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The Snowflake Test

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a New Boston Post article by someone named Kyle Reyes – President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing – that explained his firm’s somewhat unorthodox hiring practices. You see, The Silent Partner Marketing is apparently a pretty cool place to work. They have a bar, they have a personal trainer, they allow dogs – YES DOGS!!!! – in the office, which should actually alleviate stress levels and increase productivity. (Yes, I speak from experience. We employed a wounded warrior at my old job, who had an adorable German Shepherd seeing eye pup, and who acted as our office therapy dog whenever he didn’t have his harness on.) So being a cool place to work, the company obviously gets a lot of interest from prospective employees, who find the benefits appealing.

So how does a company ensure they hire the best and brightest, whose personality fits the culture?

I know what it’s like to have to wade through hundreds of resumes. Whenever my office advertises a position, we drown in a swamp of resumes – some stellar, and others… well… they might as well be written in crayon. I know we’re a great place to work, but it seems these days applicants think we need to sell ourselves to them, because they’re so smart/experienced/fabulous. Sometimes it takes all my will power not to remind the applicant that with the pay and benefits we offer, as well as the fascinating work that actually makes a difference, they should be the ones selling themselves to us. More often than not, the attitude is, “show me how great you are, and that you deserve me!”

NEWSFLASH, SNOWFLAKE! We are not here to impress you. We pay good money for good skills. We hire quality people and reward them accordingly, and we screen heavily to ensure said quality. Don’t like it? Don’t apply! We are certainly not here to adjust to your whims.

Since I can’t very well inform prospective applicants that they won’t be issued safe spaces, pussy hats, safety pins, and free days off to focus on their political activism, I weed out potential snowflakes by informing them of the true benefits of working in my office.

You get to do a truly fascinating job that allows you to challenge your assumptions and stretch your mental muscles.

No, you don’t get a masseuse or your own office, but we do have a table filled with chocolate, cookies, and all sorts of treats people bring – especially when they go TDY to a faraway place! And we do get to travel! Places like Germany, Singapore, Britain, Luxembourg, and Romania are just some of the neat places we’ve been able to send our employees! And yes, you need to learn customs and courtesies. And no, you don’t get to indulge your “I only eat organically-grown, locally sourced produce that certifies it wasn’t mean to animals” predilections. You will be polite to your hosts, always be on time, always keep situational awareness, and act like a grownup, or you don’t get to go again. Believe me, I’ve done it.

You do get to interact with senior policy makers, and keep them informed about critical issues that impact this nation. No, you don’t get to choose what you brief or how you brief it. No, you don’t get to decline because you don’t like a particular policy maker. No, you don’t get to shove your own political views into your analysis. You will, however, become a subject matter expert on various issues that are vital to our foreign policy and national security, and you will develop your knowledge and expertise. I call that self-fulfillment. You like it? Come show me why I should hire you for this unique opportunity! I won’t coddle you, but I will teach you and guide you, and I will make you the best you can be at your job.

Interested?

But back to Kyle Reyes.

When I read Reyes’ strategy for weeding out those who don’t quite fit the corporate culture at his company, I nearly squeaked with excitement! He calls it “The Snowflake Test.” Since he published an article about “The Snowflake Test,” it’s gone viral. I’ve seen him on the news, and he’s been on a ton of various radio programs!

I sent Reyes a note shortly after the first article was published with a short kudos for his work. He was kind enough to respond, and we had a brief conversation in which I conveyed to him how much I wished I could administer his “Snowflake Test” to those who apply for open positions with me!

Some of the questions are somewhat eclectic.

  1. When was the last time you cried and why? (At my son’s Army Basic Training graduation. Tears of joy)
  2. You arrive at an event for work and there’s a major celebrity you’ve always wanted to meet. What happens next? (I do my job. Duh.)
  3. What’s your favorite kind of adult beverage? (Bloody Mary)

Others are obviously designed to gauge your respect for the views and beliefs of others or your love of this country.

  1. How do you feel about guns? (I carry an M1911. My G23 is my other carry pistol.)
  2. What are your feelings about employees or clients carrying guns? (None of my business as long as they practice common sense safety.)
  3. What does America mean to you? (*Long discussion about the opportunities this nation provided me – ones I couldn’t get as a Jew in the former USSR*)
  4. How do you feel about police? (Much like I feel about others who stand up. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for your sacrifices. Your badge doesn’t come with a halo, however, so don’t abuse your authority.)

Still others take a peek at your personality and try to gauge how you would perform your duties in a marketing firm.

  1. What’s the best way to communicate with clients? (Politely, respectfully, but honestly and directly.)
  2. In a creative environment like The Silent Partner Marketing, what do you envision work attire looking like? (As long as you don’t come in with piercings all over your face, wearing leather chaps, no pants, and a tiara, I don’t care. Dress professionally. It doesn’t have to be a three-piece suit all the time, but if you come in wearing pajama bottoms and a torn t-shirt with fuzzy bunny slippers, I’ll personally escort you out.)
  3. Should “trigger warnings” be issued before we release content for clients or the company that might be considered “controversial”? (Nope. You hire us for our expertise and reputation. If you don’t trust us to release the very best content for your needs, maybe you should find someone else.)

Reyes apparently got a lot of flak from the very snowflakes he wants to avoid for weeding them out in such a rude and undignified fashion! After all, they shouldn’t be subjected to these intrusive questions or judged by their answers! They’re perfect candidates! They deserve an interview. They bring a lot to the table, and because they’re so special and perfect, the employer needs to sell the company to them. They’re special! They’re quality! How DARE he want to hire the best candidate possible for openings in his own company! Reyes’ attitude toward these entitled buffoons is the same as mine would be.

I was scolded by a woman on the phone yesterday who told me she wouldn’t take the test and “shame” on me for making people take a test to come work for us.  She “demanded” I remove the test or risk losing out on “perfect employees” like herself.

Bummer.

Well, snowflake, it’s back to the heaping pile of applications for me.

I would probably send the woman a photo of her application in my circular file, because I’m not as nice as Kyle Reyes.

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32 responses

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

    If I were an interviewer, I’d be on the look-out for candidates who made snide political comments when answering questions or offering comments.

    Note, the fact that I agreed with the politics expressed would not be a factor.

    If they are going to make snide political comments in the interview, how are they going to act toward co-workers who differ politically?

    Like

  2. Hm….i have to admit that now i am actually courios how he evaluates that test. After all, there are a few questions regarding the political standpoint of the applicant in there (Guns, Minimum Wage, faith), where from a conservative point of view i would have clear assumption about what the interviewer “want’s to hear”.
    I wonder how much the test is used to screen for the actual answers themselves, i.e. if your beliefes are “In line” and how much of it is just to see if people are reasonable and won’t lose their shit even when they feel they are met with opposition or intrusive questions.
    I get he will not elaborate on this, i would be curious though.

    Like

  3. It’s the tiara OK with, say, yoga pants?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depends. Is the wearer more than 300 lbs?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With or without the tiara?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Male or female?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Never mind. Just saw the “always be on time” thing.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Awwwwww. And here I was hoping to see a 300 lb guy in yoga pants and a tiara. Dammit!

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Well, I CAN make that happen… 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        5. 245 close enough or do I need to adjust my calorie count upwards?

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Nope. FATTER!!!

          Like

        7. Is 350 too big?

          Note: Younger son says you need a psych ward for wanting such a picture. 🙂

          Like

        8. Yep. He’s correct. 🙂

          Like

        9. I’ll put the salad back and order a burger and a taco on my way home.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. This comment stream has been awesome to read. Outstanding!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it must be a generational thing. Since I am older, and don’t possess the skills that are necessary for this type of work, I could not apply for the job, but if I were qualified, I would welcome the chance to pre-screen with this kind of an application. It would not only give the employer the chance to weed out potential employees, but in doing so, it would also give me a chance to put just a little bit of myself forward to that employer that doesn’t show through on a resume’. I think that most of the people my age, 56, would not be offended in the least with this snowflake test. And not only is it helpful for the employer, but ultimately, the employee who is not a good fit will not be happy, and will make the rest of the workers unhappy. I have said it before, but I was just a laborer in a foundry for most of my life. When Human Resources would hire a new man, and send him out onto the floor, we could tell within 20 minutes if he would make it or not. And yet HR did many hours of testing and such. It takes a certain type to be able to work in a setting such as I did, safely, and to be able to maintain your sanity. I would be willing to bet that you, Nicki, can do pretty much the same thing, just by talking to your applicants for 20 minutes, know whether or not they would be a good fit. Then, all you have to figure out is, are they qualified, and can they help to move your mission ahead. A test like this would no doubt save a lot of wasted time. The private sector does have it’s advantages. I bet that someone will pass a law to stop him from using the test, soon enough.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. 100% true. And honestly….if you DO happen to hold strong attitudes and beliefes that are incompatible with the culture at the company where you applied…would you really want to work there?
      Take the gun question…if you are legitimatly a left-wing anti-gun person who does not feel safe around people who carry ( factual validity of that aside), you should view it as a positive that this question is asked. Instead of you getting hired and THEN finding out, that 60% of your office are ccw.
      I mean…it’s not like there are no companys explicitly on either side of the political spectrum.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would probably send the woman a photo of her application in my circular file, because I’m not as nice as Kyle Reyes.

    I would have probably just sent back a note explaining that her response had proven that she was exactly the kind of person that the test was created to help the company avoid.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eh. Too much effort. Dump in trash. Take photo. Send photo. I’m not that nice. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting questions, I think you will generally weed out a lot of undesirables with those. I would love to see some of the answers to the 1st amendment and faith questions, there has to be some funny material there.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “How do you feel about guns?” (Would “Tingly” be a solid answer?) 😀

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “Great force multiplier”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The more the merrier?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That works too. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Julie A Pascal | Reply

    If it’s a marketing firm it makes a lot of sense to avoid people who feel strongly about issues as issues. Any issues. Pro or con.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Last time I cried: my cat died of old age. I miss him.
    Major celebrity at work: Depends. John de Lancie and Patrick Stewart were great, but I had to ignore them because I was busy watching the overgrown children not do what they were supposed to do. (Long story)
    Favorite adult beverage: A cheap Tuscan white wine that goes well with pasta carbonara
    Guns (for me): (Falls down laughing) Have I told you my story about the Navy CPO who tried to show me how to handle a loaded gun, and was so obnoxious that when he stood behind me….? No. Well, never stand behind me when I am holding a loaded gun, and don’t ever wave a gun in my face. (I have to jump through hoops where I live to own a gun, that’s all.)
    Guns for other people: That’s their business.
    How do I feel about America: I spent two separate enlistments in the Navy during the Vietnam War. I’m waiting to see if they call back old gasbags like me if the Middle East or Korea heats up.
    How do I feel about police: I’m on very good terms with my local police because of a crazypants stalker/wannabealawyer from Florida who now owes me attorney’s fees.
    Best way to communicate with clients: Be nice, courteous, and interested in them and their needs. They aren’t selling to you; you are selling to them. Your approach is or should be about them. And always, always, always answer the phone with ‘Thank you for calling XXX Company. This is Delilah Twozzle speaking. How can I help you?’
    Work attire: See John Molloy’s ‘Dress For Success For Women’. I still gravitate toward navy blue with a white blouse. I always will. Dress for the job you want.
    Trigger warnings for a client???: The client should be clear ahead of the first meeting in regard to what he expects in content, language, artwork, and presentation. Anything in the way of controversial matter should be discussed and agreed upon in the first meeting. No one likes unfortunate surprises. I can’t emphasize that enough.

    I think that covers it. Did I miss anything?

    Like

    1. You know… I’m interested in others responses too. I should post the entire test with my replies, and see what folks reply in comments. Thoughts?

      Like

      1. I think that’s a great idea! I saw the entire questionnaire posted elsewhere, and wondered why more employers don’t use it. In fact, I found the company’s website and almost sent them an inquiry to find out if they use telecommuting freelancers.

        Like

        1. You should. He’s a nice guy, and he likes veterans.

          Like

  10. About 10 years ago I was at a job fair, wearing a suit and tie. This job fair was focused on science, engineering, accounting, etc – well paying professional or semi-professional jobs. I ran into another job seeker wearing ratty pants, an old shirt and a well used jean jacket. I asked him why he hadn’t dressed up for it and he said that looks shouldn’t matter and his resume would speak for itself … I was and still am skeptical about that!

    I have heard of HR people saying they will prefer to hire a 40something over a recent grad because they have too much trouble with young people demanding many benefits and compensation while doing little work and not being on time.

    Like

  11. […] it, so here it is. I know I posted some of the questions in Kyle Reyes’ Snowflake test in my last post about it, and I provided some personal replies, but I thought, and a couple of readers agreed it would be […]

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