I was asked in a group interview for a service-sector job whether I would pick up trash on the company's lawn if I randomly walked past it on my lunch break of my own initiative. I indicated that I wouldn't, because that's the truth. Should I have lied and responded with yes?
When I was 17, I was applying for a popular job at a large amusement park in Norway. There was such a vast amount of applicants that the company chose to filter us out using group evaluation exercises. We were put into groups and asked to solve certain problems together, and the interviewers would observe us, deciding who to select for real interviews. Those of us who eventually got employed would be operating rides, serving food, helping customers, selling tickets, etc.
They also asked us yes or no questions in plural. We had to raise our hands to say yes or no. One of the questions that I remember very clearly was:
You have just finished the first half of your day, and are on your way to lunch. Walking through the park, you notice that there is some trash on the grass next to the road. If you pick it up and put it in a trash can, raise your hand. If you ignore it and continue to lunch, keep your hand down.
There were dozens of people there, and I think I might have been the only one who kept my hand down. The vast majority raised their hands.
The reason I didn't is because honestly, I wouldn't pick it up. And I don't believe most of those who raised their hands would, either. I felt that both the interviewers and much of the crowd knew that. I'm not against white lies, but this one just felt too blatant to me. Like I would be sucking up to the interviewers, and we would both know it. I guess I did it a little bit out of defiance. But I also felt there was a chance it was a test question to check the honesty of applicants. Or that, at least, the interviewers would appreciate the honesty. (Some of the jobs involve money and other things that are partly based on trust.)
As for why I wouldn't pick up the trash: I would do it if specifically or generally instructed to do so by my superiors. But I would not take the initiative to do it myself. it's not my job, somebody else are employed to do it. It's my lunch time. The trash may be unhygienic to touch, risk staining my uniform, etc. What if my job was related to food? (A lot of them are.) How would the guests like it if they saw a food worker handling old trash from the roadside?
Should I have lied here, and raised my hand?
I will reveal later whether I was selected for a private interview or not.