Bitter Nerd™ Review: Corporate Personality Quiz

After the horror of “California 101” and other recent episodes of fatal workplace violence, the need for companies to assess the mental stability of current and future employees became paramount. Unfortunately, they flubbed it: rather than going through an actual psychological examination, they instead opted for the easy solution: the multiple choice personality quiz.

As far as I’m concerned, any multiple choice quiz to determine mental stability is suspect, but the one to which I most recently submitted was especially noisome. Not only were the questions intrusive, but repetitive and vague. For most of the questions I simply had no opinion; for others, it was transparently obvious what answer would be considered acceptable. If it were not for the fact that I wanted this job, I would have had a grand time convincing the testing company that I was a gibbering psychopath.

Here is a smattering of the questions, as I remember them. First, the true/false statements:

I need immediate results.
This can be qualified in so many ways. Is there a crisis? Can the information required become stale? Nobody demands immediate results every time except a raving psychopath or a CEO (but I repeat myself).
If threatened, I’ll back off rather than fight.
Depends on with what and by whom I’m being threatened. Dismissal by the manager? I’ll quit first. Knife by a mugger? Here, have my wallet.
I have no regrets about things that I’ve done.
And I can also walk on water!

Then there were the questions that bordered on asking if the candidate was a religious fundamentalist: “Faith in ideas should be maintained, even in the face of contradictory facts”; “It is best to be definite, even if you do not have all the facts”; and my personal favorite, “Our traditional values are disappearing and force may be required to restore them.” Why don’t they just ask if I plan to vote Republican or Democrat and be done with it?

Next up was the list of the best and worst words that describes the applicant. Here’s where they catch the very stupid psychopaths. Who in their right mind would describe themselves as “tense,” “undisciplined,” “unreliable,” “insecure,” “sluggish,” or “rash”? This brings to mind those export agreements where you must sign a release form if you plan to use the product for acts of terrorism. People that dumb deserve to be caught.

The problem with these tests is the tedium. At one point, I was so sick of seeing the same four statements repeated (albeit in different order) that I purposely reversed my stance on the question, just to nullify my previous statement. I suspect others may have done the same, which may have been the actual purpose of that section. But I always assume laziness over stupidity over malice, so I think they were just filling space.

How does the applicant deal with the meager salary the company plans to give him? “Spend money to gain power and control”; “Money is not to waste, but to possess”; “Live in moderation, won’t overindulge”; and “Love to spend money freely, somehow always manage to get by.” There is no need for any company to have intimate knowledge of my spending habits: whether I am a spendthrift or a miser, what I do at home will stay at home.

Amazingly enough, they did not ask questions about my hobbies (“I enjoy juggling kittens”) or sexual orientation (“I like being urinated upon by a hirsute man named Gunther”). I’d probably consider the job a loss if they did.

Outside of the vagaries, these intrusive questions pissed me off the most. In a sense, it was a good thing I was taking this at home. I could stand, pace up and down while muttering obscenities, then sit down and finish the test. Frequent venting was about the only thing that kept me from making an abusive phone call and burning yet another bridge.

Pity they didn’t have a camera inside my house: that would have given them a better view of my personality than any worthless quiz!