A Story About Job Searching

So I, like almost 3 million other Americans, am unemployed.  

Recently I applied for a job at a small company which provides awareness programming around issues such as sexual health, body image, diversity, dating violence prevention, etc… totally up my alley.  They are also affiliated with a nonprofit which promotes awareness of sexual assault/violence, and this job would have involved both.  So, I was excited.  I was even more excited when the director called me and explained that she wanted someone brainy and skilled and creative and passionate (that’s me!) who is interested in working towards positive change (again, I’m just exploding with ideals and naive hope for a better world).  So I thought “hey here’s my chance!”  We scheduled an interview for this Friday.

THEN, in my email, I receive a “questionnaire.”  I opened it, intending to fill it out right away and return it.  I was kind of startled to see a long three-component document, most of which has been obviously copied and pasted from various sources into one piece.  The first section was normal enough, she asked me to rate my capabilities on a variety of tasks.  I finished that and then moved on to section two.  Section two was a little bit more eyebrow raising.  It was a personality test.  As I was reading, I realized this was not just ANY personality test, but a particularly absurd one.  So I googled it and I found it online:

In case you wanted to take it yourself, go here.

Although the questions were copied verbatim, the format changed.  When you take the test online, the idea is that you place yourself somewhere along the line between the two statements.  In the email it was an either/or scenario, as in “pick one, black or white.” I decided it would be better to save this section for later and moved on.

Section Three was the killer… I’ll just copy and paste it here, because I can’t do it justice any other way.

Please answer the following about yourself:

Do you have children and their ages? 

Are you married/Domestic Partner and how long you’ve been together?

Do you attend religious services weekly?

Have you missed work/school because of sickness? 

Would you be willing to work up to 80 hours per week if you knew you would be making $50,000+ in 3 years?

Do you plan to have children in the next 3 or 4 years


So, where to begin?  The ONLY question that isn’t illegal to ask is the very troubling question about working 80 hours a week for the chance to make $50,000 three years from now.  I mean, I’ll be honest.  I’m not really interested in working 80 hours a week, period.  I’d have gone to law school if that was the case.  I also borrowed almost $100,000 to go to college, where I received an outstanding education, and I did so in part because I bought into the idea that a college degree means that you can make a better living than not having one.  Even if the question was “would you work 80 hours a week for a $50,000 annual salary, starting this year?”  I would still say no, in part because that’s about $12 an hour.  Don’t get me wrong, in this economy I’d take a $12/hr job and count my blessings twice.  But I wouldn’t work 80 hours a week for it!  

Every other question asked was illegal, and violates my civil rights and the civil rights of any other applicant for the position.  I almost felt like it was made up because I feel as though even if you have NO knowledge of HR, you still know that you can’t ask questions like that.  

But apparently it wasn’t, because after returning the questionnaire with those questions left unanswered (I did explain that I was leaving them blank for a reason and that I’d be happy to discuss it further with her in the interview), she wrote back and cancelled my interview, telling me I am no longer being considered for the position.
The end.

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4 Responses to “A Story About Job Searching”


  1. 1 Sarina November 19, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Good for you for leaving those obnoxious, illegal questions blank. It’s surprising that a workplace focused on sexual health, domestic violence, etc. would have the nerve to grill a woman on whether she planned to have kids in the next few years. What are they thinking?

    I remember you mentioned you didn’t want to blog about politics (I guess this doesn’t quite count) but you could come up with a recipe for this post! Something horrifying like “black licorice frittata with spirulina sauce.” Hee hee.

    Good luck on your job search. I’ll let you know if I hear of anything interesting.

  2. 2 Alfonso Todd November 24, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Don’t get discouraged. It is hectic out here. I lost my last client and had to go back to work. I am at Wells Fargo now and am STILL trying to get used to the cubicle lifestyle.

    Good luck,

    A.

  3. 3 capri November 25, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Thanks for the encouraging words, both of you!

  4. 4 segan123 December 2, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Wow those questions they asked are so messed up. They should be reported, whoever those creeps are.
    Just came across your post and thought you may be interested in my blogs, since you are currently job searching. I hope they will be of use to you!


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