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For an informal chat to become a full blown test situation

(20 Posts)
heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 13:45:10

Just had one of the most embarrassing experiences. I applied for an admin job and was offered an 'informal chat' to see if we liked each other. When I arrived I was told there were some tests to do. I started to panic half way through it, so I made my excuses and left. Most of the tests had nothing to do with the job I would be doing. I feel totally shit now and wish to fuck I hadn't gone at all. Confidence is now at total rock bottom.
AIBU to think that this was not an informal chat at all?

8angle Wed 17-Jun-15 13:54:09

You are not unreasonable to think that wasn't an informal chat.
Next time, take a deep breath and then ask the person to explain what the tests are for and why you need to take them.
If you do need to take them then just try your best - it may well just be a policy that all employees have to take certain tests regardless of the role they are applying for
Anyway don't let this stop you trying again, and if you feel up to it, contact the person who offered you the "informal chat" apologise for leaving, and explain that you were only expecting an informal chat, and were slightly blindsided by the tests, and would it be possible to come in again.

heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 13:59:54

Thanks 8angle I appreciate your reply I feel terrible right now. The first few tests were ok, practical and relevant to the job. But then there were more, several pages of psychometric/numerical reasoning tests, which is when my mind froze.

TedAndLola Wed 17-Jun-15 14:04:10

You had a lucky escape, you want to steer clear of anyone that bases recruitment on psychometric tests. YANBU as this was obviously not an informal chat and they shouldn't have told you it was.

Don't let it put you off applying for other jobs. Sometimes, when they make the interview process difficult, it means they have an internal candidate that they're going to give the job to anyway.

heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 14:16:03

Thank you tedandlola. I wasn't that keen on working there after I saw how chaotic the office looked, but then when all these tests appeared I inwardly cringed. I did at one point think about climbing out of the window! I think I may eventually see the funny side of a few days..maybe. I feel so stupid!

balletnotlacrosse Wed 17-Jun-15 15:46:21

YANBU. It was a very unfair thing to do and speaks volumes about the respect the company would have for their employees, and the level of communication skills that exist at management level.

You've probably had a lucky escape, and I certainly wouldn't be contacting them to 'apologise'. They're the ones who should be apologising.

heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 15:54:32

Thanks for your reply balletnotlacrosse. I am still feeling very shit & tearful about what happened this morning.

LurkingHusband Wed 17-Jun-15 15:58:12

Another way of looking at it is they wanted to see how you perform under pressure (the presence of psychometric tests suggests some "expert" input here).

Wouldn't be the first time.

MNpostingbot Wed 17-Jun-15 16:01:12

Sympathies and I agree that they didn't present the interview accurately.

However, I disagree that it's a lucky escape to not be employed by an employer who uses these tests. For the same reason it's a weakness for you another applicant may struggle with the informal chat and the social elements of an interview because of anxiety issues but could shine in aptitude tests. A good interview process will do both, assess the personal fit and your ability and i think these tests achieve that.

Not the personality type tests etc, which are a waste of time, but something that tests your logic and intelligence under pressure is a very valuable tool.

Probably just poor communication on their part, but maybe the surprise test is part of their strategy to see how you'd deal being put under pressure

heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 16:19:22

Thanks yes I think they wanted to 'stress test' me on reflection...which I obviously failed.... I would like to stress it was an admin job not a managerial or senior position. I guess I did not prepare myself adequately.

LurkingHusband Wed 17-Jun-15 16:32:13

Depending what they [thought] they were testing, the lack of adequate preparation may have been an important factor.

It's been a while since I interviewed (technical roles). But I tend to be supremely uninterested in what's on a cv, and extremely interested in the person I am interviewing. I liked to draw up really obscure technical questions, and see how candidates approached them. Given that "Google it" was outdated in the 1990s, huge reserves of useless knowledge aren't that impressive. I like to see a structured methodical approach to solving the problem, and an ability to recognise and use all available resources. (I would award top marks to a candidate who asked me the answer grin).

I had one chap - about 40 - walk out on me halfway through, saying there was no point me asking him questions he couldn't answer. That job went to a 22 year old graduate with zero experience, but a hell of an attitude (he used to repair PCs, taking the bus, as he couldn't drive shock). He's now development manager 10 years on.

balletnotlacrosse Wed 17-Jun-15 16:33:28

That's not really an excuse though MN. They can't get applicants to show up for a false reason, and then just say 'oh well we wanted to see how you perform under pressure'. Perhaps some applicants wouldn't want to attend if they knew there were tests involved, and they're entitled to not have their time wasted by some company they don't even work for yet.

RedXan Wed 17-Jun-15 16:49:15

It was unfair that they didn't tell you it would involve a test. However I've turned up for interviews for my last three jobs (all of which I was the successful candidate) and each of them involved a test which I hadn't known about previously. Some companies, particularly public sector ones, have a points system in place and these tests as well as the interview contribute to deciding who they will employ.
If this happens again I'd suggest taking a deep breath and doing the best you can. Even if you don't do amazingly, you may then go on to nail the actual interview.

heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 17:12:17

I have had tests before Redxan, but they were related to my job, not 20 pages of psychometric/numerical reasoning, plus the standard type tests. They obviously have their reasons for doing this to candidates; I think judging on the state of the office that looked like a paper bomb had gone off you would need to be extremely resilient.

Sallyingforth Wed 17-Jun-15 18:35:54

Please don't feel bad about this OP.
It was an appalling way to treat an unsuspecting candidate, and if this is how they treat their staff they are not a firm you want to be working for.
I hope you find a better prospective employer next time.

GodGaveSausageRollsToYou Wed 17-Jun-15 18:37:33

how unprofessional of them

absolute twats

lucky escape OP

Yarp Wed 17-Jun-15 18:38:59


The way they approached this with you... I'd worry about how you'd be managed

GodGaveSausageRollsToYou Wed 17-Jun-15 18:40:32

also just remembered a similar thing happened to me a few years ago. going for some temp admin job with an agency. sent for a "chat" with the client. I was left in a room and told to do a power point presentation, I had 15 minutes to prepare, pffft don;t think so for their min wage temp shit. So I walked out and went home. and rang the agency to tell them to tell their client to go fuck themselves. my exact words

unsurprisingly, I am self employed now, I have been for 5 years, I could never work for anyone else again id end up in prison

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 17-Jun-15 19:54:59

Could be worse. In haulage there's a nasty habit of informal chats being followed by a 4 am phone call asking why you're not at work.Or even worse, being handed the keys and told there are 40 drops to get through by Wednesday. Or that you have Milan-Warsaw-Lyon, back by Saturday.

heatseeker14 Wed 17-Jun-15 20:28:47

That sounds pretty shit disgracetotheychromosome & godgavesausagerollstoyou.
I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like today. When in the past I have been invited to an informal chat, that was exactly what happened, so much so I was ribbed for being too dressed up. So that did not help at all today. I keep remembering the look on her face when she came back in the room to find me stood up ready to is now almost funny....almost.

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