How would you answer this question?

Statement: ” I always accomplish the goals I set for myself.”

Choose the answer that is most true:

1. Strongly agree

2. Somewhat agree

3. Unsure

4. Somewhat disagree

5. Strongly disagree

The “most true” answer for 99% of humanity is, of course, #5. That is because the word “always” makes the statement impossible for anyone who bothers to set ambitious goals for himself on a regular basis. The statement is absolutely false in my case. I do NOT “always accomplish the goals I set for myself”. But … woe to him who answers truthfully!

I have been taking online personality assessments full of poorly-worded and ambiguous questions like this. I think I marked #3 for this question, mainly because I knew the employer didn’t want to see #4 or #5, but I couldn’t in good conscience mark #1 or #2. At the conclusion of this 45 minute quiz, I was thanked for taking the test and told that I need not worry about being called in for an interview.

9 thoughts on “How would you answer this question?

  1. Jeff, trust me when I say you don’t want to work for someone who takes this kind of thing seriously. (Would love to see your “psychological assessment,” though.)


  2. +JMJ+

    My own knee-jerk answer is #4, but I would have marked #2 on the test just to get my foot in the door.

    So I agree that it’s a terrible instrument to use in the screening process, especially if it blocks the door to the interview. It can’t possibly give one a sense of the applicant’s character, worth ethic or ability to do the job.

    Then again, perhaps the employer is looking for so-called Type A personalities? Those applicants would answer #1 or #2 in a heartbeat.


  3. I took one of these quizzes in high school for an application to work at a toy store. One of the questions was:

    “Have you done your share of raising hell?” Yes or No.

    How does one respond? If you answer “Yes”, well, they wouldn’t want a hellraiser working for them; they need someone who can follow orders and complete a task. On the other hand, if you answer “No”, well, it could mean that if they hire you, you will be sure to do “your share”, if it is understood to mean that everyone is entitled to their share of hellraising in life. I was clearly thinking too hard about it and figured out pretty quickly that I probably wouldn’t be a good fit in such a place anyway.


  4. How about “It is always wrong to take something you don’t own, no matter what.”

    The statement is flat-out false. There are a quite a few circumstances in which it is okay to take what one doesn’t own. If children are starving, stealing bread can be a positive duty. Yet if I answered the question honestly, I would instantly be marked a thief and eliminated from consideration. I considered for a while and decided I didn’t really want to work for a company that was 1)so very shallow and 2) ready to brand me a thief. So I answered honestly.


  5. How about “It is always wrong to take something you don’t own, no matter what.”

    Yep. Or another example: I don’t own the toilet paper in a bathroom somewhere other than my house, but I can take and use it. It’s implied entitlement, just like if you are starving, it’s not theft or, as the CCC says: “There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods.”


  6. What a joke of a way to evaluate people for a job. It’s like one of those silly things people send you to take on Facebook, only here it’s supposed to mean something. That’s really sad.


  7. Jeff:

    My dear husband was passed over for so many jobs when he was in the market, for precisely this reason.

    The truth.

    They don’t want it, and he couldn’t help but be truthful, following the dictates of conscience rather than correctness.

    He eventually refused to submit to these so called “assessments” and eventually landed an excellent job due to his “unique individualism.” Perhaps refusing can be just as powerful an assessment!


  8. Raaaah! I just took one of those last week. Unicru is pernicious. I’m afraid I made mental reservations and told the computer what it wanted to hear: that I was preternaturally extroverted and confident, yet servile, naive, and ego-less. I can be outgoing if I need to. It’s none of my employer’s business if I “like to be alone” or have “regrets” about my past. What, do I need to win a beauty pageant to stock shelves at Staples?

    “Whatever trouble you get is your own fault.” (YES!)

    “You like to be alone.” (NO!)

    Unicru’s aim, I think, is to bar all introverts from the jobs it controls access to, with the long-term goal of eliminating us from the gene pool. And not just introverts: anyone who is not this impossible robot, this parody of the friendly, trusting, American extrovert. I say tell the robot test what it wants to hear – it doesn’t know philosophy and it doesn’t care about ultimate truth. Applying your careful and conscientious knowledge of moral theology to these questions is like doing discourse analysis on Barney. Rah. I’ve ranted as much as I can. Retail, revolt!


  9. The question didn’t specify what type of goals. It could have meant goals for the day or goals for the week or work week. If you couldn’t figure that out, it’s probably a good thing that you didn’t get hired.


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