SEOUL, Korea, April 15, 2014 (Korea Bizwire) – Samsung has long been one of the best companies to work for in Korea and this year was no different. Early in the morning on Sunday April 13, tens of thousands of young men and women woke up at dawn and went to test sites across the country. According to Samsung Group, as many as 100,000 applicants took the aptitude test in 85 sites. The group also arranged the test for those residing overseas, including North American cities like Newark, Los Angeles, and Toronto.
Although the test has been taken twice a year, according to the test takers, the latest one was more crowded than ever. A Samsung official said, “In previous years some of the applicants were unable to take the test because of test date overlaps with other employers. But this time there was no such overlap and that’s why the applicant numbers were higher than before.”
Months ago Samsung caused quite a stir by announcing that it would assign application quotas to each and every university in Korea for job interviews. Although intended to eliminate the costly-but-ineffective paper-based exam and instead rely on lengthy interviews, the announcement was seen by job seekers and the general public as an overbearing attitude of a company accounting for 30 percent of the nation’s GDP kicking around university presidents and professors. The company caved in eventually and kept offering the same aptitude test.
But this time the test questions were quite different from the ones before. For example, the company removed any questions that require the test takers to memorize such as Chinese idioms and English synonyms and antonyms while offering more reading comprehension questions. Some of the test takers complained that there were too many history questions that they had not expected at all.
What’s interesting is there were even questions asking which one is different from all others out of the fictional superhero characters including Thor, Superman, Wolverine, and Iron Man. One applicant said the answer depends on what criterion you take, such as the character’s trademark owner, occupation, or original birth. If the test taker didn’t watch the movies, it would have been much harder to answer, he said.
Even though the test questions have become harder and more varied, many corporate recruiters said it wouldn’t change the basic hiring scheme that does not reflect the applicant’s real potential as long as the companies keep relying on paper-based tests. For example, it is so easy for any private prep schools to come up with new textbooks touting to answer all questions in next rounds of aptitude test, at increasingly high prices.
A Samsung Group recruiter said, “The best thing that can happen to us is switch to a hiring practice signing on any number of new people anytime whenever vacancies are available just like companies overseas. But it is extremely hard to change the decades-long practice of hiring a large number of college graduates at certain times of year unless society at large can reach a consensus on the current scheme’s serious problem.”
Written by Sean Chung (firstname.lastname@example.org)