Human Resources Stories

by Harry M. Hardjono

Slice of life
1998

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Number of Reviews: 7
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Look! The XYZZY response has more text than the game!, November 30, 2010
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

So on the surface this game is a 9-question interview where you are graded on your answers. Survive, and you're graded on teamwork, leadership and technical skills, and you get a salary, too.

It's not entirely that simple, though. XYZZY gives background--too much--and gives pages of ideas what the author was trying to do.

While (Spoiler - click to show)one easy "win" is >3's all the way through, the game gets interesting when you twiddle one answer to see what happens. And it's pretty clear that if you're too lousy in one area, they'll thank you for an excellent interview and "the phone never ring."

Unfortunately there's no cluing from the interviewers if you're in trouble or doing well. You're left reverse engineering the answers. Change one and see what happens with your grades, and soon you can figure which answer doesn't just trade one grade for another. It's a cute learning exercise but, like crazy IF mazes, more technical than imaginative. Some answer swaps show scorched-earth approaches are penalized, and computer industry people who look into it may find heart and a touch of irony.

They won't find a good game, though. It could be an interesting side puzzle, and if he had put some of the energy from the XYZZY response into describing the interviewers and cluing when you are in trouble, it would be more than an elimination puzzle. As it is, I got all A's and $100k a year after spending two five-minute sessions that felt much longer.

This game may have inspired me to write my own multiple-choice vignette as a sort of therapy. Perhaps I will suggest such an activity to the next ranting co-worker. But the playing experience also made clear that something like this is not seriously publishable as a stand-alone work.