Last week, I had an interview for a company that shall remain nameless and shall hereon be called Profit. I was mildly surprised about this, as all I could say during the phone interview about my reason for applying was that the person who referred me (henceforth called Referrer) had said it was a good place to work, emphasizing what Referrer had told me about the work environment. Truth be told: I need this job more than I want it. After being asked to come in for an interview, I was informed of the position details and the interview process: psychological test, listen to two calls, learn of our interest in Profit, customer service, and document (singular, not plural) / information to bring along. Leading up to the interview, the psychological test both intrigued me and made me uncomfortable, as I do not see how this can be in any way ethical. When asked, Referrer said it was not too bad.
The first room we entered had computers in it, as well as others who had started earlier. Sitting in front of free computers, we were told that the first questionnaire was to assess our learning styles while the second was to assess our personality. As I began the first, I immediately thought of the tests given to immigrants entering North America in the early twentieth century: I took an IQ test, something I have always vowed never to take, as this tests culture-specific knowledge. While the personality test was less obviously so, it still reeked of colonial nationalistic selection methods; clearly Profit is seeking very specific character traits through these tests. We were then to listen to the two calls, which were much more straightforward: listen to the call, answer questions and show how we deal with calls –> something that can be taught in the nearly three months of training.
In the next room, we were asked to fill a medical form, to ensure our physical capability of doing the job; did I mention this was for a call center position? Needless to say, I was shocked to have to fill such a form out, providing information I was in no way comfortable giving, such as hospitalizations having nothing to do with the job, my age, among other things. Other candidates agreed that this form alone was enough to disqualify a number of us on arbitrary terms. And now to think of it, I do hope I did not misunderstand what I gave them access to. I was informed by another candidate that in his experience, this is an industry standard, making me realize just how questionable this already problematic industry really is.
I then had the interview, which felt as though it went well. For the most part. My technical knowledge is very need-to-know — if I do not need to know it, I do not know it — and not in French, so this aspect may not have gone very well. As for the sales test, I had to sell a product that would be assumed to be basic knowledge, but for which my understanding is limited. These two interrelated components have me concerned about my being right for the position in any way. To be honest, I am fundamentally opposed to sales. Sales is what allows companies to exploit their customers (by tricking them into believing certain needs exist, which in reality do not), their employees (by extracting as much profit out of them through their labour, reducing their value to a number), and more importantly, the global communities and the environment (through slave-labour, or almost, excessive extraction of resources, creation/exacerbation of local conflicts). As for technology, we use entirely too much of it (and yes, I fully include myself in this statement), we change it much too quickly/often, and the vast majority buy only new, intensifying the problems between parentheses –> note: I am speaking in particular of communities with a high enough level of affluence to allow for this level and style of consumption.
Returning to the interview, some of my questions seemed to be of interest to the interviewer, while others seemed to cause annoyance. The answer that stood out to me, though, was that the interviewer found I do not have enough sales experience. As sales have been in the majority of my past experiences (both paid and unpaid), this is untrue, leading me to believe this answer was based on my lack of knowledge of the product I was asked to sell during the interview, which resulted in a perceived lack of competence in sales.
Edit: I was called back and they told me that they picked up on my dislike for sales, so I did not land the position. I honestly feel relieved.