a job application asked me to rank if torturing a person was worse than prostitution


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A reader writes:

I’m trying to change fields from copywriting freelancer to something in the admin assistance sphere. It could be that my greenness is showing, but is it typical for applications to ask you to rate atrocities?

After submitting a resume and cover letter, I was directed to fill in an online form. The form started with asking me to rank traits from most to least like me. I’ll admit I kind of rolled my eyes, but I did it.

Then we got to a very long list where I had to rate items from best to worst. These items included things like “a blunder,” “prostitution,” “justice,” “a telephone,” “poisoning the town’s water supply,” “a good idea,” “torturing a person,” “receiving a medal for bravery,” “a lover’s embrace,” and more.

I had no idea what to do, and I also felt that this is basically some pseudoscience masked as smart interviewing. If I said “imprisoning an innocent person” was worse than “torturing a person,” I don’t know that I’d be a better or worse admin assistant than someone who swapped those. Is there any merit to this method? Was there some secret right combination that wouldn’t make this company think I’m a terrible

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