Employment Pre-screening: Going Too Far?

As many of you know, I’ve been on the job hunt for a while now. And in the course of that hunt, I’ve seen some interesting things. Like one company who wanted me to take a personality profile quiz when I submitted my application. Another one stated that by applying for this job, I give the company the right to pull my credit profile both before I get the job and at any time after I get the job. So if I fall on hard times and lose my credit rating, does that make me ineligible for a job? I don’t have one, therefore I can’t get one? Or if I have a job and my credit rating slips, am I no longer qualified for the job?

Employers can’t discriminate on gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation, but can they discriminate against you based on some computerized personality screening or your credit profile? Whether I think people are all just sheep and do what they are told, or if I think people are basically good or bad or if most supervisors care about their people – does any of this have any bearing on my skills and qualifications? Are companies doing this just because they can do this and get away with it? What’s wrong with the interview process that companies think they have to pre-screen applicants with computerized quizzes?

You’re asked to be honest, and so I was (screw the questions) but do they really think that someone is going to click ‘Strongly Agree’ with the statement: I have never been angry with anyone. Really? Never lost your temper? With anyone? Ever? Seriously? Have you ever driven over the legal speed limit? Well, since I got a speeding ticket once, I can’t say that I’ve never gone over the speed limit, now can I? What’s the matter, doesn’t the background check tell them enough?

Probably my favorite question of the day is: It is OK to sell illegal drugs to your coworkers if they can afford it. Do you: strongly agree/agree/uncertain/disagree/strongly disagree ?

No, I’m not making this up. I just wasted 30 minutes of my life taking a 100 question assessment, where about 75% of it was about illegal drug use in the workplace and stealing from your employer.

No wonder people can’t get jobs. The pre-employment is unbelievable!

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9 thoughts on “Employment Pre-screening: Going Too Far?

  1. OMFG! Well that tells me that by my credit rating alone, I am completely unemployable (I actually have no idea what my credit rating is, but seeing as how I am in collections to multiple organizations, I’m going to assume it’s pretty bad).

    I remember once, many years ago, I was filling out an application for a job as a bank teller. On it was the question: Have you ever lied, stolen, or committed an act of dishonesty?

    Well hells yeah, all of the above! I’d lied to my mom plenty of times as a teenager, about where I was going, whom I was going with, what we had done, etc. (and these weren’t even particularly bad things, it was more that I wanted her to butt out). I know I had stolen clothes out of my sister’s closet. And as for dishonesty? See the above notations.

    I never turned that application in, even though in the workplace I had always been 100% honest (because back then I thought it was important).

    I’m sorry you are having to deal with this, Monday. And I’m angry that companies are doing this and getting away with it.

    • Sometimes I think these are trick questions. It’s frustrating to have to do these surveys when they really have no relevance. They claim to be trying to ‘get a sense of who you are to make sure you fit in.’ (That was one survey’s claim.) I think this one was to see if you would slip up and mark opposing answers. (With that many questions, it’s easy to do.)

      I understand they want to make sure you aren’t a druggie, but that’s what drug testing is for. Anyone with half a brain isn’t going to admit to selling illegal drugs. Wouldn’t that be a violation of the 5th amendment? These people have your name and personal information, if you admitted to something like that, they could turn that information over to the authorities. Whether it would stand up in court is another thing.

      My argument is that these tests have no bearing on my skills and qualifications and fit for the position. If they are that worried about a person taking a pencil home from work, then they shouldn’t be hiring people – all they need are robots.

  2. I have had to fill out the same kinds of questions. Someone told me that there is a trick in the questions. Like when they ask you if you have ever stolen anything, they see if you answer “no” and if you do, you are a dishonest person. They know that everyone has stolen something from someone.

    • Well, guess I’m screwed because I haven’t stolen anything and firmly believe in not stealing. Really it’s a Catch-22: if you admit to stealing, then you are a dishonest person, if you say you’ve never stolen, then they assume you are lying, and therefore dishonest. So what’s the correct answer?

  3. It’s so true. I remember when Xan (husband) was going through unemployment hell like that. He was actually hired at one company, after he was put through the ringer for two months, until they decided that he lied on his application. He told them that he had the equivalent of a certain degree in credits. He didn’t lie and say he had it. But, they called it “misrepresentation” and didn’t get him on board after all. Two months, wasted. It was complete BS.

    Then, there was the one that said he misrepresented himself by not putting all of his jobs that he’s ever had on a resume. Seriously?! Who even does that?! I only put relevant jobs on a resume! That’s what resume’s are!

    It’s BS out there. I hope you’re doing well. I haven’t heard back in awhile. Or, did I drop the ball this time? I’m sorry if I did. My brain is everywhere…

    • Yeah, unemployment sucks. And it keeps getting harder and harder to find a job. Add in all this pre-screening crap and it’s a total nightmare. 😦

      BTW, the ball is in your court this time. Or at least in your inbox. 😉

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