Friday, March 06, 2015

Mail Bag: Questions About Questions About Poop

Long-time reader Stephen has commented:

I need to know the weird Staples questions that were asked.
Here you go.

The interview started with a company-wide questionnaire. Working my way down the list, I came to the question, "How many shouting matches have you been involved in at work in the past five years?" I thought, "What kind of person do they think I am?" The next question was so similar that, at first, I thought it was an accidental repeat: "How many shoving matches have you been involved in at work in the past five years?" Once I realized what the question actually said, I thought, "What kind of people am I getting myself mixed up with?!"

After passing the written exam (hint: the best answer to both those questions is "none"), I moved on to the oral exam. The manager came in and talked with me a little about the position, then he asked, "What kind of things are you willing to do if you came to work here?" I thought, "Is he trying to find out if I'd sell drugs out of the warehouse for him?" Like every good prospective employee, I said, "Whatever the job requires, sir!"

Then he went into more detail. "If you get hired, one of your duties will be checking the restrooms every hour to see if they need cleaning or restocking of supplies. Let's say that one time you go into the restroom to see if it's clean, and it turns out it's covered in feces. What would you do?"

I thought, "That is the weirdest hypothetical question I've ever been asked in my life."

I gave another "good prospective employee" answer, about how I obviously wouldn't enjoy it, but someone has to clean it, so I'd just try to get it over with as quickly as possible.

Fast forward two weeks or so. I'm on the job, making my rounds to check the bathroom, and one of the stalls is completely covered in feces. That's when I realized: that question was so weird because it wasn't hypothetical! They had a recurring problem, a serial poop-smearer.

So what did I do? After all, I'd told the manager I would clean it, didn't I? Well, sort of. What I had actually said was, "Someone has to clean it." But I'd been hired at the same time as another employee with identical job duties. He also was supposed to check the restrooms once every hour and see if they needed cleaning. So I just eased my way out of the restroom and waited.

After a while, my co-worker came to see me. "You will not believe what I just had to do!" he said. "Oh," I said with as much interest as possible, "what happened?"

1 comment:

Stephen Harkleroad said...

I once applied for a job as a stockman at a large retailer. I had to answer similar questions, except I had to rank things on a scale from 1 to 5. Like, "If one of your co-workers stole something, would you tell your manager?" As if there was more than one acceptable number to choose.

I just remember one of the questions was something like "Do you think managers are all qualified?" and I said "Well there's this theory called the Peter Principle..." and what I SHOULD have said was "A HARD FIVE."

I got the job, mostly I think because I wasn't addicted to meth.