I’ve started applying to a number of retail jobs and all in all, its been an odd experience. I’m beginning to be exposed to the various frustrations that other professionals face when circumstances forced them to make this type of a change. Most of these applications really are not set up for salaried position. I keep getting asked for what my hourly rates were in previous jobs. I haven’t been hourly since I was in college. And its very wired to be applying for a $10 an hour job and listing your previous gig at somewhere around $30 an hour (And I’m not ever sure if thats right).

Also, at least two of the jobs have had online applications. While that process moves pretty quickly, both had these extensive Myers Briggs style personality based questions. Here are few examples, moving from the expected to the, well, kind strange:

  • You change from feeling happy to sad without any reason
  • You get angry more often than nervous
  • You have confidence in yourself

    Ok… I can sorta understand those. But who can expect to be given an honest answer to the next two:

  • You swear when you argue
  • Right now, you care more about having fun than being serious at school or work

    Come on! Don’t you think saying “Yes, I always swear when I argue” is going to hurt you get a position? Or that “right now I care more about having fun than working” is exactly what employers are hoping for? Then we get to the interesting one:

  • It is maddening when the court lets guilty criminals go free

How are you supposed to answer that? And why is it there? If I disagree does that flag me as someone who approves of crime? Or if I agree is that a sign that I’m so reactionary? Weird.

But what is the most distressing is that the interview process has been reduced to a series of questions that don’t even need to be asked by a person. Again, we have the case of automation of a “fuzzy-logic” process. While its not a bot, I have to admit that this entire experience has been alienating. Especially because I got asked the same questions on both applications. And I realized that I was trying to remember my previous answers in hopes of not being inconsistent. I mean, what does it mean if I was hard on crime yesterday and not today.

I’m sure that the idea is that based on my answers I get flagged as a good canditate for one position vs. another. I wonder if there is a website there that offers coaching for how to answer these. You know: be hard on crime and ready to swear if your a cashier, but managers should be softer and never swear.

btw: if any folks out there know anyone at Harris Research, can you let me know. I’d really like to chat with someone from there.