Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Adventures in Job Searching
This was for a position in a public agency, and it was the kind of exam that uses a computer scan for grading; the old "fill in the bubble with a Number Two pencil" kind of exam.
There were over a hundred applicants. We all sat at tables in a big room, and as the test booklets were handed out, we were warned not to open the booklet until instructed.
Let's just say that the experience took me back to high school. There were questions about grammar and spelling, questions about logic, problem-solving questions, and - of course - math.
"Mr. Jones gets a monthly salary of $4,560. If he gets a 3.2% pay raise, what will his monthly salary be?" If his employer cuts his hours by 10%, what will his monthly salary be?"
"If it takes a team of 7 people 9 days to do a job, how many days would it take a team of 3 people?" Ummmm.....I'm not even sure how to start figuring it out! Should I just pick one of the multiple-choice answers that seems right? Should I skip it and come back to it?
Moving on, I'm given a scenario of 8 workers who must be scheduled for shifts, and each worker has conditions that must be met - worker A can only work in the afternoon, worker B must share a shift with worker C, and worker C can only work on alternate Tuesdays. How many workers will be available on Thursday next?
Choose the sentence that contains a grammatical error. Read sentence A. Then choose a sentence that would restate it in a better way - including "d. none of the above."
There I was, staring at the bubbles on the test page, gripping my pencil, sweating and twisitng my feet together under the desk, writing on scratch paper (provided) and erasing furiously. I felt suddenly thirteen years old again.
The other applicants were all ages, all ethnicities. Some were dressed in suits and wore ties; others more casually. Some were very young, fresh out of college, and others were older, with graying hair. One man near me wore sagging jeans and a sweatshirt. Still, I glanced at him suspiciously. Was he better at math than I am?
Two and a half hours were set aside for the test, and I finished in about two hours. I went back and checked over my math questions - there were only 20 - and reworked the ones I was uncertain about. But, seriously, in today's workplace, who does math by hand?
When was the last time you were made to feel like you were back in high school?