02 Apr 2008 @ 9:38 AM 

I have already discovered that the majority of recruiters are not smarter than a 5th grader; please refer to this post. I have also talked about some very questionable hiring practices used by some rascals; here the page with my posts. Now I would like to discuss what employers get from people supposedly smarter than a 5th grader.

I don’t know if you ever watched this Fox TV show. I personally like it. It’s relaxing and the host is funny. Those kids are cute and smart. Unfortunately, the 1 million dollar catchers are not so smart. Last March 13, 2008 in the show there was a nice bride; she got married 3 hours before the show and I wish her all the best in her marriage. She has a Master degree in Education from a very good University; she is an English teacher and she scored 1200 in her SAT’s. The ideal candidate for any employers? Apparently, yes. Nowadays employers ask for Master degrees even in fields where they do not make sense, such as in Information Technology. If somebody can explain me why a Master degree is so important for a candidate computer programmer, I will be happy to listen to the explanation. I have seen many kids just graduate from College, programming computers. Well, they usually do not have a clue about business or other related fields; they don’t even think about back-ups or other strategies needed in order to protect important corporate data. The result of this is, just to give you an example, Windows (an operating system) with holes in every part of the system (especially in terms of security); back-up procedures are not even considerd (you have important files all over the hard-disk).

Going back to our newly married lady, she did not answer even to basic questions. Even a 10 years old kid knows more than her.

The grading system in the US is focused especially toward standardized tests; standardized tests are good only for standardized minds. Ask Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei or Albert Einstein if they ever took a standardized test. Ok, they are dead so you cannot ask the question, but I guess they never took a standardized test.

Now I give you an example of why a standardized test is a stupid thing. Assume that I am interviewing a candidate for a position as programmer with a specific (and hypothetic) language. I can ask the question in 2 different ways:

1) Please, tell me what command you would use in order to open a file to manipulate it.

2) In order to open a file you should use the following command:
a) go-to-hell
b) write
c) read
d) none of these answers is correct

Now, even if you are not a programmer, you may guess that c) is the correct answer to the question (using the “quiz” form). If I choose to ask the question in the “essay” (the first) form, you should have at least an idea of what programming is about. Why do people prefer to ask questions in the “quiz” form? Because it’s quicker to grade (a computer can do it), and if this is a school test the candidate cannot sue you because he/she does not like the grade; in fact the “quiz” form has 1 and only 1 correct answer, in the “essay” form you might express opinions and the answer may have different shades even when correct. In conclusion, using the “quiz” form I would hire a programmer, though he/she is not skilled. You see this every day. You don’t think my explanation makes sense? Ok, this is what happened to me. Searching for a job, I said to myself. What the heck? I built a complicated application using PHP (a programming language for the web) and MySql (a database management system), so I can take a job as PHP programmer. Everybody who contacted me (no exception, this is why it’s scary) asked me to take an online test. The first and second time I scored well, but not exceptionally; I am not an advanced PHP programmer and I know this. The third time I scored extremely well, because I learned how to manage (or fool) the test. The funny thing is that in the report I received, the test reported 2 weak areas (the areas I know best indeed) and 3 strong areas (the 3 areas I probably lack more in knowledge); so these are the grades: B+ for the candidate (me), F for the standardized test.

In Italy we give tests in a very different way. Only essays, you have to talk and write about your knowledge in a specific field. The teacher knows if you know the matter or not and the grade is a consequence of this. In Italy only about 15% of people going to college (they are called Universities) finally graduate; what does this mean? That the few graduates are extremely well prepared; the others? Just well prepared; remember that our high school releases very good students.

While they play with standardized tests, I am still looking for a job but at least I know that I am much more professional than the average. My SAT score? I don’t have one; I studied in Italy, a place where standardized minds have a hard time. So long!

Posted By: admin
Last Edit: 23 Jul 2012 @ 06:09 PM

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  1. admin says:

    Well, somebody found my Blog searching for this phrase on Google:
    am i smarter than albert ienstien test
    Judging by the spelling of Einstein, I am sure he/she is not smarter than a goat. Oh poor me, this is somebody ready to appear on Jaywalking (the section of the Jay Leno Show).

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