

I've done that. An interviewer wanted to see some code, but I didn't have any handy. I promised him some in email the next day. After the interview, I went home and started coding. I wrote a simulation of their product, including some of the technological constraints we'd talked about at the interview. I got the job.

Interviewing for a prior job, I was asked to bring some C code. I didn't have any, mainly because I didn't know C. But I had a bunch of Perl code, and I got a release from my then-current employer to show some of the (mostly assembly) work I'd done there. And, prior to the interview, I spent a weekend with K&R and coded up a small utility in C. So I came armed with some of my actual work, some non-trivial Perl, and some neophyte C. I told them flat out, "Look, I don't know C, but I can learn. I whipped this up over the weekend, with no prior experience in the language. And here are examples of my style when I know a language very well!" I managed to convince them that it's more important to be a Good Programmer than to have experience with any particular language. I got that job, too.

Of course, then there was one of the code samples I got when I was hiring. Someone sent in some demo code that ran under Windows. So I fired it up and tried it out. Okay, a little crude, but not a bad job. But I just happened to have a memory meter running. I noticed that it was climbing, even when the program was idle. I just watched as it went higher and higher. A few minutes later the program crashed due to "out of memory". That guy didn't get the job! People, if you send demo code, make sure it at least doesn't crash, okay?

Re:Show me the code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5449938)

When I was job searching after college, a couple of the companies I applied to gave me programming tests that I had to hand write. I think that's probably a better indication of who's a better programmer...no compiler, no debugging, no idea if it even works. But the employer will know soon enough. The tests were nothing big. But when you're put on the spot, they can be hard enough.

dumbest. test. ever. (1)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439701)

I mean, if someone who honestly thinks that they should be "nervous" while doing their job passes the interview phase...

too many applicants, too few jobs (1)

Spudley (171066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439719)

That's the trouble when you've got too many applicants for a job - you have to whittle them down somehow to a number of people that you can interview in a reasonable amount of time.

If you think this is bad, at least they gave you something; most companies I know would just pick a handful of the best applicants to interview, and bin the rest without even replying to them.

It's a filtering game. (3, Insightful)

PinglePongle (8734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439803)

The whole selection process is all about filtering out as many people as you can, as early as possible.


I once had to hire around 20 developers in a 6 month period, while managing the team through a pretty hairy crisis situation. The only way I could do that is by increasing the likelihood of getting a hire for every interview I did. To do that, I developed some heuristics :

  • reject CVs which list only "skills" and companies
  • reject CVs which use obscure jargon specific to the organisation or industry ("I was the lead AD for the MIPAC project, responsible for managing the annual fnjordflurgling process")
  • reject CVs which haven't been put together with care and attention to detail; anyone who claims to be "an excellent communicator" but submits a CV full of typos is prob. not aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Shortlist CVs from "interesting" candidates - people who have done something unusual, or who show some passion outside of work
  • Shortlist people who mention the business impact of the projects they worked on, or whose CV clearly shows how their projects fit into the bigger picture
  • Shortlist people who appear to have done their homework about the position and the company.

This process basically gives you 3 piles : rejects, shortlist, and maybes. I'd see the shortlisted folk immediately, and put the maybes through some pre-screening exercise rather than see every single one of them.


I don't particularly believe in psychometric testing when recruiting for technical positions - in fact, I think having a diverse set of characteristics in the team helps - but I would definitely ask people to sit a technical test before getting to see a "real" interviewer. I wouldn't be surprised if many organisations use psychometric tests to thin out the interview list even though most psychometric experts point out that this is not a particularly sensible way to act.



I don't know what the job market is like where you are, but in the UK it's pretty tight. You may have been in someone's "maybe" pile, and they just wanted to slim it down - it's not a personal slight, the company may not even be clueless, and if I were you, I'd concentrate on improving my CV to hit the "definite" pile.

Re:It's a filtering game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5440567)

What the hell is a CV? Speak American please, this is an American website.

Re:It's a filtering game. (1)

softsign (120322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440986)

CV = curriculum vitae. Latin for "course of life", more or less.

Re:It's a filtering game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5441129)

Sure, OK, but the OAD test is BRITISH, turd stain, so I guess the whole 'artical' (to use your own American spelling, ass-spelunker) is no good for you, then?
'Definately'!

Re:It's a filtering game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5440571)

I have a better system: Since getting a job is a function of how much ass you can suck, I delicately wipe my anus on each CV I send out. When a butt-monkey like you senses the aroma of fresh feces, they go wild and and call me immediately.
The alternative is to use banana oil, the clueless monkeys used in HR will sense food and keep your CV.
Sorry, but look at what the world is becoming. Is this a sensible way for humans to act?

Re:It's a filtering game. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440929)

reject CVs which list only "skills" and companies

And what should they list? Recipes they have tried?

reject CVs which use obscure jargon specific to the organisation or industry ("I was the lead AD for the MIPAC project, responsible for managing the annual fnjordflurgling process")

So if that's what I did and did it well, bringing in X amount of dollars, what is wrong with saying so? Every industry has it's jargon.

reject CVs which haven't been put together with care and attention to detail; anyone who claims to be "an excellent communicator" but submits a CV full of typos is prob. not aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.

I agree.

Shortlist CVs from "interesting" candidates - people who have done something unusual, or who show some passion outside of work

Show something unusual? You mean like being the AD for the MIPAC project? And passion outside of work??? That's all and good but I'm interviewing for a JOB, not a critique of my hobbies.

Shortlist people who mention the business impact of the projects they worked on, or whose CV clearly shows how their projects fit into the bigger picture

Again, you deride 'jargon' but seem to want it now.

Shortlist people who appear to have done their homework about the position and the company.

I agree, expect to have several questions FROM me, when I interview.

Re:It's a filtering game. (1)

PinglePongle (8734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441951)

If you fill your resume with words I can't be expected to understand, you can't expect me to make any kind of judgement about how you did that particular job. It also shows that you don't necessarily think about the audience of your communications - which implies to me that your communication skills may be poor.

By all means, if you are proud of what you have done, blow that particular trumpet. But blow it in a key I can understand - "I was the application designer on a project which improved the performance of our webservers by doing xyz; we used the following technologies to achieve this".


The reason I get turned off by a big list of skills an individual claims to have is because I have found that - without context - they are almost impossible to evaluate. I have seen CVs which contain nothing but buzzword bingo entries, all rated at "Expert level" - I don't know anyone who is "Expert" at more than a handful of disciplines. I'd have to be desperate to even see someone who just tells me they can code in java but offers absolutely no idea how they used this in their career. Remember, my objective is to find the CVs which offer the best chance of actually getting a hire, not to evaluate every candidate as a person. It's great to see a summary - "I'm an expert at X, I've done a lot of Y and Z, and I have experience in the following environments".



When I say "I like to see something unusual" I mean people who show some spark of individuality in their CV - I've hired people who are passionate pianists, who have worked as bricklayers before turning to IT, people who have worked oversees as volunteers, and I have tried very hard to get a team with someone from every continent - do you know how hard it is to find an antarctican ? It's been my experience that people who have other interests outside IT tend to be easier to work with - this is not universally true, it's a pretty solid heuristic.



Don't get me wrong - technical abilities are very important to me. But I nearly always prefer potential over experience, and it's very rare for me to hire someone who is technically excellent but hard to get along with. And that is why I look for resumes which are well written, show some contact with the world outside of the candidate's job, and generally gives the impression that the candidate is professional and communicates well.


Re:It's a filtering game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5441204)

I reject working for any hiring manager with time to waste cruising Slashdot. Been there, suffered that.

Sounds like a great excuse (2, Insightful)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5439911)

This sounds like a great excuse for them not to hire somebody they have already decided they don't want. Applicant is too [ethnic|gay|fat|female|disabled|<other>], toss them some "personality test", and "oops" I guess they didn't pass.

Sure. (4, Insightful)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440434)

No doubt you encountered the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Assesment [cpp-db.com] test. These types of tests are fairly common and are becoming increasingly common. It isn't a pass/fail type test. Rather it is an assesment of a person's personality. It categorizes your personality into one of several group types. Are you anal and perhaps good for an accounting position? Or are you an artsy, people person that would be well suited for a marketing position?

The thing is that, these tests are amazingly accurate. If you answer honestly and then look at the results, you will see that it does accurately categorize your personality. Even if you don't want to admit that the results match you, you will certainly remember other people describing you as that type in the past. Remember that the test doesn't say anything bad about you. It just categorizes your type. If you were a detail oriented, structured, authoritarian(anal), you probably would not get along well in a job with a company filled with optimistic, free-style, unstructured, talkative, artsy types.

But, as much as it hurts, you shouldn't take it personally. The company has decided what type of personallity they like and feel is best for a position. This means that others in the department and company are likely of the same personality type. If you were of a different personality type and were awarded the position, you would likely have had problems. You would have likely had some friction with your co-workers or perhaps they would have driven you crazy. Such situations are not good for the company or YOU.

A fact of life is that this "profiling" happens in every interview. You, however are more accustommed to it in the more subtle and personal method, where the HR person is mentally profiling you throughout the interview. The thing is that some people/interviewers are good at assessing a person's personality and determining if they are a good fit or not, while other interviewers are no good at it. These tests provide the company with a more standard means of assessing an individual and reduce the likelyhood of a bad interviewer making the wrong assessment.

Re:Sure. (2, Interesting)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440621)

No doubt you encountered the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Assesment

Like you, I assumed that the test given was a Myers-Briggs or a derivative. I read the smarmy stuff on the "Organisation Analysis and Design" link and only imagined they were doing Myers-Briggs a grave disservice by representing it so poorly, with so much new-age business-speak.

Then, my wife (with an advanced degree in Psychology) made me click the link to the test: http://www.oad.ltd.uk/survey.htm [oad.ltd.uk] . We were floored. It's not a real personality profile at all. It's just a filter for buzz-word spouting business psychophants.

I would be more than willing to take a real personality profile or aptitude test to get an interview. But if I was asked to take this joke of a "survey" I would make a point to call the hiring manager to make certain he knew the crap the HR department was putting the applicants through. If he agreed with it, I would simply scratch him or her off the list of potential employers.

Re:Sure. (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440815)

But if I was asked to take this joke of a "survey" I would make a point to call the hiring manager to make certain he knew the crap the HR department was putting the applicants through. If he agreed with it, I would simply scratch him or her off the list of potential employers.

Agreed entirely. In fact, I wouldn't bother the hiring manager. If this rubbish is going on, either s/he knows about it, in which case the organisation is run by fools, of s/he does not, in which case it is run by idiots. Either way, I don't want to be there.

Re:Sure. (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5443929)

Actually there are other MBTI related tests that use the method of adjective identification. There can be terrible at picking up falsification but they are great for picking up people who are lying about their personalities. In other words they measure consistency quite well.

I don't know enough about the OAD to know if that's what they are doing but I wouldn't dismiss the method out of hand. We don't know what the company was testing for.

Re:Sure. (1)

bryane (614590) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440689)

Welcome to the buyers market. More people than there are jobs means that companies can and will use whatever means possible to cull through the reams of resumes received. I know that here (NC, USA) there are an average of 100-200 resumes received for each position posted.

Re:Sure. (1)

michaelggreer (612022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441171)

Even if you don't want to admit that the results match you, you will certainly remember other people describing you as that type in the past.

Yes, well, I think I could say the same about my horoscope. If you lay out a list of platitudes about human existence, any random selection will apply to everyone.

The thing is that some people/interviewers are good at assessing a person's personality and determining if they are a good fit or not, while other interviewers are no good at it.

I guess I believe that people are good at some things, and computers/automation/tests are good at others. Social interaction and intuition is obviously the domain of people, and thus people should do it. If they can't, than you don't want to work for them. If you are asked to take one of these things, run from the sociopath who handed it to you.

My experence (2, Funny)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440542)


I once got sent to an HR department, with a note to give them when it came time for the behavior test.

The note said "Don't give this candidate the behavior test. We are satisfied with his performance and have seen enough of his behaviors to know that we don't want to provoke any of them."

(As an independent consultant I'd already written a number of "Let's quantify the stupidity of corprorate policy X in simple, blunt terms that everyone can understand" reports.)

-- MarkusQ

P.S. I got the job.

I don't bother with companies like this (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440555)

I've walked out on more than one interview in my job hunting days because they expected me to take some kind of test (either aptitude or personality). I find the practice insulting. I also refused to send companies my transcripts from the various schools I've attended. One company called me up out-of-the-blue an wanted my high school transcripts, and at the time I'd been out of school high for over 10 years! I would argue against any coorelation between GPA and job performance, and if there is, I find that C students tend to make better employees and co-workers than A students.

It's a great test (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440695)

Like the urine test, it's great for filtering out
completely unsuitable employer candidates.

Re:It's a great test (1)

algebraist (9797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5440787)

How can you know that? How do they know that? Are you saying something as complicated as a personality or workstyle or someone's compatibility with a team can be characterized completely by a scalar value?

Re:It's a great test (1)

jareds (100340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441007)

I think it was a joke. He was saying that the presence of urine tests or hokey personality tests is a good way for employees to filter out bad employers.

Re:It's a great test (1)

algebraist (9797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441022)

Ah, sorry for being dense.

hate to break it to you.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5440706)

but the company you were applying to was a fake, and they've run off with your ssn [slashdot.org] . tomorrow you'll be picked up by homeland security for alleged drug running and al qaeda links. sorry!

Just the OAD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5441617)

Man, you're lucky. They only wanted you to take the one test?

Last summer, I arranged an interview with ThoughtWorks. They are mainly a Java and Extreme Programming shop. Even though I only had a couple months of Java under my belt, and no XP, they decided to interview me.

My first warning was actually setting up the interview. Tried for weeks to arrange a time and date. I was going to need to travel to Calgary for the interview, as that is where the job was. After about a month, they decide to fly me to HQ in Chicago instead. OK, strange, you'd think that the hiring manager would want to be involved...

Now Chicago is a major airline hub. There are at least 6 direct flights a day from where I was living. But no, the decide to fly me through Philly to save a buck. So I'm up at 3:30AM to get to the airport to catch a plane. Transfer in Philly. take a cab to their office in downtown Chicago. It's just before 10AM, which is when my interview is scheduled to start.

OK, first off, a speed-quiz. 40 or 50 questions, all fairly simple, in order of increasing difficulty. I get 12 minutes to finish. OK, got about 90% of them done. Aparently no-one actually finishes these, which makes me feel a bit better.

Then, the AOD. What a stupid profiling method. I was tempted to just check off -every- item on the test. Let's see them crunch those results. Or better yet, only check off one item. Heh heh heh. But I completed it honestly.

Then, a 1-hour bizzare test that I can only describe as 14 pages of "how well can you follow a flow-chart?". Seriously, anyone who has taken a first-year programming course could do this. But it was monotonous to say the least. Not hard, not complicated, just boring as hell.

So at this point it's about noon. I've been up since 3:30AM, and have had an OJ and a muffin to eat. They offer me a sandwich for lunch. I'm left alone for 30 minutes to eat.

Then, the actual interview. Two people show up 15 minutes late, and we sit in a small interview room with 3 chairs. Apparently these are both senior developers at the company. They give my resume a quick glance (it's obvious this is the first time they have seen the resume), and start with the questions. A few typical ones, a few technical ones.

But then one of the guys asks me a questions I simply don't know the answer to. I tell him that. I tell him I'd be willing to investigate the problem and get back to him with an answer. But he doesn't like idea, so he asks me the same question again, worded differently. I tell him I still don't know. OK, so he asks the same damn question a third time. And a fourth time. He doesn't seem to understand that he's asking the same question over and over again.

At this point, the other interviewer chimes in and asks a different question, which I answer. We get going on a technical discussion for a while. Then the other guy breaks back in. With the same question he has already asked 4 times. He seems aggitated that I won't give him an answer.

It's at this point that I decide I truly don't want to work with this bozo, and if he made it through this evil interview process, I don't want to work with the other people who made it through either.

We end the interview as I have to catch a cab and get back to the airport to catch my plane to Philly, and then to home.

I ping the HR chick a week later, hoping to get an offer so I can turn it down, but alas, no offer to be made. I ask why, but corporate policy is to not reveal any aspect of the interview process with the candidates. Oh well.

Do you really want to work at this company anyway? (2, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#5441931)

If the test is accurate, then they've decided what kind of people they want working for them. If they say you're not in their mold, do you really want to be working in a company filled with that kind of person?

And if the test is not accurate, do you want to be working for a company that places that much faith in something inaccurate?

Or, look at it this way:

You seem to see this as a Bad Thing (tm) that you were rejected so quickly by that company. Have you considered turning things around and seeing it as a Good Thing (tm) that you weren't hired? If they're looking for someone that fits a particular description, and you don't, it might have been a miserable fit. Just because it's a chance at a job, doesn't mean it's a chance at the right job.

For example, for most positions in my business, part of the interview process is going through a ropes course with the other applicants. A lot of people can't be bothered. Some tell me they can't afford the time to do it (we do it on weekends). I have my reasons, which are lengthy and based on my experience working in residential treatment centers, but I don't debate it with applicants. This narrows down our pool of applicants. It might seem like a far-out idea, but I have yet to have to fire anyone or have an employee quit on me. Those that don't like the idea of a ropes course are not likely to like the way I think and do things and the way my company works.

They can't call you a liar... (1)

tickticker (549972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5443511)

I once was tested by Radio Shack and Ace Hardware while in high school, figured the test out, and had excellent marks.

I lied.

According to their results, I had never drank, partied, and had no friends that partied. loved my mother, never stole anything from anybody, not even a paperclip from work.

What are they going to do at the end of the test.... call you a liar? They don't know you from a hole in the wall.

Now the question is... did you want to work there after this utter stupidity. Imagine the people who tell the truth... This is the world of business, only about 20% of what goes on is the truth. I was at least 80% truthful on the test, so I guess I'm pretty ethical in the world of business.

I like your sig better than mine

What the OAD seems to be looking for (2, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5444055)

I don't know anything about the OAD but by there description it may be clear what they are looking for:

But natural competence and personality have scant regard for status. Often as not, a misfit will mean an expensive mistake... low productivity, disruptive staff and poor morale.

While being phrased positively what they are testing for is institutional conformity. The test is designed to eliminate the kind of guy who would go to ask.slashdot to try and find out more about why he was rejected for a job. What they want most likely are people who:

a) Are highly loyal to institutions and tend to follow direction.

b) Are likely to go along easily with group consensus

c) Don't have strong opinions about issues but have very strong opinions about not being divisive.

The fact that you are:

1) A slashdot reader
2) Questioning the methodology

means it is unlikely you fit these personality types.

BTW I would agree with the other poster regarding MBTI. I disagree with the "amazing accurate" comment in fact I think there are some structural problems with MBTI as relates to Jung's theory but regardless its one of the most heavily used personality assessments in the US. A very good first book [amazon.com] .

Where's the Humanity in HR these days? (1)

Aropax20 (636154) | more than 11 years ago | (#5445688)

Back in high school, we all had to do these aptitude tests (several gazillion questions) and the result was a "confidential report to parents" listing a single occupation each student was suited for, plus a short list of similar careers for parents to consider guiding their kids into...

That was all fine and dandy, except mine came back "debt collector". At the time, I was about 5'8" and 100 pounds wringing wet!

So-called human resources is all very well, except they seem to resist any opportunity to deal with real, live, 100% people.

Eliminating job candidates solely on the basis of a few dozen generalised (and subjective) personality questions is sheer lunacy, to me.

In my current job (I'm an editor and sometime cartographer) the process ran like this... 1) Long list of candidates culled from CVs and application letters (based on apparent qualifications)

2) Those were then brought into the office and given a small prac exam - working with genuine copy and to see how each applicant approached the various tasks.

3) The usual shortlist for interviews, all face to face and extremely relaxed.

Looking back, I really liked the opportunity to show my future employers what I could do, instead of being a score number on some impersonal questionnaire!

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