Recently I decided it would be advantageous for me to get a part-time job.
Since J.C. Penney is one of my favorite places to shop, I thought it would be enjoyable to work there. I only wanted some seasonal employment to bring in some extra income for the holidays. I am currently a stay-at-home mom and am not ready to re-enter the work force on some grand scale. I went in to the store and inquired if they were hiring.
The sales lady was very friendly and helpful. She said, “Oh yes, they are hiring for the holidays. In fact I just applied not to long ago and they called me right away! She instructed me to go to the computer, or what is otherwise known as the “career kiosk.” No sweat I thought. This should be a piece of cake. I will have me a part-time job in no time.
So the next week I brought in my resume and sat down at the “career kiosk” to apply. I was applying for a customer service job essentially. So I sat down and began the process of applying.
After filling in my basic information I got to part-three. It consisted of fifty questions concerning customer service scenarios one might face, questions about JC Penney and questions assessing your personality. At the end of this fifty question “test” I was told by the computer that “I did not match the qualifications they were looking for and that I could reapply in 180 days.” That was rather a slap in the face let me tell you.
I can say from first hand experience now, that there is nothing more demoralizing than being told you do not qualify to be a JC Penney customer service representative.
The only thing I can think of that might be worse is being told that you don’t qualify to be a Walmart greeter.
I had to wonder at that point just exactly what idiot designed this “test” that screened out applicants. Judging from the quality of his assessment I feel sure he has a beer belly, eats lots of doughnuts and works for someone named Mr. Burns.
I had a notion to write the colleges where I received my bachelors and my masters degree and ask for a refund. I wanted to tell them that I am confused as to why they conferred these degrees upon me since I am apparently not qualified to run a cash register at JC Penney.
First off I want to say that I think these tests are designed to assume that you are lying, so that when you actually tell the truth, they think you are lying.
For example, they asked me where I preferred to shop. J.C. Penney was an option. If I select this option they will think I am lying and just saying that to be a brown noser. If I don’t choose it they will say I am not brand loyal. That is a classic double bind. Who wrote this freakin’ test?
Then there was the awesome question about the guy selecting mattresses. The question stated, “Suppose some guy comes in wearing a ratty t-shirt and shorts and goes over and is looking at the most expensive mattresses. Do you:
A. Smile and tell him he has good taste
B. Call security
C. Ask your co-workers to keep an eye on him
D. Ask him to please stay off the mattresses
I think there might have been one more option but I can’t recall it now. Let’s just look at the stellar selections we have.
First off I want to say that half of America dresses in ratty t-shirts and shorts. So if I go over and insult him (option D), then Bill Gate’s nephew is going to go home and tell his Uncle and their goes the J.C. Penney scholarship fund Bill had planned to set up (in addition to the lost mattress sale). Secondly, why should I choose b or c? If the guy attempts to steal a mattress I think we’ve got the heads up on him. So that leaves option A. It’s not great, but it’s the best we’ve got given the ridiculous options.
Another great question was: If you know that one of your co-workers is stealing from the company what would you do? Honestly, I can’t say what the ‘average’ person would do, but I would turn them in. Again, they probably figure the ‘average’ person would not turn them in, so if you say you would, you must be a liar.
But all of this is beside the point really. The real question is why am I being screened by a computer for a customer service job? Customer service is all about people skills, and though I sound a little like a cynical Alanis Morisette in my remarks about this test, it really is rather asinine to have a computer judge a human being. After all, I thought “It Is All Inside?”
I was in at JC Penney once, late at night, right as the store was getting ready to close. I was looking around in the shoe department. There was a couple at the register with a lot of clothes. That was unusual. People don’t usually pay for clothes in the shoe department, especially a lot of them. I got the feeling they knew the sales clerk and that he was going to let them walk out without paying for any of the items. Yet that can’t be true, because he apparently “passed the test” and we know that statistically this test has been proven to screen out 99% of sociopaths, mass murderers, liars and lunatics. (I guess you will have to judge in which category I fall).
After suffering Post Traumatic JC Penney Associate Rejection Syndrome and much therapy, I have moved on. I have applied for a job at a nuclear power plant. I hear the beer and doughnuts are pretty good. I also hear they don’t require any tests, because apparently the reactors are easier to operate than cash registers.