A reader recently applied for a job at Urban Outfitters, and tipped us off to a survey the company requires as part of the application process. Did we make up a fake name and take the online questionnaire? Yes.
The survey has 68 questions (all posed as statements) and is supposed to take 20 minutes. You're instructed to respond on a scale, with choices like "Totally Disagree, " "Very Slightly Disagree," "Strongly Agree" and "Totally Agree."
But: However loosely your moral compass is wound, it's pretty easy to cheat this test, since with many of the questions, it's so obvious how you should respond, if you want to get hired.
For instance, Question 13:
I have problems with long hours at work.
Who in their right mind — who really wants a job — is going to admit this?
Most employees get high on the job at one time or another.
Smoking a marijuana cigarette is the same as having a drink.
In previous jobs I've had problems getting to work on time, but that's behind me now.
Some people work as well slightly high as they do sober.
You know what? Some people do. Some people work better high. Are you going to say so when you want to work at Urban Outfitters? No. No, you are not.
Even more amusing are the questions about stealing. As you may know, Urban Outfitters has quite frequently been accused of ripping off other designers. (More here, here, here, here; and then there's an entire site called Urban Counterfeiters.)
But there were several questions hinting that prospective employees had better not even think about stealing from UO.
In some instances an employee who steals small items should be overlooked if he/she does an otherwise outstanding job.
Hey, I'm gonna work super hard and only walk out of here with some earrings. Or a purse. Hire me?
Most employees steal at one time or another.
Psst. Everybody's doing it. Hire me?
A person who takes $5.00 a year from his/her employer is a thief.
I steal, but only a little. Hire me?
In previous jobs I've stolen small items, but I will never do it again.
Unless I go back on crack. Hire me?
It would be really interesting to see how the creative types at Urban Outfitters — who knock off T-shirts, shoes and jewelry — and whose sister company, Anthropologie, doesn't like black people — would reply to these questions:
A company's policies and procedures should be followed without deviation.
Cheating is the way a majority of individuals succeed in business.
An employee should criticize his/her company when he/she believes it to be wrong.
But maybe the answers lie here:
A good employee should always support the organization when outsiders criticize it.
Some rules should be altered to fit the specific situation.