leaving before an interview starts, re-hiring employees who quit and want to return, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Was I wrong to leave before this interview even started?

I recently moved across the country and was applying for jobs in my new place of residence. A company wanted to interview me and I informed them that I was driving across the country and would arrive the day they wanted to interview and asked if we could interview the next week (it was a Friday and they’re closed weekends). They said that that wouldn’t work, so I made the long drive and freshened up in a rest area. I drove to the appointment and it was in a downtown setting, so I paid for parking and went in.

Immediately, I was handed a 12-page application by the receptionist with tests and questions and whatnot (which I hate in general since I had already submitted a resume and cover letter) but I begrudgingly filled it out.

Meanwhile, while I was filling this out, I could hear the interviewer interviewing another applicant for the same position (office door was open). I finished the application and politely waited. I do not bring a phone in and I’m allergic to the material in most watches, so after waiting what I thought was about a half hour, I asked what time it was. It was 45 minutes after our scheduled appointment time, and so I told the receptionist I had to go put more parking money in (I had only put in for an hour past the appointment time, thinking it would be plenty).

When I went outside, I decided that I did not want to interview with the company since I felt that they had made me wait well past the time, had made me fill out an application, and I just didn’t get a good vibe from the interviewer based on the questions and statements she was making to the other candidate. They did call me about 15 minutes afterwards and asked me if I was coming back, but I politely told them I no longer desired the position.

Was that reasonable on their part? The good news is that I have found a position I love that’s challenging, fun and interesting, but I always wondered if I was just being high maintenance or if this is commonplace and standard.

Having to fill out an application even though you already submitted a resume and a cover letter isn’t terribly unusual (although good employers will make it as streamlined as possible or avoid it altogether). But 12 pages is unreasonable. The bigger issue though is keeping you waiting 45 minutes without even an apology, especially when they knew you’d altered your moving plans to be there on the date they asked for.

I don’t think you should have just left without saying anything (although I also don’t blame you for doing that), but you were absolutely reasonable in deciding that you were no longer interested. Ideally you would have told the receptionist that directly, without them needing to call you to find out where you were, but they’re far more in the wrong than you are.

2. Should we re-hire employes who quit and now want to return?

What’s your experience and opinion on rehiring past employees who quit and want to return? Let’s say the typical average employees, no standouts or outliers, who leave for money, but you are aware they had issues with management. Three of us in management have differing opinions. One is willing to rehire them since they will be ahead of the learning curve, one is on the fence and willing to give cursory interviews to see if mindsets have changed, and one does not believe in rehiring.

You should jump to rehire people who were outstanding employees, assuming that you can fix the things that drove them to leave in the first place. These are people who you know do great work, who thought the grass might be greener somewhere else and discovered that it’s not. Those are great people to have on your staff.

But average employees who had issues with management? I’d want to know why you’d want to. First and foremost, you should be striving to hire better-than-average employees (which should always be your goal in hiring; you should never be actively looking to bring on someone middling). Second, if they had issues with management, have the things that frustrated them changed? If not, I’d think that you’re inviting problems on to your staff.

3. HR manager was fired from last employer for major integrity violation

Our human resources manager was recently fired from a federal housing apartment complex for instructing tenants to write rent checks in her name. I do not believe the owners of our company are aware of the HR person’s firing from the complex.

A coworker, currently working at our place of employment, was a tenant under said HR person. Consequently, she has reservations about the HR person’s access to private files. Is there an appropriate way to express that employees are not comfortable with our HR person having access to our personal records such as SSN, bank accounts, etc. because of this recent incident?

Whoa, I would be too.

Your coworker should say this*: “I feel awkward about this, but Jane was recently fired from the apartment complex where I live for instructing people to write out rent checks to her personally. Because of the nature of the offense, I’m uncomfortable with her having access to our social security numbers, banking info, and other personal information.”

* Who they should say it to depends. In a small company, saying it to the owners would be fine. In a larger one, they should go to whoever oversees HR.

4. Psychometric tests in hiring

assessment test

a screenshot of the actual test – click to enlarge

This afternoon, I completed an online job application to a healthcare organization and within a few hours received an email that I’d need to complete an “online assessment” for my application to be considered. It turned out to be a mix of inane personality-type questions and 3-minute timed logic puzzles. I know you’re not generally a fan, and I definitely am not either. It’s the first time I’ve encountered these “psychometrics” in my 15+ year career, but it seems like they’re increasingly common.

I’m wondering, though, if I were to be called for an interview, would it be out of line to ask what relevance that test has to the position? Or to bring it up at all? Because it was a pretty big time commitment (~45 minutes) and honestly a potential screaming red flag that this is not somewhere I’d fit — but I’d like to know their reasoning. (I work in marketing and communications; hopefully those types of logic puzzles would be pretty low on the list of tasks I’d be expected to excel at!)

Yeah, employers really need to think about (a) how and whether the assessments they’re using relate to the must-have’s for the role, and (b) the fact that they’re sending signals to candidates about what they value most in the role. (After all, if I apply for a senior-level position and you have me take a typing test, I’m going to wonder if I totally misunderstood the needs of the role or whether you’re really, really bad at hiring.)

It would be absolutely reasonable to say something like, “The assessment test you had me complete earlier in the process seemed like a mix of personality questions and logic puzzles. Can you tell me a bit about how you use the results of those assessments in the hiring process and how they relate to the work of the position?

5. How long should expense reimbursement take?

In our office it is not uncommon to not be reimbursed for expenses and mileage for between 3 and 6 months at a time. Is there a time limit on when employees should be reimbursed their expenses?

Three to six months?! That’s beyond awful.

Within two weeks is ideal, and anything longer than four weeks is problematic. You don’t want to be asking employees to float the company money for business expenses, especially if those charges are large ones. If for some reason you can’t reimburse expenses reasonably quickly, you should let people put expenses on a company credit card instead of essentially giving the company an interest-free, short-term loan.

{ 405 comments… read them below }

  1. Snoskred*

    #3 – to whom would the co-worker be expressing this? The company owners?

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the co-worker letting the company know what happened but the co-worker should be fully aware she might cost this HR person her job.

    And that might be entirely appropriate given the circumstances. I’m not too sure on this one.. :/

    1. fposte*

      The woman tried to defraud the federal government and possibly her tenants, and the OP says this happened recently. She’s lucky if all she’s getting is fired.

      And it’s not like she’s a store clerk or field worker–she’s in a position of considerable trust that may well have access to employee financial arrangements and retirement accounts. Nope.

      1. INTP*

        This. And this isn’t some situation where a busybody is butting in to get someone fired just for the hell of it. Employees like the OP are the most likely victims if this person is inclined to commit more fraud and are certainly under no obligation to consider risk.to this woman’s livelihood over risks to their own.

    2. MK*

      Oh god, this again. The OP will not cost this person her job. Her actions might cost her her job.

      1. Snoskred*

        But none of us *know* for certain that there has been any wrong doing actions with her current job.

        The consequences of what she has done with the federal housing thing, those consequences will come regardless of anyone speaking up. But if this were me, would I speak up and imply there might be wrong doing in their present job if I had no proof of any wrong doing in that present job? Is it any of my business to do that?

        Me personally I would be uncomfortable saying something unless I had an actual proof of wrong doing with regards to her present job. That is just me, and that is about my karma and what I put out there.

        If there was a news story about the other wrong doing, I would not feel bad about bringing that to the attention of the owners. Anything more than that, I’m not 100% certain on.

        That was just my first feeling on this situation. I’m certainly willing to listen to other opinions and to be convinced otherwise. :) As I said, I’m not too sure on this one.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It doesn’t matter if she’s doing anything wrong with her current job; her past actions make it impossible for employees to place in her the trust that’s necessary for her to perform her current job effectively.

          Her current employers is entitled to make the call on whether they want someone with that very recent past in this role or not. The employees who depend on her are entitled to speak up about someone with a majority integrity violations having access to their personal info.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Right. This is like the whole “tattling” BS. If it could significantly impact the company or its employees, management has a right to know about it, and then it’s management’s responsibility to look into it, determine the level of risk/threat, and determine what an appropriate response might be based on the situation and the employee in question. This is a huge risk for the employees and a huge potential liability for the company if one of their employees scams a bunch of other employees and it was reasonable that they could have foreseen and prevented it.

          2. LuvzALaugh*

            IS there proof or just the word of the friend that lives in the complex? If there is direct knowledge, I.E. a letter that went out to tenants apolgising for the wrong doing ect versus someone’s word which may have spiteful intentions or just got bad info from the rumor mill, then revealing this may be worthy. For all the letter writer knows, se has explined her firing before being hired.

            1. Zillah*

              I read that as the HR manager was working in both places simultaneously.

              Regardless, though: for all the letter writer knows, the owners of her current place of employment do know about the firing. But it’s absolutely ridiculous to not bring something to your employer’s attention because “for all I know, they already know about this.” If they already know, they can always choose not to act.

              1. fposte*

                I thought the simultaneous thing too–a residential manager is the kind of thing you can be on top of your day job.

              2. HRIntegrity*

                Morning Everyone,

                Thanks for your insights.

                Yes. The person was working simultaneously for the complex and our current company as the sole standing HR person. We do have an anonymous comment box at work, but I suspect, since we are fairly small company, that anonymity will not hold for long.

                1. No Longer Passing By*

                  Exactly what I thought. Small company. Was the HR person working part-time with your company? Sometimes that’s the only way that small companies can afford to hire certain positions. Definitely tell the owners; they may not even be aware that the employee was terminated from the other company and the reasons for the termination. By telling them, it can lead them to make an inquiry at least to the housing department, possibly to speak with your co-worker to ask for copies of cancelled checks, money order stubs, or receipts, and to have a conversation with the employee in question. If you don’t think that your employers, the owners, will know what to do with the information, you can suggest the process. I like the scripted language that AAM tends to offer so I will suggest one in case you are trying to gather what to say: “You may already be aware of this information, but someone recently has advised me that A recently has been terminated from her other position at Company B for _____. I’m not certain of the accuracy of the information but I was sure that you would want to know so they you could reach out to Company B or to interview A to start your investigation.” So you’re not screaming fire her, you’re acknowledging that it may be inaccurate, and you’ve also given them an idea on how to start an investigation. Nice and neat

                  I know that some companies now are engaging in annual background checks for certain positions but I’m not certain how that works. I’m going to ask about that in an open thread.

          3. Artemesia*

            Exactly. I have known several people who had small businesses that hired friends and discovered the friends embezzling. This is a crime of opportunity for the kind of person who would do it; I would not want such a person holding the keys to everyone’s identity in my business.

        2. MK*

          Realistically, if you wait till you have proof (!) of current wrongdoing, it will be long past time to raise concerns. And I would worry more about karma from doing nothing to safeguard people when I knew there was a possibility of danger.

          Note also that bringing this to the company’s attention does not mean campaigning for her to be fired. Just saying “This is what I heard. Do you know about it? How does it affect her work? Are there safeguards in place?”.

          1. A Bug!*

            Precisely. There is proof that this person is willing to commit fraud when placed in a position of trust. This person should not be placed in a position where she has access to a large number of people’s personal financial information.

            If her current position didn’t involve her handling money or access to employee information, I would likely agree with you, Snoskred. But in this situation, given the person’s past actions, it’s not reasonable to wait for her to prove that she’s going to do something untoward in her current position. It’s just too big a risk.

            1. Robles*

              Exactly. A person who commits that kind of crime/breach of trust should expect to never be able to hold a similar position again. The HR person needs to get into a totally new line of work. Something like that isn’t a minor mistake that one learns from, it’s a massive and knowing breach. No reasonable employer should trust that person with anyone’s personal information again.

        3. Kathlynn*

          At my cashier job we all use each other’s tills (it’s impossible not to). I felt no guilt in telling my manager that I’d heard that a new hire was fired from another job for stealing. Because if she’d stolen from my till, it would have been my butt on the line, possibly even if they knew she was responsible.

          Also giving the person access to this information could lead to identity theft, so ensuring those employed in the role have integrity is a major issue.

          1. illini02*

            My problem with that is that you are essentially gossiping. You don’t know that they did this, you heard it through the grape vine. Those type of things I don’t agree with.

            1. Zillah*

              I agree when it comes to minor things. But in a situation where you could be directly harmed by the information if its true? Yeah, it’s reasonable to bring it to the employer’s attention.

              And they can do their due diligence and investigate if they’d like! You’re not saying, “Omg FIRE HER NOW!” You’re just bringing potentially relevant information to their attention.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Don’t you think the manager will investigate the truthfulness of it, not just immediately act on one rumor reported by someone? That’s part of what I don’t get about this type of reaction.

              1. Snoskred*

                Aha, you’ve just put your finger on why this makes me so uncomfortable..

                I would like to believe that the manager would do that, but there are some people in the world who say there is no smoke without fire, so therefore (gossip) must be true.

                I think there is a lot more to this story and I think we’d need to know more in order to be able to make a good judgment on what the co-worker should do.

                I also think that checks should be totally and completely outlawed. We rarely use them now in Australia. I’m not sure why they are still so popular in the US. Even so, check fraud is recently becoming quite a big thing here.

                Did you know they checks bounce (or “unclear”) up to a year after you bank them and in the US people can be arrested for having banked a check that they had no idea was fraudulent or stolen, said check the bank themselves initially cleared?

                Check scams are fast becoming the number one source of income for the Nigerian Scammers. I personally have over 5 million dollars worth of fake checks in my possession, that I scam-baited out of the scammers. :)

                1. MegEB*

                  Your feelings on checks aside, which isn’t really relevant to the situation, any halfway decent manager is going to do some digging to find out what happened to the HR manager in regards to her firing. And in a case like this, it really is the manager’s discretion – NOT the coworker’s. It’s not the coworker’s place to determine whether the HR manager deserves another chance, or whether they’ve seen the error of their ways or if it was all a tragic misunderstanding. Deciding what to do in cases like this is exactly what should fall under the manager’s purview. Think about it from the opposite perspective: if the coworker knew about the HR manager’s firing, didn’t say anything, and several months from now the HR manager pulled another scam with the OP’s company, don’t you think she’d be rightfully furious? After all, the coworker had relevant information that she chose not to share.

                  I’m not sure what else there is to this story that you think we should wait on – if there’s evidence that the HR manager violated a code of conduct, her manager should absolutely know about it. It’s not the coworker’s place to decide whether this person gets a second chance, with other people’s information no less.

                2. Zillah*

                  I would like to believe that the manager would do that, but there are some people in the world who say there is no smoke without fire, so therefore (gossip) must be true.

                  Not so sound callous, but that isn’t the OP’s problem. The OP’s problem is safeguarding her own personal information and ensuring that it’s in ethical hands, which it sounds like it may not be right now. Similarly, Kathlynn’s problem is making sure she doesn’t fall under suspicion for someone else’s wrongdoing.

                  And here’s the thing: even if you’re totally, 100% right and the manager would say “no smoke without fire” and fire without investigating at all, they certainly couldn’t be trusted to act appropriately if something does happen that compromises you. They might get a call from a debt collector and fire you because “no smoke without fire” without realizing that your identity was stolen by the HR manager. Or, Kathlynn’s till might come up short, and she gets fired because “no smoke without fire.” If this is a boss who acts that rashly, I’m going to cover my ass, not protect my coworker because of handwringing “what if”s.

                3. fposte*

                  @Zillah–and passing this on *is* protecting your co-workers, because all your co-workers are vulnerable if there’s dishonesty in HR. This isn’t just about what happens to the property manager. When somebody’s 401k gets siphoned, what are you going to say to that person–you were more concerned about the HR person than the person they could hurt?

                4. Snoskred*

                  MegEB – it just reminded me of a court case I sat through about a year ago when I was doing some work experience in a court.

                  There was a couple who had split up and had a child. They were going to family court re custody. They did their weekly swaps at Mcdonalds. The woman was claiming that at one swap, the man had become abusive to her, yelling while pointing in her face, intimidating her. The man was actually charged with “intimidation” and this was a criminal case being heard in front of a magistrate.

                  So the prosecution puts on their case, and the woman gets up on the stand and tells her side of it. When it came to the defense, they played a video, from the Mcdonalds CCTV cameras on the date of the alleged incident, which showed him hand over the child and walk to his car. No abuse. No yelling, No getting in her face.

                  They also had video from the past 6 months of swaps and two handovers after the so called attack, before the woman suddenly decided to stop his visitation due to his “abuse” on handovers. They had done a neat trick with it – they sped it up a little so it didn’t take as long as it would have watching each swap – you could clearly see for each swap that he never once interacted with the woman in a way similar to that she was claiming he did.

                  The case was thrown out of court with some very cutting remarks from the judge to the woman involved, and the judge remarked to the man if he needed any assistance with his family court case, she would personally testify on his behalf.

                  Nobody from the prosecution side thought to ask Mcdonalds if they had a camera which might have covered this “attack”? They didn’t look for witnesses? They didn’t do any kind of investigation? They just took her at her word, and it cost this guy thousands in legal fees, plus getting an investigator – that expense might be the best money he ever spent on anything.

                  Sometimes what is there on the surface is not what it seems. I’m not sure any manager would be in a position to find out what is lurking beneath. That is really more a police thing, and sometimes even then they don’t do their due diligence.

                5. No Longer Passing By*

                  It’s not the manager’s duty to investigate. It’s the manager’s duty to report to the appropriate channel in the company to investigate. For instance, in larger companies a pre-employment reference and/or background check conducted by HR should have uncovered this. By the OP’s reference of the owners, I’m betting that this is a small company where we (co-owner if a small company here) generally don’t go through the same process because it’s time-consuming and you need that position filled now now now. At minimum, the OP advising the owners (in a small company of the possibility) or the appropriate HR lead should lead to that skipped process to be engaged at least for this particular employee. And perhaps it will lead to a policy change in the process overall.

                  I’ve lived through this myself so I know, gosh, do I know

                6. Observer*

                  So, what you are essentially saying is that because some managers are stupid about checking on information, someone should sit on information that represents a huge risk to her and every other employee in the company? You are really putting an unfair burden on people. The OP and her co-workers should not have to risk ID Theft because management MIGHT misuse the information.

                7. Observer*

                  The employer does not need to have 100% proof that the employee did what she is accused of. Prudence and fairness require a fairly high level of certainty, true, but NOT 100%. Insisting on that standard is not practical. Worse, it is totally unfair.

                  What I don’t really understand is why you are so set on preventing even the slightest possibility of unfairness to this person, while not seeming to have the slightest concern for the huge risk being posed to every employee in the business.

              2. The Cosmic Avenger*

                And this is a co-worker, not some random person off the street or the HR manager’s ex with an axe to grind. I think the OP and their employer can gauge whether this might be a false accusation (it’s not “gossip”, the co-worker claims first-hand knowledge of the criminal activity) or not.

              3. illini02*

                As I said down thread, in the OPs case, I’m all about bringing the info because you know it to be true. In the comment I was responding to, it seemed to be gossip. I’m just saying that for MY line, there is a difference. I’ve had some unreasonable managers who just take the word of certain people as gospel. And whats to see that if the manager couldn’t find out for sure one way or another that they wouldn’t still find them. It seems that some people give managers a benefit of the doubt of being fair and just, when a lot of times with co-workers, people assume the worst.

                1. Kathlynn*

                  See, because I didn’t know for sure that what I heard was fact, I stressed the fact that it might not be true. That the coworker who told me this might have been miss informed. But it was a big issue. We handle hundreds to thousands of dollars a till, having someone with a history of stealing is something my manager needed to know.

                2. Marcy*

                  But that isn’t Kathlynn’s problem. If the manager doesn’t properly investigate something, that is the manager’s problem. Kathlynn’s duty is to report it. Her responsibility ends there and the manager’s begins. If the manager acts rashly, it is on the manager. Kathlynn is not at fault for the result- she is only responsible for notifying the manager of a potential issue.

            3. Katie*

              Since the coworker actually lived in the complex where this took place and would have had personal dealings with the HR worker I think this qualifies as more than just gossip.

            4. Observer*

              No, this is not gossip. This is a relevant piece of information about an issue that can have serious consequences if not acted on.

              What you are suggesting is that unless one has the equivalent of court records they should not take action to protect themselves from serious and foreseeable issues. It’s one thing if someone lies about what they do or don;t know or exaggerates. But passing on that kind of information, making it clear what the reliability is, is sensible.

          2. Jessa*

            There is a far bigger issue than an employee who may or may not be a thief. It’s absolute insanity to have people sharing tills without some kind of log on/log off and an ability to track both transactions and actual cash in drawer to a single identifiable person. In this day and age with the ability to have cash registers with multiple drawers, people who can sign in and out, etc. There is no reason to put people on the spot. If you’re going to get in trouble because “your drawer” is short/over, then nobody else should have regular ongoing access to your drawer.

            1. Kathlynn*

              Yupe, I got caught by this twice, when a former manager wanted me gone. Took away my ability to cash off and kept my till up after I left and then suddenly after a couple months my till came up short. And, even though I wasn’t the only person with access to my till, or the person handling the cash off I was written up….when I pointed this out I was given hell for accusing the manager of stealing.

            2. Lindsay J*

              Yeah, I was cringing reading that setup.

              I’ve worked places like that before. Apparently even major retailers feel like it’s no big deal. But it hurt the LP part of my soul.

        4. Colette*

          I don’t see any reason to say she’s doing something wrong at her current job – but management should know that she’s been accused of doing unethical things at her previous job so that they can take steps to safeguard the info she has access to now. That might mean firing her.

        5. KS*

          If the current employers had known about this issue, do you actually think they would have hired her to begin with? I wouldn’t.

          1. Cup of Tea*

            Going anon for this one.

            Don’t be so sure. OldJob hired a guy who was friends with a manager who already worked there. NewGuy was not good at his job and made some enemies, so one of his employees googled him. Turns out he had been involved in a money laundering scheme in another state, to the tune of millions of dollars. He had made a deal with the prosecution to testify against the others, and so escaped prosecution himself.

            This was brought to the attention of Administration; they did not care. They were satisfied with his explanation, they said. It wasn’t until it was clear that all of NewGuy’s employees were circulating the transcript of the trial (where NewGuy admits a lot of things, including lying on his resume to get hired at OldJob) and there was a real possibility that the story could end up in the local newspaper that NewGuy was let go. With a going away party and a card.

            None of this is speculation. OldJob just was enamored of this guy and did not care that he had been involved in fraud and embezzling.

            1. AnonAlso*

              I know about some good ol boy hiring practices in one law enforcement agency that ignore/cover up some serious misdeeds of a few personnel. Apparently the people in charge are more enamored of having dirt on subordinates than having people with integrity on their team. There isn’t anything I can do about it, for a number of reasons, but knowing this has changed my perception of anyone put in a position of power or knowledge over others. It seems there will always be a percentage of people who misuse their access to information and power, and a percentage of people who are willing to use people like that to their own advantage.

          2. Katie*

            It was mentioned earlier in comments that she had been doing Both jobs simultaneously. The job at the complex was easy to work around her job at HR.

        6. Observer*

          You are worried about costing this woman her job. However, the employees are worried about their current and future financial security (as well as the possibility of other fall out, such as medical records being messed up. Those people have a reasonable cause for concern, and it is totally unfair to expect them to take that risk to protect this woman. To anyone else – ie someone whose data is NOT being exposed, it’s a matter of weighing the relative risks. On the one hand you have a SINGLE person – and one who has shown that she is untrustworthy – and on the other hand you have a group of people, none of whom should have to take such a risk in order to hold down their jobs.

          1. Zillah*

            On the one hand you have a SINGLE person – and one who has shown that she is untrustworthy – and on the other hand you have a group of people, none of whom should have to take such a risk in order to hold down their jobs.

            Emphasis mine, but perfectly put. +1000

        7. Carla*

          This is one of those things where you can’t wait for the person to actually do the bad thing for you to take action. If I knew personally that a person had been accused of abusing children, and they were currently working at a day care/volunteering at a local church/babysitting someone’s children… I would let someone know. This case isn’t as extreme as child abuse but it falls in the same category.
          This person’s actions makes it so that they cannot be trusted in any capacity where they have access to people’s financial information, personal information, etc. If you are aware of their actions in any other context, you must speak up because the damage they could cause (to you personally in their current job, to your coworkers, and to the current company) would be much greater than the damage you would cause be speaking up about their actions.

        8. INTP*

          You don’t have to “imply there might be wrongdoing.” You can state what you know in a very straightforward manner that makes no insinuations. “I have no reason to believe she has abused her access to sensitive information. However, I know that she was recently accused of and fired for fraud under these circumstances.” The decision for what to do can remain with the people you tell and you wouldn’t be responsible for the assumptions they make based on those facts.

        9. Green*

          What if you found out that a person who had been fired previously for an inappropriate relationship with children was now a camp counselor, coach, or worked in a school?

          I don’t think that child molesters (or felons or whatever) should never be able to earn a living again, but there are plenty of instances when someone is no longer suitable for a particular type of position based on their prior acts (i.e., dealing with children, or money, or prescription drugs, or trust accounts or confidential information).

        10. themmases*

          Well, it sounds like the OP’s coworker does know because she was one of the tenants under the HR manager.

          In general I’m with you on wanting to avoid putting others’ livelihood at risk with my complaints, and I try to think carefully about that before raising an issue with someone else’s work performance. However, I really think this is most relevant when the person complaining has the power on their side. For example, as a customer it would take a lot for me to complain about an entry-level customer service representative because the consequences could be serious for them.

          But in this case the power dynamic is reversed. This HR manager had authority over the living situation of others as their building manager, and abused that authority to enrich herself. She put her tenants’ housing situation and finances at risk when she did so, because if people followed her instructions then they never actually paid rent. And if this was subsidized housing, then she did this to vulnerable people unlikely to have backup funds or alternative housing while this got sorted out. That’s extremely serious harm to other individuals, not just a large federal agency.

          Now this person, who abused her authority to defraud both an organization and individual people to whom she was supposed to provide service, still has authority over others and their personal financial information in her other job. If the story about her is true– and I’d think a former tenant of hers who may have been asked to write her checks should know– then she absolutely should be fired. Except in bizarro workplaces, HR managers are part of leadership and are not at risk of being fired without an investigation because of a single complaint from someone who is probably below them, even if that complaint is serious.

        11. No Longer Passing By*

          Identity theft is a huge problem. An employer can be held liable for negligent hiring if it is discovered that an employee engages in fraud in the present job, recently was fired and/or convicted of fraud, and the employer could have taken reasonable steps to find that out or had knowledge of that. You may confused by the new “ban the box” laws relating to old criminal activity unrelated to the job. This is definitely relevant and just cause for termination.

          I’ll use another example. Suppose you discover that your child’s new bus driver, who was recently hired, was arrested for a DUI in a social setting. Do you believe that the school and/or the school bus company should be advised of this information even though it may cost the driver their job??? If so, why is this scenario different? And if not, why?

    3. KS*

      “But the co-worker should be fully aware she might cost this HR person her job.” If I knew them to be a con artist, I would be glad to do so.

      1. Robles*

        Me too. Something like that is such a massive breach that I would be uncomfortable with that person having any access to anything having to do with me. A person who would do something like that is miles closer to doing things like intentionally messing up my payroll if I crossed her, or even if she makes an innocent mistake, she’s more likely to be a person who’d cause major problems covering her own ass.

        There’s no amount of separating this person from the systems that they (presumably) use and manage the use of that I would be comfortable with. Honestly, if I told management about all this and the person *wasn’t* fired, I’d immediately start looking for another job.

    4. MegEB*

      I am 100% ok with the possibility of this woman potentially losing her job. What she did is legally and ethically wrong, and I wouldn’t be comfortable giving her access to any of my personal information.

      Although, it needs to be said that the coworker reporting the HR manager wouldn’t cost the manager her job. The manager’s actions would cost her the job. I know other people have said this but I really can’t stress it enough.

  2. Alex*

    RE #2: My previous employer had an unwritten rule that he would never rehire an employee who quit. Before I started to work there, their IT guy got an offer for a lucrative one year contract setting up the city’s IT infrastructure and he jumped on it. At the end of the contract (which had very low odds of being renewed from the start), he offered to come back to work for my former employer who declined. His reasoning was that the employee had chosen the gamble of the city contract over the stability of the job he offered.
    As far as I know, he hadn’t been replaced then and throughout most of my years there (until we got another good IT guy), most of the other employees who had known him happily reminisced about how good his work had been

      1. the gold digger*

        I heard a Freakanomics podcast that explained the origin of that phrase. When the rampaging hordes (oops! not “hoards!”) would go through Europe, the nuns would cut off their noses to make themselves so unattractive that the men would not want to rape them.

        I don’t know if it worked.

        1. Vicki*

          I think if a rampaging horde wants to rape a woman, her nose is not the part he’s interested in…

        2. teclagwig*

          Not sure about this story, but I think maybe some STD (sorry, bad ADHD brain today, no idea where that info is filed) causes the falling-off-nose and they were trying to seem diseased, not unattractive?

    1. MK*

      This employer seems to be confused about what hiring is, a way to get the right people working for you. Instead of focusing on his company’s needs, he concentrated on what the worker deserved.

      Unless what they meant (and phrased it badly) was that this person was a flight risk; which would be reasonable, considering the circumsrances.

    2. Ty*

      A ruler who kills those that are devoted to her does not inspire devotion. ~~

      Nothing personal, it’s just business. ~~

      1. LBK*

        Total sidebar, but I was squeeing in excitement through that whole scene. I’m glad we didn’t waste endless time getting to this point like the books have.

        1. Gene*

          The show has diverged SO far from the books, I don’t even consider reading the books as a spoiler anymore. I’m sure the panels with GRRM at Sasquan are going to be fun.

      2. Hermoine Granger*

        +1 Between the schemes a-brewing between those two and the fight scene with the white walkers, Sunday’s episode was thoroughly exciting.

    3. OfficePrincess*

      But if you have someone who’s already shown they’re going to chase money regardless of how objectively risky it is, do you really want to be in a position where they could decide they think another option might be more lucrative in a few months? Does this position require long term thinking and planning? There’s more to look at than just the fact that other employees at the org liked him, what did management think? How did he present wanting to come back?

      We have people leave and want to come back fairly regularly. The ones who say that they didn’t realize how good they had it have a much better shot at coming back than the ones who assume there is a job waiting for them.

      1. the gold digger*

        1. There is nothing wrong with chasing money. Money is THE reason I work. As much as I like my job, I assure you that if I were independently wealthy, I would not be getting up at 6 a.m. every morning to come sit in a cube for 8 hours.

        2. The guy probably also wanted the challenge of being part of a cool project.

        3. If someone does a good job, you are always going to be at risk of losing him. So you would rather not have someone really good at all than have him for just a year or two?

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          2. The guy probably also wanted the challenge of being part of a cool project.

          A cool project that he probably learned a lot on — skills that he would take with him to benefit future employers.

          If he did have an issue with management and that has been resolved, the mere fact he wants to come back… unless he’s lazy, few people would voluntarily go back to a job they absolutely despised. It sounds a lot like the city project was a challenge he wouldn’t have gotten at his job either as a client project or the time to learn on his own so he opted to go for it. In some industries, it might be considered a sabbatical. But, I can see the point of the one manager, now that he’s got a taste for different projects, he might be bored if he came back. And that’s something the former employee may not have considered.

        2. RMRIC0*

          Coming out of the recession underemployed and over-educated, this dichotomy always stuck out to me – that businesses want employees to demonstrate some kind of feudal loyalty to the employer when there’s no way it would ever be reciprocated.

        3. Vicki*

          1. AB-so-lutely.
          2. A rarity, and one to jump on if possible.
          3. Silly manager.

          Re: #3 I was talking to some people about the possibility of coming in to audit, overhaul, and reorganize their documentation. The person I was talking to said the manager wasn’t sure they wanted to hire a full-time regular employee for this. I suggested a temp/contract arrangement.

          He said “Oh no, because then you’d fix the docs and leave” and I thought “Seriously? You don;t think that’s a possibility for anyone, temp or “regular”? Everyone does their and eventually leaves. That’s how the job world operates.”

      2. OfficePrincess*

        I should point out that we have a lot of employees leaving for an extra $1-2 an hour but as soon as they leave they realize that the conditions and expectations are a lot more reasonable here than the places that pay a little more. Most are begging to come back in a month or two. We’ve had people leave, come back, and leave again in under 6 months. So that definitely colors my view of it.

        1. the gold digger*

          An extra $1-2 an hour is a big deal to some people. It could be the difference between getting new tires for your car or not. I don’t blame people for leaving for more money! But if they want to come back and they are good and you don’t have better people to hire, why wouldn’t you take them back?

          1. OfficePrincess*

            The main time this happens is when our industry hires seasonal help. So we train them, they leave for an extra $1 but realize the job is 12 hour rotating shifts with much higher quotas and our out of a job in 2 months. In the meantime, we’re stuck needing even more additional help than forecast and trying to get them up to speed. And then the busy period ends and they want to come back. It’d be like a CPA deciding in February that H&R block pays more than their current gig, leaving in the midst of tax season, and then wanting to come right back when they’re out of a job April 16.

            1. Beezus*

              The CPA analogy is a little privileged, though. People working seasonal jobs at a pay rate where $1/hour can make a big budgetary difference are making different risk assessments than people in higher-paid clerical jobs. If changing jobs means I can put better food on the table for a while or buy my kid new sneakers AND new jeans, I’ll put up with some pretty cruddy working conditions to make that happen, and if it doesn’t work out, you bet I’m going to go crawling back to the place that paid a little lower but might hire me back, so I can make sure I’m putting food on the table at all. At a certain budget point, pay matters more than working conditions. If the work is seasonal, it’s all temporary anyway, which increases how much I’d be willing to risk to bring home more money.

          2. steve g*

            True! I remember one year I literally left one job that paid 13 for one that paid 14, then three months later left for a “high paying” one offering 15. Not my fault no one did raises.

            Thank god those days are over btw!

        2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

          Yep. That’s my fear – that they leave again in a few months. If the most important thing is finding the job with the absolute highest salary, I know you’re always looking. If the most important thing is finding a job that is a great fit with a salary that works for you, that’s different.

          This is why I don’t hire job-hoppers. It doesn’t matter how elaborate the story is about how you are ready to settle down down, x happened in the past by y is different now, etc., they are almost always gone in a year. And then they are gone from that job in a year. I know this doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it’s happened to me so much that I can’t take the risk anymore.

          1. Dan*

            I work in a technical field, and while I don’t actually do hiring, I won’t refer people to my boss unless they’ve been at their current gig for at least two years, and preferably at least three. There’s some exceptions, like my former employer who is going down the drain and pretty much a dead end, but by and large there’s a minimum threshold you have to cross before I will got to bat with my boss for you.

    4. Noelle*

      I left a job and was hired back after 4 weeks. I felt very fortunate to be able to return, but they were also happy to have me back because they thought I did good work. Obviously there are scenarios where rehiring someone would be bad, but not rehiring as a blanket policy seems unreasonable.

      1. OfficePrincess*

        I never suggested a blanket policy of not rehiring, though! I said you need to look at a lot of factors.

        Is this a person going to be in a position to be making long term cost/benefit analysis? If so, do you want someone who chooses something that is beneficial short term knowing there is limited long-term potential?

        Who is determining that the person did good work? Is it a person who could see all aspects of their work or just a portion? Personally, the area I struggle with most is something that only my manager would ever see. Other people, who only see part of what I do, think I’m fantastic, but I have a pretty sizable gap they don’t know about that I’m working on.

        The biggest would be, how is the person asking to come back? There’s a big difference between saying “this didn’t work out, would it be possible to come back? I left because X but now I realize Y and X is no longer an issue” vs just assuming you can have your old job back.

        1. Noelle*

          Sorry, I was agreeing with Alex’s original post that a blanket policy is unreasonable.

      2. NacSacJack*

        I left a job and asked to come back after six weeks. The NewJob offered more pay, but the manager who hired me quit the week I started and told me, sit tight, someone will be with you shortly to show you how to do the job. Six weeks later the new CIO was hired and fired me for not doing the job I was hired for. OldJob agreed to take me back at same pay doing what I was doing before(which I hated) but on a new team. Then NewNew job called!! Cream of the crop, top of the hat company in all of the metro. I had a very difficult call to make to OldJob. I have been tempted to call OldJob – they went through issues, but each time I think about it, I think about that call I had to make. Still here at NewNew Job.

        1. Noelle*

          That sounds like a pretty terrible situation all around. I’d feel bad about leaving OldJob, but in that situation it sounds like it worked out. When I went back to my old job I stayed for another year and a half, and left on good terms. But unlike you, I didn’t hate the job, I just hated the pay. When I came back they gave me a raise and a promotion.

    5. peanut butter kisses*

      I work in an academic library and people leave and come back on a regular basis. They often bring back new ideas of how other libraries are doing xyz and bring in a renewed energy to the library. This is a common way to work yourself up the ladder in my library because there are bottle necks at certain levels of management. So these people leave when they are at a bottom rung, leave for a higher rung in another library and then might return at an even higher rung here later on. We welcome them back with open arms if they are great at their jobs. We just don’t have the kind of structure that allows for easy advancement and this is a symptom of it.

      1. OhNo*

        I’ve noticed that structure at a lot of libraries, myself.

        It’s one thing to have some reservations when considering rehire of someone who left for the same position, but if they are coming back at a higher level or with more experience, that’s a whole different ballgame and the company probably really needs to evaluate their promotion structure before they put a blanket “no re-hire” policy in place.

        If the only way to get up is to get out, you’re going to have a LOT of people looking for the door.

  3. Jeanne*

    I love your advice on the psychometric questioning. If anyone actually goes through this and then does ask, could you please write in? I would love to know how employers justify it. I have heard it is used even more for unskilled jobs than for professional roles. It seems unhelpful to me.

    1. Mimi*

      My current employer – a large healthcare org – uses this very test. All applicants are required to submit to this test. My HR contacts tell me they put this in place last year, and the test is supposed to screen for organizational fit – screening out applicants who are not “customer service-oriented” and other traits they deem are essential to success in our org. Apparently applicants who fail this assessment are not moved forward in the hiring process – no feedback on the results of the test, no explanation, nothing. HR claims that it’s designed so that applicants can’t “fake” their way into passing, but if that’s the case, why all the secrecy? Explain what the assessment is used for and what you hope to achieve with it.

      1. OP#4*

        Interesting! This was a healthcare org, not sure how large, perhaps there is an industry trend? I’ve never encountered it before in academia, nonprofits, or tech, where I’ve done a lot of working and interviewing – and even the supplemental questions on federal job apps aren’t quite like this!

        1. sunny-dee*

          I didn’t click the link for the test, but my husband said he took similar tests many times when he was in management at large national restaurant chains. It was part of their screening for management hires — they’re apparently huge on personality assessments.

          1. MegEB*

            Restaurant chains (I’m thinking Darden and the like) LOVE personality assessment tests. Drives me bonkers. I waited tables for years and years, and not to brag or anything but I was pretty darn good at it. Unfortunately, I’m also really terrible at those personality tests, so anytime I walked into a restaurant and had to take one of those tests, I knew I wouldn’t get the job.

        2. Anonicorn*

          The healthcare org I work for implemented this (at least the personality portion of it) a few years ago to make sure candidates aligned with the guiding values. Some established, high-level employees took it and several failed. It’s effectively useless.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I took a look at the question and realized that nope, I wouldn’t pass either. The question is a word problem and those are my nemesis. I walked out of a place after filling out an app and getting a math test on top of it–I apologized to the receptionist but I could not have done the test. If they were giving it with the app, then that meant they were using it to screen, and it wasn’t worth my time or theirs.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              The puzzles make me think of the British TV show “Spy,” where Darren Boyd’s character gets a job with MI5 because he is so awesome at solving puzzles. (He doesn’t know what the job he’s applying for is.) I wish the show had lasted longer…

        3. FiveNine*

          All I can say is, that question in the screen shot is a nightmare. A nightmare! I have a headache from it alone.

        4. Ama*

          I work adjacent to healthcare (advocacy nonprofit) and it would not surprise me that this was an industry wide trend — healthcare/pharmaceutical companies are *obsessed* with metrics right now, and stories abound of failed projects that prioritized collected data over any type of context.

        5. AW*

          I’ve also taken one of these and it was also for a healthcare company.

          However, this was for an IT position so I assumed the difficulty of the test was due to wanting only *really* good people working on software for medical devices. I’m really surprised to find out that these places use the test for everyone they hire and it’s to measure stuff like customer service.

      2. Sadsack*

        I am curious how the example question provided determines fit for customer service. Is just to test ability to solve problems quickly?

        1. nona*

          I don’t work in HR, but an I/O psychology class in college covered this. Many tests intend to measure multiple traits or skills and many of them include irrelevant questions (the idea is to keep the participant from realizing just exactly what’s being tested for, but it’s not hard to guess anyway).

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            When I was in college looking for summer employment, a hardware store gave me a 100-question test. It would have been faster for everyone if they had just asked one question: “Are you a dishonest, lazy, irresponsible person who uses violence to solve problems? Yes or no.”

            1. davey1983*

              While I agree with your sentiment, a dishonest, lazy person and an honest, hard working person would both answer with ‘no’.

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                Trust me, the questions weren’t much more complex than that. It was all Y/N, and that was pretty much what was being asked. If I remember correctly, there really was a question that specifically was about whether you believed that violence was an appropriate way to solve most problems. Also, there were questions about stealing, but they were clearly not just about whether you thought it was OK to steal but how much was OK to steal.

                The truth is that anyone who couldn’t pass it either didn’t really want a job there or was not just dishonest but also really, really not very clever. They wanted the Pierre Despereaux type of dishonesty, not your run-of-the-mill employee on the take…

        2. Elsajeni*

          I’d guess that it’s designed to test whether you can sort through large amounts of irrelevant information and find the important bit — in this case, none of the times matter (because it doesn’t ask for the shortest path, only a possible one), and most of the specific connections don’t matter; what matters is that the only available direct connection to Airport G is from Airport B, so your path will have to end “B, G” and only one answer choice does. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re customer service oriented, but presumably it’s one of the other key traits they’re looking for. (Of course, it would make a lot more sense to divide those traits up based on which job you’re actually applying for, rather than using a one-size-fits-all test that makes the urgent-response people rate how much they enjoy interacting with customers and the customer-service people solve logic puzzles, but… well.)

          1. Shishimai*

            Oh, neat. I brute-forced it and still came in under 3 minutes (check each connection in order, eliminate all routes that fail at least one) but your solution is much more elegant. Way to focus on the one bit of data that matters!

          2. GH in SoCAl*

            Wow. I am generally good at puzzles but gave up on this one. I got lost in the weeds of irrelevant information. Thank you for the clear explanation.

        3. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Yes! Questions like this are so tedious I can barely even read them through to the end, much less do anything with them! A test full of questions like that and I’d be softly banging my head on the desk and quietly crying.

      3. CoffeeLover*

        I had that happen with one company on my recent job hunt. The test they gave was all personality type questions (they called it a skills test, but all the questions were about personality). I didn’t take it seriously because I was a strong candidate, had received interviews for similar positions and it just seemed really silly to me. I answered honestly, and about 10seconds after completing it, I got an automated rejection email because I failed the test. This was an entry level role and I think they administer the test just to eliminate candidates quickly to get it down to a reasonable number for human reviews. It seemed funny at the time because this company is notorious for hiring mediocre people, and I ended up getting a highly competitive, higher paid, more challenging role somewhere else, a role most people would say is much more difficult to get. It made me realize you never really know what you’ll get with hiring. (Oh and the company recently had lay offs too, so happy ending overall).

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I almost feel like I’d want to list that in my Accomplishments – “Failed personality test.” Because that’s not really something that should be able to happen…

          1. CoffeeLover*

            Haha I know! I got a kick out of telling people I didn’t get the job because I failed their personality test.

      4. Vicki*

        It’s definitely a great “screening out” test, but I don’t think it screens out people who are not “customer service oriented”. It screens out people who are not “silly puzzle oriented”.

    2. saro*

      I used to work as a job developer for refugees. I assisted refugees in completing these types of tests since many did not speak English well but were necessary for warehouse-type jobs (which did not require English). It was really difficult to explain to them why these tests were necessary.

      Some were T/F statements such as, “I like to do thrill-seeking activities such as jumping out of an airplane.” – True or False. One client responded, “I just got out of a war. What refugee would want to do that?”

      1. puddin*

        Such a valid question from your refugee friend! Kinda points out the bias and limitations on these types of tests don’t it?

      2. Jessa*

        Yeh and all those questions where the answer is “I’m disabled I cannot do x,” also. Because I can’t jump out of a plane so I don’t think it’s fun because: CAN’T. It gets annoying because if you answer honestly, you don’t get the job that you can do and have done in the past because half the “do you like this?” questions are “no, because can’t,” and no way to explain that bias built into the test.

    3. Sara*

      I had to do what turned out to be a personality interview during my last job search, and I wish I’d asked about the thought process behind it during my second interview. (I didn’t get the job, which was pretty okay with me – the ridiculous nature of the first interview was a pretty huge red flag for me.)

    4. Ruth*

      I used to be a drug rep for a big pharma company and I had to do a several-hour-long psychometric test that was administered by a psychologist at his office as part of the hiring process. Later on, when I was in the job, I asked my boss about it, he told me that it was a valuable piece of information, and they would no longer hire anyone who “failed” it. Apparently they had ignored results in the past and hired people despite them, because they had interviewed well, but had always come to regret it.

      1. Florida*

        I wonder if any of it was self-fulfilling. i.e. We’ll hire John even though he is type ABC and we always hire type XYZ. They make this exception, then every time John makes a mistake it is attributed to him being ABC instead of him just making a mistake because he was brand new in the job. Since his mistakes are caused by his ingrained personality, rather than lack of training or some other cause, there is nothing the manager can do about it. Even if we trained John, he is ABC, so he’s not going to get it. Eventually John fails in the job. The managers feel good because it had nothing to do with poor management. It was because John was type ABC.

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          This is an excellent description of something I’ve been experiencing. Where I am, there’s some “we need more type ABCs!” mentality but the culture is sooooo heavily XYZ that ABCs are miserable and feel constant pressure to learn not to be ABCs. And it can feel tough to job search then when you’ve been marinating in “we must break you of your ABCness!” (Seeking out ABC-safe spaces….)

      2. Natalie*

        Eh, humans are pretty damn good at fooling ourselves. Without double blind studies I don’t buy that these tests are worth anything.

        1. jmkenrick*

          > Without double blind studies I don’t buy that these tests are worth anything.

          A comment after my own heart.

    5. WannabeManager*

      My previous job used a well known one and it could easily be BS’d (I figured out what they were looking for just from the nature of the job and answered accordingly).

      Our senior management was genuinely surprised that folks’ personalities did not match up to the test…in the end, at my going away party a bunch of us admitted that we not that straight forward on the assessment…

      1. Artemesia*

        All it takes to game these tests is empathy. You visualize the ideal performer in the role and then ‘be’ that person when taking the test. I am an introvert, but have no trouble imagining myself an extrovert when responding to the questions. Of course you have to have some sense of what they are looking for in an employee, but if it is customer service I am thinking that sociability type answers are part of it.

        1. WannabeManager*

          Funnily that’s exactly what I did…and I still ended up a reasonably good employee by all accounts.

        2. Vicki*

          Did you look at the example? You can’t “game” that question with empathy. ;-)

    6. Jake*

      I work for a company that uses the DISC test. Only people with a high D rating are considered, and a low I score is looked upon favorably.

      The justification is that out industry and jobs require a very direct personality. I’m not a fan of the test myself, but I can say that it has created a culture where a specific type of person will fit well and thrive, but others will not.

      1. Joey*

        are you in sales?

        Either way the problem when you hire one personality is that it doesn’t work all the time or on everyone. And you’re going to get people that think similarly and approach problems similarly. It’s sort of like hiring one type of salesperson. And most of us can relate to preferring different types of sales tactics.

        1. jag*

          Yeah. And internal activities (IT, HR, finance, training, communications) may tend to need other personalities types.

          Different industries and organizations may need, in general, different personality types (think military vs commodities trading vs basic R&D vs childcare) but most organizations also need some internal diversity to survive and grow in the long term.

        2. puddin*

          Agreed – having all one personality type makes for a lop sided team. In fact, when DISC is used as sales training, it is to guide you to mirroring behavior, especially for a type that is ‘opposite’ your own tendencies. The assignment is intended to further understanding and communication between the types. This is why people cringe when psychometrics are applied in the workplace; because they are so often applied in a ham fisted manner.

      2. Wonko the Sane*

        I’m sure some of these companies are just using tests like this to weed out lots of applicants, but it seems shortsighted too, like you could miss some very good people.

        The funny thing about the DISC test is that it was based on the 1920s psychological theories of the guy who created Wonder Woman, but if you go back and read his original work, he never intended it to be used in a test like this. His theory was a socio-cognitive personality theory that people’s personalities are affected enormously by the people they interact with and the situations they’re in, and someone who’s (D)dominant over one person might be (S)submissive to another, etc. No one has just one type.

        Yes, he was also into BDSM. The More You Know.

    7. the gold digger*

      I had to take what was essentially an intelligence test for one job. It was word problems! Word problems I could have knocked out in a second in 8th grade, but not know. There were also pattern recognition problems. It took me two hours. I was pretty cranky about it.

      I was called for an interview, but before I got to talk to anyone, they made me take the test again, there in their offices. Which pissed me off so much. It hadn’t even occurred to me that someone could have taken the test for me, but it seemed like a little bit of overkill.

      And then I didn’t get the job anyhow. I do not have fond memories of you, ZYWAVE.

      1. my two cents*

        i went through the same garbage with them, too!! man, knowing that i would have had to retake the test IF i showed up for an in-person interview…i’m glad i didn’t get the call back. i have an engineering degree, have been working for 8 years, and had applied for a software support position. i’m plenty sharp, but trying to figure out which flights bob and sue were on made me want to claw my eyes out.

      2. puddin*

        I have friends that work there – never know about the 2x testing. That would be a deal breaker for me.

    8. plain_jane*

      My last job did this. If you scored poorly on the pattern recognition/IQ/math stuff (ie below the 80th percentile), then it was highly unlikely you’d get a second interview unless you really wowed. Given the job, pattern recognition and math intuition was crucial. We learned from bitter experience that 60% would not cut it.

      The psychological stuff was used to help determine whether you’d fit well on a particular team – e.g. if you heavily over-index on stability, you probably wouldn’t be considered for the team that had a VP who regularly would come up with a great idea 2 hours before the presentation and require a bunch of new slides (but if we liked you, we’d consider moving someone from a different team over there and bringing you on where your strengths would work for you). I never saw someone completely knocked out of running because of the psychological scores – it just gave an initial idea as to what the person’s comfort zone was.

    9. Rock*

      I work for a general contractor that employs roughly 400 people. We do a huge ass psychometric test for every employee. It’s a little bit intense, ngl. The test itself is made up of 4 parts and can take up to three hours. This is the “short” test! Upper management roles actually have an in-person interview with a PhD to get evaluated in addition.
      I’ve been told the purpose is to be able to compare to previous people in the role? Like Person H did really well before they quit, let’s see if Candidate T has similar qualities. I’m personally dubious of its ability to actually produce results.
      (I think it makes us as a company look kinda nutso too)

      1. Rock*

        Oh I forgot to add!
        No one who completes any portion of the test is allowed to see how they did. It’s 100% confidential from the test taker.
        I was told that it was “to make sure people don’t feel limited by their results.”

        1. Vicki*


          So, they use the results to limit your advancement but they don’t want you to “feel limited”.

          1. Rock*

            YUP. Never mind that learning you’re weaker in, say, assertiveness, might allow you to work on that and improve your chances of advancement…

            The test is administered in person (or proctored by a library, for example, if the person is out of state/city) in the final stages of the interview process. So at least it’s not upfront? But it’s a sizable time and brain commitment, and its value is only dependent on how useful personality/IQ tests are…
            Project Managers and Estimators… I can kind of see it. But everyone in the company goes through this process, Admins included…

    10. _ism_*

      I’ve taken tons of these kinds of tests for unksilled jobs (mostly retail cashier positions). I’ve spent two hours on a single test, just one part of the applicaton process, only to “fail” and not get any kind of notification whatsoever. The questions really mess with my head (I over think everything and am very introspective and philosophical) and there are cheat sheets out there for them. I tried using the cheat sheets and VIOLA I got calls back, even though any normal person who passes those tests is being dishonest, they’re “designed” to screen for “honesty?” wtf. I hate them.

      1. Anx*

        Very similar experience here.

        I finally got a call back when I tried to answer as a 2D, vapid, slightly lazy person.

        Apparently you can get in trouble for being inconsistent or too good. I’m a safety nut and answered questions honestly that indicated I’d be very concerned with safety. But most people aren’t.

    11. puddin*

      I will follow up on open thread if there is anything to report. In my current job search I have completed two psychometric tests – actually the exact same test just for two different companies.

      Job A – Test – done, Phone screen – done, In person interview – done, 4 hours of more tests (seriously!) – pending. I am told that if I get hired I will spend 1/2 day going over all test results.

      Job B – Phone screen – done, In person interview – done, Test used to help decide the final candidate among 3 ‘very qualified’ candidates – done. Did not get the job and company policy was to not share test results unless you are hired.

      Both employers stated that the job has a ‘desired personality outcome’ or words to that effect. If they are looking for ENTJ, and I test to be INTP for example, that might put me out of the running if the I/E and J/P are the critical matches for the position. Very simplified description as the Myers Briggs is just one assessment of many Job A is using.

      I also had the logic/spatial relations test with my initial testing at both companies. I got the impression that this is to see if they have a genius on their hands; which in my case, they do not. When it comes to the pattern matching stuff I choke. Always have been horrible at it and it makes me very nervous for this next round of tests I have for a job I really really want.

      As a side note, the only reason I am agreeing to all these gyrations with Job A is that the job role is a very ideal fit with a superb company. If it were for some joe-schmoe outfit, I would take myself out of the running. In general, I consider this type of employee assessment a yellowy-orangeish flag.

    12. Hermoine Granger*

      I’ve had to complete a few lengthy tests in the past when applying for part-time jobs at some large companies. They seem to be quite prevalent in customer service / retail jobs and seemed to focus on basic math and/or ethics. However, I remember applying to a marketing position at P&G a few years ago and a rather lengthy logic / IQ test had to be completed as part of the application process. I think I might have had to complete such a test for professional positions at a few other large companies but can’t remember which ones.

    13. RMRIC0*

      I’d imagine in places that go through a lot of unskilled labor (especially retail), it’s about mechanizing and streamlining a process that the business doesn’t much care for, since those employees are just cogs in a machine. As they don’t care, I think that merely having a process is more important than making sure it’s the right process.

      Though I’m sure that making retail employees sit through an hour long bunch of BS is a good screen for retail drones.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I think it says something about the type of retail job it is. Places that see their employees as replaceable cogs are one thing. I also worked at a very desirable retail job in college, and there was no testing like that. However, there were group interviews (a new store was opening and they were hiring all the staff), but it was clearly done to see how everyone interacted with other people (an important consideration in a boutique store known for enthusiastic employees). At one point the interviewers excused themselves for about 15-20 minutes. This was an open environment in a hotel conference room. I am sure they were covertly watching us. The guy who sat back and didn’t engage with the other three people (who were also potential coworkers) did not get the job. I bet that told them more than having people fill out forms ever would.

    14. Temporary Anon*

      I worked in sales for a software company. Before I was hired, they had everyone in their sales organization take a personality test, and it was noted that the VP of Sales and all the high-performers had similar results. So they decided to test candidates and hire only those whose profiles came very close to the VP’s. Mine matched his on almost every single data point. I did fabulously until my manager quit and was replaced with a woman-hating misogynist who essentially fired me (by putting me on a PIP) just a few weeks after taking over.

  4. Stephanie*

    #4: That brings back unpleasant memories of studying for the LSAT.

    In college, I got an internship offer at one of the automakers where the entire process was mostly these tests. I did one or two phone screens with a recruiter, but I had to take like a half dozen of these tests. No logic puzzles, though. Mostly behavioral questions (some pretty detailed) on the spectrum of strongly agree to strongly disagree. It was pretty tedious and turned me off on the company (and I ended up working somewhere else for the summer).

    #5: Yes, reimburse ASAP! I’ve had some delays for interviews, but I get things might be different for an external candidate. But even then, I got reimbursed within a month.

  5. Nobody*

    #1 – This company was very inconsiderate, so I don’t blame you for not wanting to work there, but I prefer to err on the side of not burning bridges. If you cross paths with this hiring manager or this company in the future, you don’t want them to remember you as the candidate who flaked out and left before the interview started. Plus, you didn’t get a chance to find out if they had an explanation; maybe there was a mix-up with the interview schedule, or maybe the hiring manager was running behind and would have apologized profusely upon meeting you.

    #2 – I worked somewhere that rehired quite a few people who had left and wanted to return, many of them average but not great employees. Sure, in theory, you’d prefer to replace them with awesome employees, but if it’s a company that struggles to get qualified applicants or has high turnover and is desperate for experienced employees, I can see considering someone you know is ok rather than taking a chance on an unknown person who might end up being terrible and/or leave in 6 months.

    #4 – B… And I wouldn’t make a lot of conclusions about fit based on the hiring process. Those things are often mandated by the corporate office, and even if the hiring manager is great and thinks the tests are pointless, she might be required to use them anyway.

    1. Kerry*

      But with #4, that’s still a signal that the corporate office requires stupid things that your manager isn’t able to push back on.

      1. KathyGeiss*

        This should be a red flag but I don’t think it should scare you off all together. I worked for an org that outsourced HR responsibilities. The outsourced companies used these types of tests for no good reason. does it show poor judgement that they hired this company, yes. Did that carry through in other ways, not really. They outsourced HR bc they were small and it wasn’t their wheelhouse. Took them a while to figure out the HR company wasn’t working and eventually they moved elsewhere.

        1. Kerry*

          Sure, but my point is that it’s still a red flag, ie something it’s possible to draw conclusions from.

      2. Joey*

        There will always be things you don’t agree with that you can’t push back on. The bigger the org is the harder it becomes to push back on.
        If one of your criteria was to work for an org that let you get your way on everything you’d seriously limit your options.

      3. land of oaks*

        It isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but it should be something you pay attention to when evaluating a new employer. I’m experiencing this right now with a place I am temping that has permanent offerings. I have decided I’m not interested because I’ve seen how difficult/impossible it can be to get simple and important things done because of certain bureaucratic problems that are deeply entrenched and just aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

        In the example from Nobody, I would probably rethink any job on the HR side of this org if this is a problem from corporate. But if the job I was looking at was in a different area, I’d look more closely to see if that department had the same problems or not. It very well might differ by department and a job in a different area of the org might not have this problem at all. It’s just good info to have when making a decision.

  6. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    That test question! Bleh! I love logic puzzles, but that one was just more a test of “can you read this long, poorly-formatted list of things?” than anything else. Also, the answer is “none of the above” unless you assume that a connection “between X and Y” means both from X to Y and from Y to X.

    1. Stephanie*

      And that you want the shortest path (that was my assumption). I had the same thought about the connections.

      I’ve sort of done these brain teasers and logic games in interviews (things like “How would you weigh a jet engine without a scale?”), but I was told in those I could say whatever as long as I stated my assumptions and explained my logic.

      Really, I probably would have had all those clarification questions, just guessed something, and question how much I *really* wanted he job.

      1. Steve G*

        I have to disagree with you guys, I love brainteasers, and this is not one. If you map it out on paper, the answer is clear (I recognize though that we are all commenting past midnight and I am the only one crazy enough to actually do it).

        When you do it, the answer is clearly choice B (or if not, I am making an a** of myself:-)).

        There are two ways to get to G (the final airport in all answers) mentioned – through F or B. If you close F, the flight before G MUST be through B, and only one answer ends in “B, G.” The other flight routes simply don’t exist on the map.

        1. Steve G*

          As per pre-interview testing though…I love being tested, I am tired of having interviews based on some younger HR person’s perceptions of me based on how I answer a few random questions like “how do you handle stress,” or of them trying to rate my expertise on things by asking for my self-evaluation (can’t all candidates just lie?!).

          That being said, if I ace the test, it should get me ahead in the process. I recently did an Excel test that got pretty complex, but luckily used all of the functions I know, and I know for sure I got 31 out of 32 questions correct (because I’ve used every function thousands of times). Great, right? Well that was 3 weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything from the employer. So….why are you testing people if doing great in the test doesn’t mean anything?! I am confused why they sent it to me at all!

          1. Tau*

            I hear you! I absolutely aced one of these tests for a company I was quite excited about. No word, no word… except that six or so weeks later I get told I was rejected. My guess is that you have to pass the test in order to have an actual human being read your resume and decide whether they want to bring you in for interview (or, knowing the number of hoops these people want you to jump through, an in-person assessment prior to a group interview prior to an actual final interview…) and that’s the point at which they rejected me, but it still stung.

        2. Stephanie*

          Lol, no. I did it too and mapped it out. I still think there’s ambiguity, but that could be how my mind works. :)

          1. Min*

            I’m confused…assuming that they have listed all of the possible flights to G, how could it be anything other than B?

            1. Stephanie*

              I came up with that, too, but I may have missed something as I was doing this on a sticky note during a slow period at work (at a shipping/logistics company with an airline coincidentally enough).

              I still agree with Elizabeth’s assertion that it’s poorly worded. Alison, you may have opened the equivalent of Pandora’s Box in the comments by posting that screenshot. :)

              1. steve g*

                I love questions like this. I don’t think it’s poorly written, I think they wrote it on purpose this way to get you to focus on the time length of different trips so you’d think it’s a “what is the shortest length” question….

        3. fposte*

          Yeah, I’d say this is more of a reading comprehension test than a logic puzzle or brain teaser.

          1. Us, Too*

            That’s about 90% of the real world, though: decoding human language to get to the point of the actual problem. :/

        4. Chuchundra*

          Yes, there’s only one flight to G. Nothing else matters.

          For questions like this, it often helps to work backwards to find the answer.

    2. Mike C.*

      The fact that you only have three minutes?!? What in the hell is that? I hope someone with dyslexia yells at them for being stupid.

      1. OP#4*

        It took me most of the time to just read and parse the question, and I’ve been a professional writer/editor for 15+ years. I can’t imagine how anyone with an LD or a nonnative speaker might feel.

      2. Tau*

        I bombed a test very much like this due to that – I think I had less, even, two and a half or two and a quarter minutes. All questions I could have done perfectly with pen, paper and either no time limit or a more reasonable one, but seeing the clock ticking down made me fall apart completely.

        I mean, maybe the job involves working under extreme time pressure, but *three minutes*? I doubt it.

        Although re: dyslexia, I’ve done a few of these and there was always an option to contact someone to make arrangements if you had access needs.

        1. Zillah*

          But that requires candidates to disclose a disability early on in the hiring process that they really shouldn’t have to – which is a problem as well.

          1. Tau*

            Yes, I’m absolutely not arguing that this makes it a good or neutral thing for candidates with those sorts of disabilities! Just that there is an alternative option there.

    3. Dan*

      Never mind the fact that as a former airline employee, nobody calls the flight time between two airports a “connection”. Say connection, and I think you’re talking about a layover.

    4. OP#4*

      Exactly! “Between” implies both directions to me; if it is one way, the phrase should be “from X to Y.” I work in communications, though, and do tend to fixate on that sort of detail, to my detriment on tests like this.

      1. None*

        You don’t need to map it out. You just need to pay a little more attention. They have given only 2 time measures to get to G. Either F to G (F is closed) or B to G which is three hours. If you look at the answers, only answer B have the B to G connection. Every other connection is irrelevant.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          It still only took me about 30 seconds to write the letters in a circle, draw all the lines, and then another 15 or so of tracing routes to see that there were only two airports that connected to G, and one of them was F, which was closed, so the only answer that was valid was choice B, since it was the only one that ended in a B-G flight.

          But while I’m very good at math and logic puzzles, this had too many relationships for me to juggle in my head, I definitely needed to sketch it out.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        This. I’d rather pay more even for one stop where I stay on the same plane if I can’t get a nonstop. I think the most we had was 2 changes, and that was for travel to a distant continent when we were using miles for a free ticket, so we had to choose less direct routes (BWI-ATL-CDG-AMS). We actually traveled even farther with only one change (IAD-AMS-JRO) when we paid for it ourselves.

        1. fposte*

          Braggy hub city dweller! Pretty much everywhere is two connections minimum for me.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Sorry…would it make you feel better to compare grocery prices? I’m sure ours are higher than yours. :)

            1. fposte*

              Definitely true! And I actually love our tiny little airport. It’s just a pain to jigsaw a trip together.

          2. Dan*

            I commented awhile back how it’s friggin down right amazing just how well connected the Northeast US is to the rest of the world. I really have to go out of my way to find a three-connection itinerary that’s the most direct for the city pairs involved.

      2. sittingduck*

        This was my thought too – if you can get from E to B in 1 hours, and then B to G in 3 hours, thats a total of 4

        WHY would you go from E to D (1 hour) then D to C (2 hours) then C to B(1 hour) then B to G (3 hours) when you could have just gone E-B-G. You added an extra 3 hours to your trip for NO reason.

        I get that the actual point of this was to be able to determine that G was only connected to B and F, and with F closed, your only option was B, so you were just looking for anything that ended in B-G. I suppose that is a ‘valuable’ skill to have, to be able to weed through a whole bunch of nonsense and find the one piece of information you are looking for – but this is just so much nonsense that its silly.

      3. Meadowsweet*

        no kidding, eh? 7 hours + connections vs the 2hours + connection I usually take? I’m driving!

    5. matcha123*

      After “A, B, C, D, E, F” I clocked out. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

      I didn’t take the SAT and ACT and graduate from a highly ranked university so that I could do the same crap again for a job. The answer is “no.”

      1. Dan*

        You know, it’s funny. I deal with some fairly intricate and complex things at my job (I do computational linguistics) but the problem statements can be simplified so much that just a high school graduate can understand them. I don’t have the patience for things that are written like an academic paper, there’s no need for that crap in the real world.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          That’s the kind of thing that would get “Clarify!” written on it from me back when I was grading Comp 101 papers.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            To clarify – I meant the test question – not Dan’s extremely good point. But good academic writing shouldn’t be confusing, either.

            I’d just be tempted to just offer to send my ACT and GRE scores. Those were at least written by professional test-writers. I could also send them a copy of my most recently completed book of Dell puzzles, if that’s also important to this company. I think that would tell them just as much.

  7. Engineer Girl*

    #2 – I wonder if the employee was considered average because of the conflict with the manager? I know in one job my sr. manager constantly told others I was incompetent. That’s because I said the software could never work with the current architecture. We would miss deadline if we redesigned the software. I was right – but it didn’t matter. The manager had bad mouthed me and it absolutely affected my reputation with that program.
    So was I a bad employee or a good one? Other managers after that thought I was high performing.
    My point is that you need to evaluate each person correctly. But if they are returning to the same manager and same working conditions? No.

    1. OP 2*

      Its mainly the work is not good enough to justify bringing thwm back, but they would not report to me after i was promoted. They would go directly to my managerThese employees (it’s 6 people) all worked at the company (healthcare) before I did. When they left, our team has gotten quite strong and our deficit went from 20 million to 7.5. I feel we will regret taking these people back because they are not going to be able to perform to the standards implemented since they left and they will quickly transfer or weaken the team. My manager feels with them having left, they might realize that I am their supervisor now. Our director feels since we hardly get any resumes as it is, we should give them another chance.

      1. Future Analyst*

        If their work isn’t good enough, then don’t bring them back. A poor hiring decision is so much worse than not hiring someone at all (for everyone on the team).

      2. Noelle*

        If that’s the case, I don’t think it’s a good decision to hire them back. As Alison said, having the opportunity to rehire employees gives you an advantage because you’ve seen their work. If the work isn’t good, it doesn’t make sense to rehire them.

        But there’s a separate problem – we hardly get any resumes as it is. Why is that? Are there just not a lot of people who meet the needed qualifications, or something else?

      3. Joey*

        Why no apps? That sounds like the better place to focus your energy. Wouldn’t you rather overcome not enough apps than deal with underperformers?

        1. OP 2*

          We are in a large organization in a fairly small market. Most of the qualified people already work for our organization.

      4. Judy*

        It does feel like you’re lumping all 6 in one decision. I guess I’d prefer looking case by case. They can’t all be identical, can they? Did they all interview together when they left? Did they all interview with you together?

        Also, do you have 6 openings, or are you discussing creating positions for them?

    2. Future Analyst*

      This is a really good point. Not getting along with your current manager doesn’t always speak to your ability to work well within the organization under different leadership. Assuming this potential re-hire wouldn’t be working under the same boss, it could be worth a shot to bring them back.

  8. Zelda*

    #4. I worked in an organization in which HR insisted on psychometric testing of candidates for all positions below a certain level in the face of strong opposition from hiring managers, including myself. As a bureaucratic requirement these tests may be stupid, but they don’t *necessarily* reflect an organization-wide lack of thought.

    1. Evergreen*

      In your example the tests perhaps reflect a bureaucratic culture where head office runs the show and individual managers have limited ability to impact decision-making – or at least this is what I take away from companies who use these tests!

  9. Jen RO*

    #4 – my (global) company administers this test to all candidates. Candidates hate it, hiring managers hate it, HR hates it. Company policy is to hire mostly entry level people (fresh out of college or 2-3 years experience tops, therefore no significant achievements on their resumes), so the test is supposed to only allow “smart” candidates to get to the interview stage. What it *actually* does is drive out candidates who do have experience and can’t be bothered focusing on this for an hour, and artificially eliminate people who are very smart, but have average English skills. (Yeah, it’s such a global company that getting the vendor to translate the text was too much… so our software developer and QA candidates fail it because they can’t understand some of the words.) As a hiring manager, it drives me nuts, but it’s corporate policy and there’s no way around it.

    So yeah, OP, you can ask, and you might get someone honest (or braver?) to tell you that it’s bullshit. Otherwise, you’ll just get some corporate blah blah about how they are ensuring they are hiring the brightest people etc etc. (We *do* have a lot of bright people, but we also have a lot of meh people who might be good at taking tests, but useless when it comes to actual work.) But, on the other hand, this test does not really reflect anything about the day-to-day work of my department, so stupid policy does not always equal stupid work.

    Oh, and this ties into #2 as well – I left this company and then wanted to return, I had everything negotiated with my former manager, including salary, everyone was eager to have me back on board… and I still had to take the damn test! (It’s online, so I cheated without remorse – I had my boyfriend with me and he helped with the math questions.)

    1. Jen RO*

      Oh, and only HR can see the actual results. The candidates are only told if the passed or failed, and hiring managers (if they insist) can get some vague info like “the candidate did better on the logic part, but not that good on the math part”… sharing the scores is strictly prohibited.

    2. the gold digger*

      What it *actually* does is drive out candidates who do have experience and can’t be bothered focusing on this for an hour,

      Yes! I took the two-hour test I took for Zywave only because I was unemployed and desperate at the time. I like my job now and will leave only for more money and a downtown office instead of being in a suburban industrial park. I am not going to spend two hours on part of a job application for another suburban job.

      1. AnonAnalyst*

        Yeah, I when I was unemployed and job searching I took one of these tests, mainly because I had the time to do it. That said, it was a definite red flag for me about the company, which wasn’t great since there were already a couple of other red flags I had seen during other parts of the interview process. (They didn’t offer me the job, so it worked out for the best.)

        Now, I would probably withdraw from a hiring process that required this. I have a skill set that’s in enough demand where I have other options that won’t make me jump through ridiculous hoops. I guess I might take the test if I were super, super interested in the job, but I see that as a pretty rare occurrence (kind of like Jen’s experience going back to her old company). Most likely, I’d just move on to the next opportunity.

  10. Toad*


    In the U.K. supermarkets like ASDA and other run of the mill, minimum wage jobs do those timed tests with logic puzzles etc. I was told it was to weed out candidates, and are designed to help them to find people with similar mindsets.

        1. Toad*

          For example people who are on JSA tend to apply for loads of positions every week, to meet the quota given to them by the Job centre. So to stop an influx of the same CVs every week, these big corporate chains like McDonalds, M&S, Pizza Express, ASDA, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s etc put these tests up (which have algebra questions on them as well) to stop candidates just submitting an application without thought. Plus you can’t just hand in CVs to these kind of businesses in person like you used to be able to either. You have to go through their online tests to be considered for an interview.

          They also do another thing to prevent those on JSA applying; a 6 month rule. For example if you have applied for a position in say January, you cannot apply for another position at the same organisation/or branch until the end of June… which, (depending on the duration of your unemployment) if you live in a highly populated big chain area leaves you without much to apply for during those 6 months.

          1. Daisy*

            Oh interesting- I’ve often been annoyed by having to do those, it never occurred to me that was why! Actually makes sense.

          2. Elkay*

            I’m curious about how that quota is measured, my other half was on JSA for a few months and never had to prove he’d applied to anywhere. That may have been because he was on the non-means tested/contribution based JSA.

            Regardless of JSA it looks like they’re used to prevent applicants spamming them, you don’t need to be on JSA to decide you want to leave your job at Asda and move to M&S.

            1. Toad*

              Well my other half was on it and he would get sanctioned, they monitor it online now, not via paper so you can’t lie.

          3. Anx*

            Yeah, that 6 month thing was brutal. Especially because one test could be used for multiple employers.

            I had store manager urge me to retake the test because she really liked my resume and cover letter (that I brought in), but couldn’t hire me because of my test ‘color.’

            I didn’t know how to respond, because I knew I couldn’t take it for another 6 months and it’s pretty embarrassing to know you’ll probably still be looking. But the hiring manager seemed to have no idea that I couldn’t just retake the test. I did reapply every 6 months, but I wonder if she thought I was flaky or not interested.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Back in my retail days, I sometimes had tests to calculate prices and make change with calculators and/or paper. But that was in case the registers or electricity went out, and basic math and money-handling skills are necessary in people who handle cash. So, those tests, which were brief and done in person made sense to me. And they were always explained – I didn’t even think of them as tests, just as part of the interview process showing I knew how to handle money. I mean, if I had picked up a dime and said, “What’s this?!” they would have known I wasn’t the hire for them.

  11. Ruby*

    Re #4… The best way is to fly from E to B to G. Why do I need to go to D and C as well??? That’s a waste of time and is just plane annoying (pun intended), unless I’m having an affair with someone on the flight crew!

  12. Merry and Bright*

    #1 A company that interviews people with the door open does not sound good. Nor does one that wants you to sit and fill out a 12 page document while you are waiting to go in (why not email it beforehand?). Nor does one that lacks the courtesy to let you know when you check in that they are running so late.

    I am glad it has all worked out so well, OP.

  13. OP#4*

    I love that phrasing, and if I do get an interview or phone screen, I will definitely ask exactly what Alison suggested. It was definitely for a professional, senior level staff job, so I’d hope they’d want to rely on more relevant assessments as a weed-out.

    I’m sure it’s very easy for a lot of you to see the answer, but I don’t particularly enjoy word problems or puzzles to begin with, and I always fixate on trying to parse or edit the way the question is written – my years of editorial experience working against me. (I didn’t do so hot on the GMAT for the same reasons!) Adding the timed aspect, on a computer, so I had to keep shifting attention from scratch paper to the screen to take notes – I don’t mind saying it was basically my own idea of hell.

    By contrast, I didn’t necessarily object to the personality questions; those were a range of “strongly agree/disagree” scale types and contrasting statements, where you were to pick the one that best applies between “I respect authority absolutely” and something like “I am always running late” or “I light fires to feel joy.” (Exaggerating. Mostly.) I can see how an org might be using those metrics against results of other top performers, if they have that data, to predict culture fit, but I reeeeeaaalllly fail to see how my air traffic controlling skills come into play.

    1. Rebecca*

      That’s what I was thinking. You applied for a job in the health care industry, not as a travel agent or someone who works at the ticket counter at an airport. What possible use could this question have, other than to see if you paid attention in Algebra class in high school?

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Funny, I love logic puzzles, but I hate behavioral questions, because I feel that my answers can depend heavily on the situation. I can envision situations where I despise a dictatorial, arbitrary, and capricious authority, even though normally I do trust those in authority with whom I actually interact. And I absolutely hate absolutist statements. ;) No, really, though, I’m not “always” anything, really. No one is.

      Not that I think that the question was relevant. If there’s any use for that kind of logic puzzle, they should be asking you to answer it with the interviewer in the room, and without a time limit, so they can get a feel for how you solve problems in general. But that’s more appropriate for an interview than an applicant screening anyway.

      1. Dang*

        Yeah, I’m also turned off by the behavioral questions for the same reasons. Lots of times my answer would be “it depends” but that’s not an option, and then you wonder whether they “want” someone who “strongly” or “moderately” agrees with a statement and then before you know it, you’re baffled.

        1. fposte*

          Right. They should just start out with a test-out question that says “Are you an absolutist? Yes Sometimes No.” I’d answer “Sometimes” and then they’d let me go home.

          1. zora*

            but isn’t “No” an even more paradoxical answer???

            This is my problem, I’m always tempted to pick answers just to mess with them.

            1. fposte*

              You’re right that it would be more paradoxical, but I’m such a non-absolutist I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

        2. Anonsie*

          Man, can we talk about the ones Disney uses? Back when I lived near one of their resorts as a teen I got bounced out of every job I ever applied for based on that thing, and to this day I have no idea what some of the questions were getting at. I even looked up message boards of people discussing them where no one could really figure out what the hell.

          There’s one where it asks what you would do if you saw a child playing with a hammer and some of the answers made it sound like they meant a real hammer and some of them made it sound like a toy hammer but none of them made sense either way.

      2. nona*

        Yeah, me too.

        There’s also the problem of people answering behavioral questions while stressed out by a job application, for example, or dealing with something in their personal life.

        I was given the EQ-i at the same time that my grandmother was having heart surgery. Not the same day, the actual same time. I’m very, very glad that this was not part of a job application.

        1. nona*

          …The point I was going for pre-derail was that people’s answers to behavioral questions might not have anything to do with their performance at work.

          1. Allison*

            Absolutely agree. One question that stands out in my mind, from the days where I was applying to countless retail jobs is “it’s fun to go to events with large crowds and lots of people.” Now, I may find some of the events fun, but I wouldn’t say that the crowds are necessarily the fun part, in fact they can detract from the fun in some cases, but I knew that they asked it to see who’s truly a “people person” who loooooves being around lots of people. I hated that question. I may not always like being in crowded places, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give good customer service at work.

            Another reason why these tests are kinda BS is that people lie on them all the time and give the answers they think (or know) the store is looking for. No one is honestly going to indicate that they don’t like people or that they think stealing is no big deal.

      3. Anx*

        Same here!

        Actually, I think a lot of the behavioral questions I’ve seen on those tests would be good interview questions. Or I wish a human manager could read my test and ask me about why I answered a question a certain way.

    3. Anonicorn*

      I can commiserate. I took one of these tests that had questions like, “Would you rather work for a great manager, or own your own business?” Given that I have never wanted to own my own business and think I’d be terrible at it, I answered strongly in favor of the first option. From similar sorts of questions, it determined that I wouldn’t work well independently, which is what the company needed, and I was rejected. Funny thing is, I was the only one in my position at the time and ispo facto marvelous at working independently. /shrug/

      1. jmkenrick*

        Also, doing a lot of independent work in the context of a larger organization? Not the same as running your own business….

  14. Patty*

    To #4, isn’t there some kind of IRS rule that turns reimbursement for expenses into compensation for tax purposes after a period of time? It seems to me like it’s 60 days, but that could be outdated information,,

    1. Mpls*

      I can’t imagine this being the general case, nor the time period being that short. I could maybe (MAYBE) see it as an issue for Executive compensation/fringe benefit issue, though I have nothing to back that up.

    2. jcsgo*

      Yes, but the 60 days is for the employee substantiating their incurred expenses to their employer. I’m not sure if there is a time requirement for responding/cutting a check to the employee…

  15. Apollo Warbucks*

    #4 Three to six months is far to long to expect someone to wait. I think once a week is reasonable, when employees pick up expenses out of pocket it saves the firm the admin burden of dealing with petty cash or comany credit cards, which is more hassle than expense claims in my experience.

    If weekly payments are out of the question the maximum period anyone should have to wait is until the next payroll is due and all expenses should be included in that.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I’ve had company credit cards at 3 companies–and *I* have to pay them. *I* am liable for them, and *I* will pay any late fees.

      So a company credit card IS just “floating the company money,” everywhere I’ve worked. I submit the expense, and they pay me so I can pay the credit-card company. At one company, I could submit the expense, and they’d pay the credit-card company directly, but I was *still* on the hook if I filed late (and presumably would be if they’d paid late).

      Because I’m the one signing the charge, the company is not on the hook for the charge–they’ve never seen it. They won’t pay for it until after they approve it.

      I’m curious to know if other people have had other arrangements for company credit cards.

      I’m currently shifting away from my company credit card to my personal one, because I can’t utlize the points I earn on the company AmEx for personal things; I just get a discount on whatever charge I’m currently making. On my personal card, I can at least trade them in for something I can use (usu. I get gift cards to use as Christmas presents for my team).
      And, if the $900 I have to pay is hitting at the wrong time, w/ my personal card, I don’t get a late fee or a credit-score ding if I can’t pay it all off. I just have to pay interest, which is less.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        Only one place I’ve worked had company cards and they paid the balance off in full directly as long as all the paper work was handed in on time.

        I’m not sure how common that is

        1. Judy*

          I’ve had company cards at 3 F50 companies. Two of them paid the cards directly as long as the expense report was completed. The third company had company cards but the bills came to me and I had to pay them, and I was reimbursed by the company. That company changed to the billed directly type card after a few years, when they changed their expense reporting system.

      2. Sadsack*

        My company pays the credit card bill directly, but I first have to submit an expense report explaining all the charges.

          1. AVP*

            Then again, I regularly charge amounts higher than my annual salary so it’s not really possible to handle it any other way.

      3. Mabel*

        I have the exact same situation with my “company” credit card, but my company is pretty good about turning things around quickly so the bill is paid on time. The only time I had trouble was when my manager was on vacation, and a bunch of expenses almost didn’t get paid on time. And once I was traveling with a colleague who didn’t have a company card and couldn’t afford to front the money, so I paid for everything on my card and then had to explain (for each of her charges) why it exceeded my per-day maximum. But otherwise, this has been working OK. I’ll be traveling quite a bit (much more than usual) in the next two months, and my challenge will be submitting the expenses as soon as I get back because there will be another trip a few days later.

      4. Natalie*

        Ours are paid by the company, and an expense report has to be submitted within a specified time frame (90 days, IIRC). However, the card is in my boss’s name and would affect his credit if it went into default.

        1. De Minimis*

          At my workplace it’s pretty quick for things like travel, even when people don’t have a government charge card for travel [many choose not to due to the hassle factor.] Assuming everything is processed on time you usually will be reimbursed by the next payday at the latest.

          Travel seems to be the only thing that is reimbursed here, everything else either can’t be reimbursed or we just pay for it up front to begin with [professional licensing fees, continuing education, etc….]

      5. Book Person*

        My company pays all cards directly; we’re expected to submit receipts and an expense report before December 31 (yes, they’re laid-back). One only gets a company card after 6 months, however, so we’ve never to my knowledge had a problem.

      6. Case of the Mondays*

        My husband’s is the same way so he just uses his personal card. The work card is just a way of making sure everyone has access to credit but you are still personally on the hook to pay it on time no matter how long the reimbursement takes.

      7. jcsgo*

        Curious – do you know if each company did a credit check when signing you up for these credit cards? Did you have an option to opt-out if you didn’t want an additional credit card (especially if you’re on the hook to pay it)?

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          No credit check for the credit card per se but since the job involved security clearance presumably a credit check had already been run by the employer at some point. For my husband, one department gave him the option of opting out of the card. The other didn’t. The one that didn’t was because to get certain discount rates, that card would have to be used. If he wasn’t trying for a discount rate, he could use his own card for points.

  16. Ruth (UK)*

    2. I think it also depends on what sort of workplace / job type this is.

    In something like retail where turnover is often high anyway hiring is a continuous thing, it’s very useful to hire someone back after they left. They can start immediately with little or no training and even if they quit again 4 month later, well most new hires do anyway. I worked in fast food for a number of years and they’d always here 5 or 6 people in one go if they were intending to have 1 or 2 stay for a year or so, because so many quit so soon. A re-hire is actually less risk than a new hire, even if you think they won’t stay long.

    On the other hand, my store developed a policy where you could leave and then return (assuming you didn’t have performance issues etc) ONCE. If you’ve done it before, and quit, you can’t come back a second time. This was to prevent people quitting so they could have a holiday or time off. Despite this being the UK where we *technically* should have a certain amount of leave, we all worked on 0-hour contracts and while we technically accrued holiday, leave was never granted. This led to people ‘quitting’ and then asking for their job back say 2 or 3 weeks later. Hence the one-time-only return rule. (Also, even if it was your first time leaving, if they realised you had ‘quit’ for this reason, you still couldn’t return).

    Exceptions were people going away with a known return date for things like university. In which case since we all had 0-hour contracts anyway they’d simply not be scheduled shifts while they were away. But you had to have what they considered a ‘good’ reason for disappearing for a while and returning. Usually this was just university because it was handy to have additional student employees around at xmas/easter/summer.

  17. Lindsay J*

    For #4 I just have to share that when I was looking for my most recent job I was in the hiring process for a company I was very impressed with until they had me take the worst pre-employment test ever. It was a “personality risk assessment” test that involved ranking unlike things from “best to worst”.

    I swear the phrases they had me ranking sounded like (SFW) Cards Against Humanity Cards. One of the sets of words or phrases were (and I’m not making this up)

    A working refrigerator
    Correct grammar
    An incorrect answer
    An illegally parked car
    A television burned by lightning
    A father-in-law
    A person who tortures animals
    A person’s hatred for the truth
    A traffic jam
    A gift representing love
    A mother’s love for her child
    A person who loves to murder people
    A life saving medicine
    A dishonest person
    A speed limit sign
    A life without fun
    A person’s passion for justice
    A plan that works.

    There were five sets like this. I remember one phrase from another set was “a refrigerator with nothing in it”.

    I cannot imagine what this could possibly tell them about my personality or my ability to be a good worker. I regret not asking now.

    1. Lindsay J*

      I preferred the applications to temp agencies I applied to.

      One question on one of those assessments was:
      “Would you agree that people are less likely to bother you at work if they believed that you would hit them?”
      With the options of answering
      Yes, I strongly agree
      Yes, I agree
      No, I disagree

      1. Elysian*

        I have no idea what they’re even looking for there. Ummm, yes people would probably bother me less if they believed I would hit them. But am I going to hit them, or give off the appearance of being the kind of person who hits someone? No. So… I guess I agree with the statement (maybe strongly?), but disagree with indiscriminate hitting? Which do they actually want to know about? I hate these types of questions.

      2. jhhj*

        I . . . do agree? I mean, clearly, I’m not going to bother someone who I think would hit me if I did bother them. I feel this has to be the wrong answer.

      3. Helka*

        I’d disagree — because I’m pretty sure having people call the cops or getting fired for that bad of an attitude would be the biggest bother of all!

      4. Merry and Bright*

        I hate rigged questions like this. I mean, the first answer seems the most logical. But that doesn’t mean I would hit someone. WTF are you supposed to answer?

    2. UK Nerd*

      The only thing anyone would learn from me doing this is that my father-in-law is a terrible person.

      1. the gold digger*

        Yeah, I would be too distracted and would start telling Sly stories! “You want to know worst? LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY DRUNKEN, WEDDING-BOYCOTTING, HATING THE WAY I EAT BACON FATHER IN LAW!”

    3. jhhj*

      If you place “a refrigerator with nothing in it” highly, you will be forced to clean the office fridge.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Ah, but if I rank that first and I get assigned that duty, that means I will throw out everything in the break room fridge at 11am every day. ;D

    4. jmkenrick*

      I’m imagining a dark comedy in which a beleaguered HR manager has gone off the edge and forced applicants to participate in increasingly absurd assessments.

    5. OP#4*

      On the personality sets for this test, there were more than a few questions relating to punctuality, working hours and schedule flexibility – enough that I could obviously tell that SOMETHING about that was important to the employer. I answered honestly, all indicating that flexibility is really important to me and face time is not something I value for its own sake. So I can totally concede that there is useful info coming out of those sections, and they’re free to cheerfully pass on me if they need a butt in a seat more than a subject matter expert.

  18. Katie the Fed*

    #1 – Good for you! Seriously – how obnoxious is that? 45 minutes? You waited longer than I would have.

    1. the_scientist*

      Right? I’m sure this is not a good attitude to have, but honestly that would be a bridge that I’d be happy to see go up in flames (although I would have told the receptionist that I was leaving). The OP disrupted her moving plans to attend an interview, and then they kept her waiting for 45 minutes with no apology or explanation? Hell, I was pissed the time I waited 20 minutes for an interview to start- I could hear the committee laughing and chatting in the interview room while I sat outside and waited. The 12-page application is the icing on the terrible, stale cake in this story.

      1. Laurel Gray*

        I have convinced myself that not every employer or potential employer or people we meet in the networking grapevine are “bridges”. However I do like the “bridges” way of thinking as it keeps us remaining professional in situations where we may otherwise show our ass. I can’t imagine any professionals involved in the OP’s interview day shenanigans are people who will one day be on the other side of the table determining her livelihood.

        1. MK*

          That’s just wishful thinking though. It would be nice to believe that unprofessional people never prosper, but, well, sometimes that do.

      2. zora*

        I would still have told them I was leaving before I left, not because I would be worried about a bridge, but just because I would feel better about being the better/more-professional person. I would then be even more justified in judging them in my head.

  19. Rhiannon*

    My former company once took 8 months to reimburse me $1,000+ for a business trip. The last 4 months of those 8 were after I had quit and moved on to another company.

    I actually had to beg my former employer for the reimbursement because my new company was sending me on a business trip and I couldn’t afford it because my credit card was still carrying the balance of the previous trip. ._.

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      I am still waiting for a previous employer to repay me the $1200 they owe me in [un]reimbursed expenses. It’s been over 14 years, so I’m guessing it’s a write-off at this point.

  20. Elysian*

    #5 – I generally use a company card, but when something doesn’t take that brand of card, or doesn’t take card at all (like tips to hotel staff, for example) I end up waiting 6 months or so for reimbursement. It’s annoying, and by the time I get the reimbursement check, I can’t even remember what I’m getting reimbursed for.

    1. the gold digger*

      I have a company credit card, but I still have to pay the bills and submit an expense report. If I had to wait months (or even weeks) for reimbursement, I would be beyond livid. I should not have to float my employer.

      1. tesyaa*

        I have a company credit card, but I still have to pay the bills

        I am familiar with this policy, but I don’t understand the reason for it. Assuming I have my own credit card, what is the advantage of having a company card if I still have to pay the bills?

        This is the main reason I have put off getting a company credit card (plus the fact that I don’t incur a whole lot of expenses).

        1. the gold digger*

          With our system (and others I have used), anything charged to that card is automatically uploaded to our expense reporting system. When I complete my online expense report, I categorize each expense. (And have to upload a photo of the receipt, which annoys me – they have the CC charge!)

          I expect that finance uses the information to analyze expenses and assign them to projects, etc. That would be hard to do with a system where employees use their own cards.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            My company has the same – and has had it for over a decade. It works. Very well.

            We did have some problems with a previous, manual system. But, to be fair, smaller companies can’t afford that automation.

            Much easier. Once upon a time, around 10 of us were on a road trip and I was able to file the expense report – on the way home. The next day “Please complete the expenses for this before the end of the month. Thanks to Anon-2, who has already submitted his…”

            1. jcsgo*

              From another bookkeeper – “thanks to anon-2”, indeed! It makes our job much easier and more efficient!

          2. puddin*

            Yeah, I had that system at Old Job as well. Then they cut me a check which I used to pay the CC bill. I kept a separate checking account just for that deposit and bill pay separation.

          3. RH*

            My department does not have institution cards. I submitted my expenses for a recent conference trip and it was kicked back because what I ordered for dinner (oysters and 2 apps) wasn’t considered a meal. I had to use per diem, even though 2 meals were covered by the conf registration, costing the institution more money. Sigh.

        2. TootsNYC*

          At one company, they suggested you just use your personal card, and then they’d pay the $35/yr fee for having a card. (This was back when there was one.)

          And at my company now, I’ve decided I’m going to stop using my corporate AmEx and use one of my personal cards, so I can utilize the points I accrue on my personal card. W/ the AmEx, I get points, but I can’t really cash them in for anything that’s useful to me.

          From a bookkeeping point of view, I do find it useful that all work charges are on a single card. I’m going to look at my two credit cards and decide which of them will let me use the points more powerfully, to see if I can keep all my work charges there separately. (I tend to use the points to get gift cards for Christmas presents for my team.)

          1. ID10T Detector*

            I wish we had that option. We are required to use the corp AmEx. At OldJob, the one thing that made it bearable was the tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles I was able to accumulate by using my rewards card.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Exactly! I made this point earlier.

        Every company card I’ve ever had, I signed that I and I alone would be responsible for paying it off.

      3. LBK*

        Wait what? You are? That seems to defeat the whole purpose to me (ie that they should all be cards on one account that your company receives the bill for).

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I don’t even think my company offers corporate AmEx cards any more…well, they probably do, but I get 1.5% cash back on everything with my primary personal card, so I I’d much rather charge them to my card and then get reimbursed (< 2 weeks) for those travel expenses. Free money, you say? I'll take it!

      1. Elysian*

        Maybe this is why my company takes so long! They flat-out pay the corporate AmEx, so I’m never floating anything except what I have to pay for in cash or for places that don’t take AmEx. When that happens it is floating for Months and Months. It takes for ever. So I would much rather use the corporate card and never see the bill than float it for 6 months or more on my personal card, even if I get easier access to the points on my personal card.

    3. Mabel*

      My company is trying to save money wherever it can, so while I used to have to just tell my manager that the client wanted me to travel, now I have to get it approved – and this is for travel that will be completely reimbursed by the client. I guess other people were traveling indiscriminately…? They also questioned my tips for hotel staff (usually under $10), so now I just report that as meal expenses with a lost receipt. (I wouldn’t be tipping hotel housekeepers if I wasn’t traveling for work, so I don’t see how that isn’t a reimbursable expense.)

  21. Anon Accountant*

    #3- Please speak up! At a nonprofit in our city an accountant was fired for stealing funds. They fired him and never pressed charges. He was hired at another nonprofit and this time it was the employees soda fund cash that went missing. The HR person may never do it again but please speak up and let management take it from there.

    1. fposte*

      That’s sort of funny, though–the accountant was embezzling, doing filmworthy money-shifting tricks with his access to the books! What was his followup crime? A handful of soda cash.

      1. happy lurker*

        This reminds me (on the heels of yesterday’s coffee discussion) about my former gov’t office. The entire coffee fund was stolen by a very shady admin. It took months and months and PIPs to fire her. Her attendance was so bad they had to wait a number of days (weeks maybe?) to fire her because she would just not show up.

        1. Job-Hunt Newbie*

          I hope she wasn’t still on payroll during that time. Don’t they know a little thing called “job abandonment”, and NCNS? They didn’t have to wait for her to come in to fire her!

          1. Happy Lurker*

            I remember thinking the same thing, but I was not privy to her details. Just happy when she left and the coffee money didn’t go missing anymore.

      2. Anon Accountant*

        He began by running his utility bills and other personal expenses through the nonprofit. They hired a new controller who began reviewing the books more closely. Soon after he was fired.

        The next organization had good oversight and he couldn’t run his bills through the organization. And he resorted to stealing the soda funds.

  22. Not an IT Guy*

    #5 – I once had to wait three years before I was reimbursed for expenses. My manager at the time routinely ignored my emails so he either never saw my expense report or just didn’t care to do anything about it, and since I was expected to keep my mouth shut about any work issues I was having I couldn’t do anything about it. Well fast forward three years, and a senior co-worker found out I was incurring expenses without reimbursement and I told him it’s pointless when you don’t get paid back in the first place and I needed to keep our location running. He ended up talking with my new manager (the original one had left by this point) and helped push through reimbursement.

  23. Jen RO*

    #2 – My company encourages people who left to return… as long as they are actually valuable. I was welcomed back and I didn’t sense any bad feelings from my boss or my coworkers (I even negotiated myself a promotion!). Actually, everyone is happily taking advantage of my knowledge :)

    For the record, I didn’t leave for money (though I did get a raise when I left, of course), but because of things like the negativity on the team, bad planning on the company level, and boss’s decisions I didn’t agree with. When I left, I managed to honestly thank my boss for some things he had done (and omit the things I was angry about), I worked my ass off until my last day, and I kept in touch with (and helped) my former coworkers. Because I was in daily contact with my former team lead, I was able to learn of positive changes in the company which coincided with my new job going to hell. Said team lead, who thought very highly of me, basically negotiated my return and I only had to show up for an hour to iron out some details with the big boss.

    On the other hand, some former members of the team, who also left voluntarily, would not be welcome back due to their work ethic (both things we witnessed while they were employed and things that came up after they left).

  24. ArtsGirl*

    I am actually a rehire at a company I used to work for. I had actually written to Allison a few years ago asking for advice on working part time and she suggested reaching out to my network and I ended up getting rehired into my former position. They needed someone who could step in immediately and who already knew the products. It’s been beneficial on both ends but it was “easy” because they already trusted my work and didn’t hold it against me that I had left to try something new.

  25. The Other Dawn*

    4. Psychometric tests in hiring

    The answer is “purple.” Seriously, I totally tuned out as soon as I read, “There are 7 airports…” Wonder how many applicants this employer has lost because of this test?

  26. illini02*

    #2 I actually disagree a bit. I mean, its hard to say for sure one way or the other. However, leaving for more money is hardly a huge sin here. Also, there may have been other issues that you didn’t know about that led to this. Sometimes opportunities come along that are just too good to pass up. It didn’t sound like this person left on bad terms. Also, “issues with management” is so vague that its hard to say whether that should be a barrier to re-entry. Some issues that employees have with management are very valid. I don’t think we should look at that to mean they are a problem employee. I’m not saying definitely hire this person, but from what you wrote, its hard to say absolutely not.

    #3 This is a rare time I agree about bringing up their past, mainly because someone directly connected with that past issue is working there, so its not hearsay.

  27. KittenLittle*

    #3 – My workplace has inmates handling employee files. This has been happening for years, and our HR person is still here!

  28. some2*

    For #5, I’d just like to point out that in academia, a three-to-six month wait for reimbursement is entirely common and actually expected. Company credit cards are pretty much unheard of for faculty, so yes, you’re expected to front that money and wait for months to get it back. This is only one of many things that sucks about working in academia, but if you went to your boss expecting to be reimbursed sooner than a few months, you would look wildly out of line.

  29. Anonymusketeer*

    I work in marketing (in-house, not agency) and my company is big on psychometric testing. For a job that is mostly writing, they asked me to take the WONDERLIC on site, with a bunch of math and logic questions, and I think maybe some vocabulary/word usage stuff. Then they sent me home with instructions to take another test that had more to do with attitudes and work styles where some answers were clearly better and others were a matter of opinion but there was no “right” answer.

    To their credit, the managers in the second interview explained that the second test helped them screen for cultural fit and it was more of a company thing than specific to the position.

    If you ask me, they lean on psychometrics a little too heavily, especially for professional jobs that require some fairly specific skills and knowledge.

    1. De Minimis*

      I went to a recruiting agency once where the client wanted all potential applicants to take the WONDERLIC. I thought I did pretty well but not well enough apparently.

  30. Ad Astra*

    My issue with psychometric testing (and drug screening) is that it’s expensive and often tells you nothing about how this person will perform in this position. The fact that someone can recognize patterns in numbers gives you zero insight about how an applicant will handle irate customers. The fact that someone smoked pot on the weekend and failed a drug screen doesn’t tell you this applicant will show up to work high. And the fact that someone passed a drug screen doesn’t tell you this applicant *won’t* show up to work drunk. So why are you spending thousands on these processes?

  31. Cheesecake*

    OP #4, If it is a little personality questionnaire – ok. Real psychometrics with mixed questions that takes 45 mins? Why or why would you ask this BEFORE initial interview? Dealing with real psychometrics involves evaluating test results as there are no bad answers and it takes time to do for one person, let alone a pool of 100. If they set it up as some sort of filter – they don’t know much about psychometrics. Plus there is always a risk that someone else filled this in instead of the candidate. Just a waste of everyone’s time

  32. simonthegrey*

    Also, it seems to me that psychometric tests could be discriminatory. If you can only use public access computers to take the test, and your library limits internet usage to half an hour (which was the case at the library in the city I previously lived in) you could easily be kicked out of the test beforehand. Likewise, for someone with test taking anxiety (probably 75% of the population of students I work with) or a learning disability, these tests either force a disclosure that is inclement to the individual or they force the person to do poorly. I actually could not get through reading that question and seeing it on a test for a job to which I was not highly invested would simply urge me to close out of the browser and tear up my application. I’m intelligent, I have a solid track record in my field, and I have a complete inability to work logic puzzles. I’m not wasting my time on that.

  33. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #2 – why did the person leave in the first place?
    Assuming the person was a good/great employee?

    Did he/she leave owing to a family move or circumstance? And that changed?
    Did he leave because something was broken (bad manager who is now gone, toxicity?) ?

    Or just got fed up and left, or left over money?

    Even when someone leaves over money – the “recycling” often fixes things — management can’t give a current employee a raise, because it would “lose face”, “inmates running asylum”, etc. but if he comes back as a “new hire” then they can make a fair offer.

    Odd things happen – so re-hiring is a case-by-case basis.

    I noted that one place I worked had two very pig-headed policies –

    1) they would only give promotions and serious salary adjustments as counter-offers. They lost a lot of good people through that. Ask any baseball GM about daring your best employees to test their market value. Ask ’em what happens.

    2) if someone came in to interview for a position and was rejected, and came back several months later to interview for ANOTHER position – which may have been a good fit – they would not hire him/her. They worked a “one strike and you’re blackballed here” … weird.

  34. Carrie in Scotland*

    re #4: I would most likely flunk the test; my brain just doesn’t work in that way. It was the same in maths in school where you would get the stories of the problem e.g. train x leaves station at this time and speed and train y would leave this other station at this time and this speed – when do they meet each other? To me and my brain, that is not a maths problem.
    Just because I can’t do the test, doesn’t mean I couldn’t do the job.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Your last sentence–EXACTLY. Especially if the test has nothing to do with the actual job.

      Exjob had one it administered to potential warehouse employees, but it was practical maths, stuff they would actually be using. They were not allowed to take the test outside of the building–they had to take it right there either when they came in to fill out an app, or before their interview. Because they were building stuff, we needed to know if they could measure and do those types of calculations.

      What annoys me is when companies do a skills test like this one for every potential employee, not just the ones who would be using those specific skills. If I had had to take the test, I would have flunked and not gotten the job because of my dyscalculia. I never once had to use any of that at the reception desk!

    2. Us, Too*

      In fairness, there are many jobs that being unable to correctly get the answer to this logic puzzle in a couple minutes would likely mean you couldn’t perform the job well.

      1. fposte*

        I think those kind of jobs aren’t giving people logic tests, though; they’re verifying your engineering degree.

        1. Us, Too*

          The ability to solve a simple word-based logic problem applies to all kinds of jobs, not just engineering, so I don’t see an issue with this kind of test for some jobs. For example, I think this would be an EXCELLENT logic test for an associate level project manager who has to routinely deal with simple dependencies and task durations.

          Based on the only question the OP showed in the image, I actually wouldn’t give this logic test to an engineer. I’d give a more advanced one that utilized their specialization. e.g. For electrical engineers, construct a circuit using these components that does x.

          1. fposte*

            But that’s not what a project manager has to do. It might end up correlating with what a project manager does, but that’s pure guesswork.

            Most tests really suck at substituting for the actual skills needed, and as a result they’re an inefficiency as well as a turnoff for many good candidates. Test on the actual skills or let it go. If you want to know how somebody books flights, have ’em do a run through Expedia, but otherwise let the notion go.

  35. Graciosa*

    What I find frustrating is the same test being used company wide for all positions. In the first place, if you’re smart you’re generally not hiring the same type of person for a finance role as you would for sales, engineering, or customer service. And I said “generally” because every function needs someone who can translate for the other functions – meaning someone in engineering has to be able to present to management.

    So only hiring a string of carbon copies of the successful person in X function for that function is a stupid strategy. When you compound the problem by hiring only type [whatever] for the whole company, this is mind-boggling.

    This reminds me of a situation where an intelligence test was used to disqualify an applicant to the New London, Connecticut police department. He tested as having an IQ of around 125, and the department refused to hire anyone too intelligent on the grounds that they were likely to be bored on the job.

    I wish I was making that up.

    I’m amazed to read in the comments how often people have encountered this kind of pre-hire – or even pre-interview testing. I haven’t decided if this is better or worse than stupid electronic application systems, but I think they’re duking it out for second place in the poor-hiring-practices stakes (first place was taken by the team that had to cook a dinner and provide entertainment).

    1. Cheesecake*

      I would backup psychometrics though, if done right for some key positions it gives valuable insights into personality. But yes, doing it for all positions or as a way to pre-screen candidates seems utterly silly to me.

    2. Elsajeni*

      Yes, that’s exactly it. The question in the screenshot is probably a decent screening tool for a role where you’ll have to deal with lots of information coming at you fast and be able to quickly figure out what’s important and make a decision based on it — someone upthread said that they use this test in a healthcare org, and I can see that skill being important in some healthcare jobs, for sure! But it’s a problem if you’re using the same test for everyone, so people who apply to be gift shop cashiers have to answer this question and people who apply to be triage nurses have to answer questions about whether they’d report a coworker stealing from the cash register.

  36. some1*

    #3 Am I the only one wondering how a property manager had the qualifications for an HR Manager without the firing part? Those are pretty different roles.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      I went back and re-read and it didn’t say the HR manager had a property manager title in the previous role although I was thinking similarly. I’ve never heard of a property management company where HR professionals speak to tenants about ANYTHING let alone who to make their rent payment out to! My guess is that for the current position at OP’s workplace she did a great job in her resume/cover letter/interview transferring her skills, albeit she is an unethical person.

      1. some1*

        Yeah, I know it doesn’t specifically say she was a property manager, but that seems to be the title (or leasing manager) of everyone I have dealt with in a rental office when discussing rent payment. I have no idea who works in HR for my rental company.

    2. Zillah*

      I read that as the HR manager was working both jobs simultaneously, likely not in an HR capacity for the building.

      1. Zillah*

        Actually, yeah – the OP confirms that the manager was indeed working both jobs simultaneously.

    3. HRIntegrity*

      Our current HR manager worked for a grocery chain as an HR person at one time. There is HR experience there. The federal housing complex job was in addition to her duties with our company.

  37. regina phalange*

    #2 -I work for a fairly large company and our policy is that you are eligible for re-hire as long as you leave in good standing. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen a couple people re-hired. But of course it does depend on the work they produce. It looks like you don’t think their work quality is good enough, in which case I would advise against it.

  38. Anon for this*

    My husband had a day-long set of psychological exams before receiving the offer for his current position (this was after having interned there over the summer). It’s a mid-level role, but in a leadership program that is intended to spit out its “graduates” into senior management in two years. Intense.

  39. Testing*

    Just throwing my experiences into the mix: The absolute worst was being interviewed at a tech-head (for lack of a better expression) place for an entry level admin job, & being given the same math/logic test the tech people got. Huh? What? No. I read some bad advice online about never checking “I don’t know” on those tests. Needless to say, I never got a call back. If they’d tested my verbal skills, we all would’ve been happier. Just because I don’t remember algebra doesn’t mean I can’t type your letter.

    Once I applied to a small business/retail job where you had to take the Myers-Briggs test online & send it with your application & a specialized cover letter responding to a corny prompt. I played along because I needed a job. The owner calls me, saying “I’m the owner, I don’t usually call people” on repeat the entire time. It was also an on-the-spot phone interview with “this or that” answers, which also felt like a test. Now that I know the phrase, “Ain’t no crazy like small business crazy.”, I feel much better about it, because you do start to wonder after a while.

  40. I/O PhD*

    I am a long time lurker and feel compelled to respond to the OP#4 discussion. In my role I have both designed those assessment tests and managed them in corporate settings. I sympathize with the stress that they can bring to the interviewing process. The intent of the tests is to streamline the interviewing process and to ensure a good fit between the applicant and the role being considered. Turnover is hugely expensive and disruptive to any organization – retail and restaurant orgs can often have 100-150% turnover every year. Assessments are scientifically proven to help improve job fit and therefore decrease turnover – it is a huge win and cost savings for the organization. It can also help ensure that the new employee is well-suited for the role. This is an area that has important legal components and the tests must meet certain scientific criteria that can be defended in court.
    With that said – there are many companies who use assessment tests and do it poorly. For example, someone mentioned using DISC for hiring – that is not a validated test and should not be used for that purpose.
    When done right and thoughtfully, assessment tests can benefit the company and the potential employee. I would not recommend asking about the test during your interview. The person you are talking with probably does not have any control over the tests and will likely see you as being high-maintenance. BTW – leaving an interview without even notifying the receptionist shows poor judgment.

    1. Elysian*

      Can you elaborate on why you feel these tests are helpful or useful in hiring? I have always found them to be overly onerous for the types of jobs for which they are used (usually lower paying, hourly, “unskilled” positions in my experience), and I have never felt like they accurately measure my personality – for example, if I am asked a question and given 4 choices, I usually end up choosing the best one for me, but it is not the one I would write for myself (and so doesn’t accurately describe my feelings on the issue). What benefits do you find a lengthy personality test to have over, for example, an in-person interview? How do you find that such a personality test “ensure[s] that the new employee is well-suited for the role” of, for example, cashier (since that is where I’ve taken these types of tests)?

      1. fposte*

        And how do you differentiate the value of test content vs. the more committed nature of anybody who’ll finish such a test?

      2. VintageLydia USA*

        In addition, I know many people with dyslexia and discalcula and similar learning disorders that would flunk these tests but still would decent to good cashiers, stockers, and servers. What about waerhouse jobs where knowing English isn’t required but these tests, which are only administered in English, is (like noted above?)
        Those jobs have high turn over by design. I’m not sure how a personality test that doesn’t even really gauge what people actually do in certain situations (like Elysian points out) and are fairly easy to cheat (as noted by those above) would prevent the turnover.

      3. Anon for this response*

        I’m a different poster than the one you are posing the question to but here is one thought. The place I work has been having a hard time recruiting skilled and resourceful administrative staff. The last few batches of hires want to do as little work as possible, hate learning new things, never go above and beyond, melt down if a task is too long and has multi-parts. Someone who was willing to try to get through one of these tests is likely someone who would be willing to try new things, willing to do hard work, could handle long assignments, etc.

        I’m not that old but I feel like yelling “get off my lawn” as I complain about the decline in work ethic.

        While speaking with one older male managerial member, he noted that part of the issue is our improved gender equality (noting it as a good thing, not a bad thing). The pool of really good legal assistants and paralegals (mostly female) are now going to law school and working as lawyers. What’s left is the less ambitious of the bunch or people that just want a job and not a career or just want to work for a couple of years. Same in the medical field. There is a nursing shortage because smart, talented women are now doctors or PAs or NPs they don’t have to be “just” nurses. (With no offense of course to support staff and nurses, just that these were predominately female positions with low to no upward mobility.)

        1. Panda Bandit*

          I disagree that being able to finish the test is a sign that someone is willing to do hard work or can handle long assignments. The test is an hour or two of effort and not a good indicator of either one.

          1. zora*

            also, I am more willing to work hard when you are paying me for my time, that’s the deal we have as employee/employer, rather than spend extra time when I’m not on your payroll yet just to jump through hoops. You are comparing apples and oranges.

        2. VintageLydia USA*

          There is a nursing “shortage” because the pay and hours are absolutely abysmal, at least in the first few years, while increasing the actual work a nurse does. A lot of the low level stuff (that justified the lower relative salaries) are now down by CNAs who are paid even less. My MIL is a nurse and she’s just biding time until she can retire because the industry has changed so much, and for the worse.

          I’ll also point out, at least here in DC, it’s almost impossible to find reception work that pays more than $8-10 an hour that doesn’t require a college degree PLUS 2-5 years experience. Not higher level/executive administration, but answering phones and taking messages and whatever few tasks can be thrown at someone who cannot leave his or her desk all day. Generally people with (EXPENSIVE!) college degree wouldn’t be thrilled to work for such low pay/low prestige 5 years into their career. Most at that level are looking for at least a small promotion or to move out of administration entirely. And the ones that don’t, well, you get what you pay for.

          1. the_scientist*

            Seriously, employers now have champagne tastes on beer budgets. You can’t ask for the moon (college-educated), the sun (2-5 years experience) and the stars (24/7 availability) for minimum wage, which no one can live off of. Pay people what they are actually worth, and you won’t have issues with work ethic.

            1. Zillah*

              Yep. People who don’t feel they’re being treated well aren’t going to be happy workers with great work ethic who go above and beyond. This should be a surprise to literally no one.

            2. Check*

              I’m having trouble with this now. I’m a little above what would’ve been entry level several years ago- but now entry level is demanding a laundry list of skills/experience/24/7 availability. How about some skills and an 8 hour day? Bueller?

              I also agree with what was said about the effect this has on morale. In my opinion, someone stellar agreeing to these terms would be smart enough to use the job as a stepping stone, and then the employer has to search all over again.

        3. Elysian*

          I see what you mean, but it sounds like in this case it isn’t the test itself that helps, but having an arduous application process – put simply, lazy people won’t try if you make the application process hard enough. I feel, though, like that is disrespectful of the applicant’s time. I would guess that you’re missing out on great applicants who look at your application process and think “If this is what it takes to get in the door, I definitely don’t want to work there. How hard will it be to get days off approved/get paid/talk to my boss about a problem/etc?” I feel like you could find a better way to look for dedicated employees that relates more to the job itself, and less to whether or not they’re willing to jump through hoops just to meet you.

          1. VintageLydia USA*

            Is it just me or can’t a lot of these questions be answered with good reference checks and good skills tests like the ones Alison already recommends? Reliability, level/lack of laziness, ability to understand complex requests… You won’t catch every bad egg, but you can’t replace bad hiring practices with a shoddy, long, and confusing test and call it done.

            1. fposte*

              I think there’s a hope that a standardized test would minimize the hiring time. It’s like people thinking video resumes would be quicker than phone screens.

              I think they’re almost always wrong, but they get dazzled by the hype around these things. And before I ask my candidates to do something that takes a lot of time, I want to be pretty sure it’s necessary. I don’t think this is human labor well spent.

        4. Anon too*

          Anon for this – I am feeling much the same when you say “I’m not that old but I feel like yelling “get off my lawn” as I complain about the decline in work ethic.”
          I think you make excellent points in regards to the non-ambitious pool of workers left. It sometimes feels hard to find the diamond in the rough. Especially, when you throw in blue collar workers into the mix.

          1. Editor*

            I don’t think the comments about the work ethic of younger workers are fair. I am not a young worker — I’m in my 60s — and I don’t see the slacking off you’re complaining about. The last time I had to wait a long time for a retail worker to talk to me, the talker (and business owner) and the chatty customer were guys in their 50s who simply ignored me (because each one thought I was the other one’s wife…).

            We have interns at my office, and they seem to be diligent and focused on work. I’ve been dealing with building trades people recently, and the only person I had a problem with was a guy my age who was late or a no-show for appointments with me, even though he’s head of his department at the mechanical contracting company where he works. An appliance salesman I dealt with wanted to sell, but didn’t want to explain — then I found a woman who actually used that type of appliance and I bought from her.

            The bureaucrat who drove me to exasperation was a guy around my age. One of his staff members (she actually got the work done and was very efficient) — was a millennial.

            Whether at work, when I’m out shopping or eating out, when I’m dealing with people at other companies our business deals with, or when I’m dealing with settling an estate, the only problems I’ve had have come from less-than-diligent men close to my age. But I regularly deal with diligent men who are various ages, so I don’t think the problem is generational. Clearly, YMMV, particularly in the case described by “Anon for this response,” but perhaps the job pool or the working conditions that Anon deals with lead to a different type of applicant.

    2. WannabeManager*

      And honestly, turnover sucks but my thinking on it has changed over the years after hearing a presentation from a former commander of a Navy ship. He pointed out that nuclear subs are operated at extreme efficiency in spite of high turnover.

      Just something to think about.

    3. OP#4*

      I don’t like it (see above re: personal hell) but I can see your point. However, this was not during the interview process – this was an automated email received on a Sunday afternoon after filling out an online application. There is no way in that time that anyone looked at my actual resume, thought “hmm, maybe” about my potential for this particular job, and clicked a button to push me into the next stage. If it were a request after a phone screen, or even a first interview, as some of the other posters have described? Maybe. But I don’t see how this provides any value for an employer for this type of role, and that’s one of the things I’d like to know about if I were to actually get an interview.

    4. Cheesecake*

      When we are talking about filling very specific or senior positions – yes, i do agree with you on psychometrics. It is actually very helpful.You can’t however do proper psychometrics for every single job – it is not necessary (not to mention it is not exactly cheap)

      I am not sure though why you advise to not bring up the test. OP wasted 45 mins of his life on it. We always give insights to the candidates. If candidate does not ask it is a big red flag. Having said that, we don’t do psychometrics before interview, this is just stupid.

    5. Observer*

      Assessments are scientifically proven to help improve job fit and therefore decrease turnover – it is a huge win and cost savings for the organization.

      No. SOME assessment help improve job fit for SOME jobs. And, even the ones that work for the intended positions, may also have “false negative” (ie weed out applicants who might be a good fit, despite the results of the test.) Any time you see the SAME assessment used for ALL jobs in an organization, you are seeing an assessment situation that simply CANNOT accomplish the goal of improving fit – and will also almost certainly have a high false negative rate. This is true because even within one company, what makes for a good fit is different for different types of positions.

      This is an area that has important legal components and the tests must meet certain scientific criteria that can be defended in court.

      That’s a red herring. Under normal circumstances there are two situations that can cause a test’s validity to be questioned in court. Absent those situations, you could be using “eeny meeny miny moe” and it would still not be something that any court would look at. Firstly, if there is a contract or specific regulation in play (eg a union contract or a regulation that applicants for a job must meet a very specific set of criteria that you cannot expand or reduce.) The other is if there are disparate results for different groups, at least one of which is a protected class. So, if your test tends to week out blacks, you could wind up in court defending the validity of the test. If your test winds up weeding out red-heads, smart people, people with lots of options or people who don’t do well with the type of test you designed, you’ll never see it in court.

      1. VintageLydia USA*

        And I absolutely DO see this test (as represented by the example from the OP) as something that can weed out certain disabilities. Ones that may not effect the job or can be easily accommodated, but not without revealing the disability before the applicant is comfortable doing so (which is at application for these types of jobs.)

        1. Observer*

          Yes, so I can I. But, to get it into court you are going to have to find some way to prove that AND have someone with standing to sue over it. All things considered, I highly doubt that it’s likely to happen unless you get an organization with fairly deep pockets who decides to go after it.

    6. penelope pitstop*

      “…leaving an interview without even notifying the receptionist shows poor judgment…”.

      I’m not the OP, but respectfully disagree.

      In some circumstances, deciding to forgo a scheduled interview would absolutely require notification as a professional courtesy. In the circumstances described, it would have been considerate, but hardly rises to a level of obligation. Having that conversation with the receptionist may or may not have been worth the breath. Who can say? Some might have handled it differently, but not everything has to be ascribed to character or “poor judgment.”

    7. zora*

      I was going to ask something else, but then I saw your second-to-last sentence: WHY is asking about the test and what they use it for going to make the person seem high-maintenance?!??!?! They are trying to be an informed candidate and future employee and understand your process and thinking! That is really obnoxious of you to ding someone for asking questions and attempting to have a substantive dialogue with you.

  41. Workfromhome*

    #5 is ridiculous unless you are a contractor and signed a contract that explicitly sets terms at 6 months for reimbursement. I don’t know why anyone would agree to that but just throwing that out.

    Otherwise I would certainly push back against this. If you are required to incur expenses then they need to reimburse you in a timely manner (30 days) or do one of 3 things:
    1. Provide an advance -say if your expenses will be around $1500 for the week they give you a check for $1500 in advance.If you submit $1600 in expense they pay you out the additional $100. If you submit $1400 you owe them $100.
    2.Provide a company credit card so you don’t carry the burden.
    3. Reimburse you for any carrying costs incurred by their slow payment. They need to pay the interest charges on your credit card or other method of floating them the money.

    We had a pretty major blow up over this at our company when they switched expense systems. We were told we couldn’t submit expenses until the systems were changed over. There were some people who needed to carry 1000s of $ for over 2 months. Some people refused to travel, some refused without a travel advance.Others tried to get back the interest they incurred and found so many barriers they resorted to “alternate” methods to recoup the costs because the company refused to cooperate.

    1. penelope pitstop*

      Writing in #5 empathy because I once worked for a company who did away with corporate cards for anyone under a SVP level. No exceptions and no advances, even for those for whom business travel was part of the role. Simultaneously, they issued these edicts:
      – All travel had to be booked a minimum of 3 weeks in advance to take advantage of savings, otherwise a 3 page “exception” form had to be completed, approved and signed off on.
      – Reimbursement within 2-3 pay periods of travel, not of booking. (For someone paid biweekly, it effectively required going 4-5 pay periods before a reimbursement check.)
      -Reimbursement was added to the normal check amount rather than a separate check issued and more often than not, it ended up being miscoded by payroll and taxed.
      – Late fees and interest were never to be reimbursed, even if a direct result of a company error.
      – Refusing to travel would result in HR “coaching.”

      I totally understand the pursuit of alternate options to be reimbursed completely. Policies like these are clearly thought up by mental munchkins and their pet flying monkeys.

      1. The Truth*

        Unreasonable policies like this are what leads to “creative” use of expense reporting. If a company forces you to incur $25 in interest because they don’t pay your expenses for 2 months (yet refuse to pay the interest charges) maybe 5 mileage claims that should have been 20$ each suddenly become $25 each.

        Most people want to be honest but people will find a way to be reimbursed for expenses by manipulating the system if you push them far enough. Its wrong to “profit” from expenses by filing false claims but IMO its just as wrong to make people pay out of pocket to line the company profit margin by using unfair expense practices.

  42. voyager1*

    I thought personality tests were illegal to use for hiring if the test is used to determine the hiring?

      1. fposte*

        I can’t find a law, but looks like the EEOC last year was investigating a well-publicized complaint that such tests were discriminatory–maybe that’s what voyager1 is remembering?

    1. Former Cable Rep*

      You may be thinking of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory which can be used as a diagnostic tool to detect various psychological disabilities. The law does regulate the use of the MMPI, but not unscientific personality tests like Myers-Briggs, or other “integrity” tests, which are not clinical diagnostic tools and are not intended to reveal any particular medical conditions. Under very specific circumstances the MMPI can be used to evaluate psychological fitness for duty. I’d link articles but I don’t want to get lost in the moderation queue.

  43. Bonnie*

    #2 – we tend to hire a lot of new graduates without a good deal of work experience. We notice that about half of the ones who leave then find that the grass is not greener on the other side and ask to come back. I have found that those we thought were average the first time tend to leave again within the year but those we thought were good or great become long-term employees and valuable contributors the second time around.

  44. Observer*

    #1 I was sympathetic till you made it clear that you never bothered to let anyone know you had decided to leave. That was just rude, and totally uncalled for. It also could easily have put someone who didn’t deserve it in a bad position.

    I’m not so sure you can make definite judgements about a job just by the hiring process. However, this was bad enough that I can understand why you decided that it’s just too much of a risk. But not telling anyone? You obviously have a working cell phone. Calling to say “As I got to my car I realized that I am no longer interested in the position. Please let the interviewer know when she’s ready for me.” is just so basic and so easy to do, that not doing it sounds really, really childish.

    1. Merry and Bright*

      You can probably judge quite a lot by this hiring process though, and what else is there to go on? Plus, the company’s rudeness all round was much worse than the OP’s. Admittedly, the OP could have said something as Alison suggested – and been more professional than they were – but we are all human.

      1. Observer*

        As others have noted, really bad hiring processes are not necessarily a definite sign of a dysfunctional organization. On the other hand, I really do understand why someone might not be interested in finding out. I really don’t have any issue with the decision to walk out. I don’t think it shows that the OP is “high maintenance” or anything like that. And, if that were the entire question, I wouldn’t have responded. The worst thing that someone could say is that it was a snap judgement based on less than complete information. But, the OP did have some good information to go on. And, if she decided that it was enough, then I agree that there is no point in wasting everyone’s time with going through the interview.

        But that doesn’t justify being rude in return. It’s not like it was the only way to get out, or to get out of the interview. In addition, there is a significant chance that the receptionist was not to blame in any of this, but still got flack for it. I’m not expecting anyone to go to great length to deal with this, but a quick call is really basic.

  45. Brandy*

    At one job, a guy left and came back 3 times. You get to the point were you quit participating in going away parties and gifts.

  46. Anx*


    I have a lot of feelings about pyschometric testing, but mostly because I’m bitter about having to take so many.

    I have an Undesirable Personality, but I still have bills and rent and need to eat. When more and more companies in a town default to those tests, fewer personality types are able to find employment in those industries. I know I’m not an ideal retail candidate, but I’ve had extremely crappy customer service by people who are passing those tests (and it takes a lot for me to care about sub-par service). I’m too earnest, too introspective, and prone to analysis paralysis, but I also have built a reputation for correcting my mistakes quickly, resolving conflicts, keeping my composure in stressful situations, and being quite friendly, if a little quiet and sometimes awkward or rambly.

    During a long bout of unemployment, I saw a mental health provider. Several of the psychometric questions were eerily similar to my session intake forms.

    I feel pretty unintelligent, too, because everyone says it’s so easy to figure out what they are looking for. I took them honestly and earnestly for a long time, but then I began to fold. So I tried to figure out what they wanted to hear, and I still failed.

    It wasn’t until I tried to completely shed my personality at all that I passed a few. I spent a few days getting in character, trying to become a bit more shallow and two-dimensional. It also helped to hear from people that consistency matters to many tests more than discrimination between two similar but different questions.

    1. OP#4*

      My sympathies, Anx. I don’t find them “obvious” at all either, nor as easy to approach as some of the puzzle-masters here. The whole week after this experience I didn’t apply for any jobs at all, for fear I’d encounter more psychometrics. It was genuinely traumatic, albeit on a small scale, and I really did have some minor PTSD symptoms. Thankfully I’ve since been called for at least one other interview (we are moving several states away) but I was really feeling pessimistic about my prospects for awhile.

    2. Anx*

      (I mentioned twice in this comment section that I had to adopt a more vapid personality, but I don’t mean to suggest that anyone that does well on these doesn’t have a good personality… just that that’s what it takes for me to pass–mostly because I have to stop thinking so much)

  47. Cassie*

    #2 – we’re facing this question right now, where a former employee has applied for her old job (it’s been about 5 years since she left). I wouldn’t blackball her just because she left our dept but I’d like to hear her reasoning for wanting to coming back. If there was something that she didn’t like before, has something changed?

    #4 – our county government now has exam questions like this on the civil service exam. The job posting points directly to the sample questions online and it turned out that the easiest practice question was the only one on the exam. They did have the personality-type questions, such as do you prefer to work in groups or alone, etc. I don’t think that part gets scored, per se – maybe it’s just a “good-to-know” type thing?

    #5 – our institution (per IRS rules? university rules?) requires reimbursements to be submitted within 45 days of travel. And the accounting dept has certain service standards (I think it’s like 5-10 day turnaround). So theoretically speaking, employees should get their money within 2 months. The biggest hold-ups are travelers not submitting everything (a receipt missing, unexplained expense, etc) or staff not processing the requests. Not the accounting dept, but the staff typing in the requests.

  48. Buttonhole*

    Re #1: I once interviewed and the interviewer was late. The interview itself also had to be rescheduled about three times. I was offered the job, and because I thought it was a really good opportunity that I would not have received at my previous job, I accepted. Big mistake. My biggest regret. First, the lateness was a red flag I ignored at my peril, because my 3-month probation review occurred….three months late after being rescheduled several times just like my interview. Should have listened to my gut instinct. I didn’t stay a year.

    RE #3: At the SAME place as above, our subcontractors waited 6 months for payment. This was at a big engineering company, very well-known. I didn’t feel comfortable about the finances of our division, because either paying subcontractors was due to admin errors (wasn’t, we checked) or cash flow issues. One of the key reasons why I left (and was right move because now there’s been redundancies).

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