Inhuman Responses: Why Does a Computer Decide My Life?

One time I applied for a job at my friends Blockbuster store here in Illinois. He called me back later that day "What did you do? I can't touch you with a 10 foot pole, the PC gave you a horrible rating." Sadly I had expected this. When filling out the application for Blockbuster I had met a familiar site, a series of muddy confusing and downright dumb questions telling me to categorize myself with such questions as "It's maddening when the courts lets guilty criminals go free: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree"

There's a few problems I see with this, namely the question assumes that my opinion is that the criminal is guilty before being judged by a group of their peers when that is exactly the type of thinking our court system tries to avoid, it's innocent until proven guilty after all. I've been told that I think too much on these answers and I should just mow thru using only the Strongly Disagree and Strongly Agree options and answer based on gut feeling. Is that what American companies really want? They want a bunch of people who don't think and just fit into a comfortable flock of sheep (wow, sound like religious recruiters to me).

When someone applies for my department at one of the companies I work at I don't ask them for their thoughts on anything other than the job at hand. Usually I ask what their favorite videogames are, take a look at their previous work and chat with them for about a half hour to just get to know them. The fact that retail America sees a need to sort people by their willingness to just be mindless sheep even before they are interviewed by a human worries me. I should not here that I do not think all people working retail are mindless sheep, but I do know that corporate wants them to be.

The reliance on computer sorting potential applicants based on a series of muddy two-way questions has held myself, many people I know from getting jobs in retail and such as second jobs. However, recently I did pass a test and knew the manager of the store I applied at. He was able to give me my score as a '72' and this was the first time I just flew thru because I was rushed and I pretty randomly selected my answers.

The main problem is the majority of large companies out there use this system. Many companies including Best Buy, Walmart, Blockbuster, and Hollywood video use these personality tests. In fact an estimated 2,000+ companies, use these tests to judge applicants before meeting them making your life decided by how well you answer "You don't worry about making a good impression".


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