Purpose of Application Questionnaire

I’ve tried several approaches to hiring.  Current approach has worked best — in terms of attracting and filtering applicants —  as I long as I resist the urge to indulge in wishful thinking, similar to the thinking of those who are more in love with love than their love interest.

Questionnaire is an in-house developed personality and mental health assessment test.  Some of the traits we use the test to  assess:

  • propensity to steal and lie and make excuses
  • mental toughness
  • adaptability
  • work ethic
  • self-esteem
  • self-confidence
  • sense of reality
  • research skills

The questionnaire provides an impression of applicant.  We read the questionnaire with the cover letter and resume (and Facebook, if available) to clarify the impression.  We always read the questionnaire first, and then the cover letter, and then the resume and then Facebook if available.  We do this so we can test the validity of the questionnaire.  Once the questionnaire is read, we try to guess what the cover letter and resume and Facebook profile will look like.  We stopped using another version of this questionnaire because of inaccuracy of our predictions.  We keep revising current version because it’s proven remarkably accurate. We even hired someone who tested as “borderline sociopath,” and sure enough, she exhibited predicted traits within a month.  Others hired who have taken the questionnaire have also exhibited predicted traits.

Some try to “game” the questionnaire.  It’s an open book test, we encourage applicants to look up the answers (most don’t bother possibly because they’re either lazy or certain).  We just want applicants to understand the work culture and to be prepared to internalize certain values.  We can tell if someone is only concerned about getting the right answers.  The impression from the questionnaire needs to match the cover letter and initial e-mail interview.  It’s extremely difficult to hide inconsistency.  The real person will emerge.

We’re sometimes tempted to bring on “batshit crazy” to develop our leadership skills.  But generally, we hire “not-quite-normal” but has solid technical skills and industry work experience.  We then see if applicant can be brainwashed back to “normal” so we can place them on management track position at another business.  Anyone who scores “normal” (rare) gets an interview, regardless of work experience.

So what’s normal?  To me, a normal person is someone who is honest enough to recognize and accept that they and others are imperfect. They recognize Original Sin. A normal person lives in objective reality, that is, knows what one doesn’t know and seeks objective truth, facts and not just opinions.  They have good bullshit detectors.  They’re not easily scammed.  They make sure everything they hear is consistent and makes logical sense.

A delusional person, someone who lives solely in his or her own subjective reality, thinks that the owners of Walmart (shareholders) will pay the CEO of Walmart millions to work 40 hours per week (or less), and let him spend most of his working time banging his secretary.  It doesn’t occur to the delusional to question their assumptions and research the work habits of Fortune 500 CEOs (takes like 5 minutes).  Nor does it occur to the delusional person to think, to imagine what the CEO does, how a company like Walmart is able to do what it does.  Or how Eminem has been able to do what he has done, the process of making a cultural icon.  Delusional people don’t recognize reality because they prefer to make objective reality conform to their subjective version of reality.  They can only communicate with those who share their sense of (un)reality.  They are unable to think from another person’s perspective. They ultimately think life is about lucky charms and being born with the right connections, right circumstances, and God given talent.  Why would they work hard or become passionate about anything?  For them, life will always be unfair, as the right people don’t recognize their brilliance and talent.  If they’re not on meds, they’ll be on them soon because in the end, objective reality wins.  People don’t become crazy because they’re poor.  They go crazy when objective reality doesn’t conform to their subjective reality, when they don’t get what they think they deserve.


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