Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It used to be that big companies didn’t have searching job interviews.
They’d just check whether candidates went to the right universities and, as long as they had no obvious personality difficulties, they were offered a job.
Things have changed. HR people think they’re far smarter now because they have smart tools.
And, indeed, the smartest modern tool of all — the algorithm.
I’m, therefore, prostrate from a lack of surprise that algorithms are now screening candidates for their deeper psychological aspects, just as they do when they decide which shoes you should buy.
The Cambridge Code was once merely a chat about which Cambridge college you went to.
Now, it’s a set of 55 questions that apparently uncover your “subconscious latent potential.”
This test, according to its creators, is deeply revelatory.
“Our algorithm has enabled a new approach to assessing individuals providing an x-ray of the subconscious mind,” they say.
I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t like some capitalist concern x-raying my subconscious mind.
Would they really understand what they see? Don’t they realize that my subconscious has been through interesting times and, especially when it comes to dream time, it can be vivid in its approach?
Oh, but some of the questions apparently ask you about how you’ve handled conflicts with your lover or your parents.
I’ve already prepared my answer: Mind your own bloody business.
I’ve come here for a job, not a shrink session.
Still, the questions make for high titillation.
Sample: When you have done something well, who do you want to know?
Your choices — because, of course you can’t answer Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — include my partner, God and no one.
But what if God is no one? What if God is my partner? The philosophical conundrums here are considerable.
One question, though, might sever the relationship between a candidate and their equilibrium.
That question? Have you ever had an imaginary twin?
Currently, I’m having an imaginary wish to lock these people in a room with a baby alligator and ask them, every hour on the hour, whether they’re imagining they might have made someone angry.
You will, perhaps, adore two of the answers you’re allowed to give to this question:
1. Now it has been mentioned, I would really like one.
2. I live the thought of being understood and not being alone.
Now it has been mentioned, I live the thought of wondering what goes through the minds of people who think they’re so clever in assessing people.
I live the thought of wondering why they think they can mine someone’s subconscious in order to work out whether they’d be good at managing, say, a rail network or a psychiatrists’ convention.
Here, though, is one additional joy.
Dr Curly Moloney, one of the founders of this putative successor to the DaVinci Code, says she hired two candidates by using this fine test.
Yes, without ever meeting them.
Because these days, you’re not hiring a person. You’re hiring, well, what, a number?
Subconsciously, that is.