These days it seems 90% of all jobs are found online (that isn't an official statistic, so don't ask for a citation). Finding jobs online means more filling out online applications, more emailing resumes, and (worst of all) more personality surveys. I've taken a Human Resources class (so I know everything there is to know about Human Resources!), and I understand the underlying thought process behind these surveys. Give all potential employees this survey to try to weed out the psychos, the lazies, and the racists. We all want that, right? We don't want to work next to Jeffrey Dahmer, a KKK member, or (to go less extreme) someone who is going to slack off and force you to do more work to make up for their glaring ineptitude.
But, here's the thing, a psycho/lazy/racist who legitimately wants a job is going to do what everyone does when trying to get a job: tell you what you want to hear! When I am at an interview and the interviewer asks me a question about how I feel about working as a team, I am going to say I love working as a team (even if working as a team makes me want to pull out each one of my eyelashes one by one with a tiny pair of tweezers – and it does!) because that is what they want to hear. I'm not going to tell the interviewer that my last boss was an idiot/smelled like feet/had creepy teeth or that I may have taken one too many sick days at my last job because I wanted to stay home and watch TV. When you agree to an interview, you agree to let them to see the best version of yourself (even if some of it isn't the entire truth) in order to get the job. Who hasn't done this? It's just what you do.
Now, not only are you expected to go to an interview and smile and nod and ask pertinent questions that will make you look like a well-adjusted and responsible individual, you now have to answer a 300 question survey (that takes at least 45 minutes to finish) to make sure that if you do get the job, you won't cause the company time and money with a harassment lawsuit (or some other awful scenario that could have been avoided if you had been properly screened out with said survey). They try to beat around the bush with questions like:
I believe that people different from me are beneath me.
Work groups are most effective when they are made up of people with similar backgrounds.
I am uncomfortable around people with different backgrounds.
No matter the nationality, most people are honest and trustworthy.
Really? The previous four questions were all part of one legitimate survey I completed for a job at a hospital. Those four questions are all pretty much asking: “Are you racist?” in a not-so subtle way. Why not cut that survey down from 300 questions to about 14 by asking straight-out: “Are you a racist?” It gets right to the point. And, honestly, if I am crazy enough to answer “I Agree, I Disagree, I Agree, I Disagree” to the above four questions (respectively) clearly I have problems. But for the most part, everyone who fills out this survey is going to say exactly what is expected of them.
Examples of other questions on this same survey are:
I have a hard time finishing work.
Most people would describe me as being very responsible and reliable.
I always seem to be in a hurry.
I sometimes do things in a halfway manner.
We all know the answers to these questions. If you are trying to get a job, you don't want the people looking at the survey you filled out to think that you aren't responsible, that you do things in a halfway manner, or that you have a hard time finishing work. Forget asking the question: “Are you lazy?” and just ask: “Do you want this job, and are you willing to pretend that you are the greatest person in the history of the world in order to get this job?” Because we all sometimes do things in a halfway manner. And I don't know many people who aren't always in a hurry anymore.
If you want to make sure you are hiring a good employee, the real questions should be:
Even if I end up hating this job, I will still do my best not to let that show.
I will pretend to like the people I work with, even if they are gut-wrenchingly boring and idiotic.
I won't let my racism/biases/beliefs interfere with my work.
This job might not be my dream job, but I will pretend it is to get a raise.
Sometimes I will do something in a halfway manner, but I'll try not to most of the time.
I'll be honest, unless it would get me in trouble. And then I will be mostly honest.
Those are all some questions I can get behind. If I applied for a job, and they made me take a survey with those questions I would look forward to meeting them. It means they understand that they aren't hiring the next Mother Teresa. They're just trying to hire someone who will do the job, and probably not kill anyone in the process. Because, really, isn't that what's important here?