Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tales from the Census...

So far, no contact from the Census Bureau folks after taking the enumerator test in January.  It turns out that a friend of mine is working as a supervisor in the West Palm Beach office.  He told me that there is another test to qualify for a supervisory position and put me on the path to take that test as well.  According to him, all of the placements are dependent on how you did on the two tests.  It turns out I got a "90" on the first test.  If you have taken it and want to find out how you have done, you can call the local office and find out.

I ended up taking the second test yesterday morning at the Greenacres Community Center.  The guy that ran the exam from the Census was quirky, with a dry wit.  Apparently, if you are not on the list to take a test by tomorrow - the Census offices are not open Sunday, so if you are interested, you need to call today - you will not be able to take it.  They will only be offering the test to those that want to re-take it for a possible higher score - or people already scheduled.  He said that the month of March will be when most of the hiring occurs.  Placement in a supervisory position happens either through what he referred to as "battlefield promotion" - someone leaves for whatever reason and someone points at an enumerator that has already been working and has taken the test and says, "Hey you, over there, you're now a supervisor."  Most of the times the offer comes as a call for a specific position to people that have taken the exam.  The other way is through monitoring the Census website for a specific position - he said that doesn't happen too often.  Once you are hired, he said the job is 40 hours a week, with more hours possible.  This contradicts what my friend says, who already is in a position.  He said that you have to work at least 30 hours a week, with extra hours possible depending on your other commitments.

As for the test, it was more difficult than the first one and some of the questions were vague as to what was the "best" answer.  The gentleman who administered our test said that the day before he gave the same test to 16 people and 9 failed!  You have to get half of the 29 questions correct to pass, which for some reason is equal to a score of "70."  He said their scoring system is not related to percentage correct, for some reason.  For example, if someone only gets one question right, that is a score of "55."  That's when we all chuckled and wondered out loud about the wisdom of the U.S. Government.  They give you an hour to take the test, which I finished in about 50 minutes.  I ended up with a passing score of  "80" - whatever that means.  I may take it again to see if I can get a better score - they let you keep the higher one, not just the latest.

I'll  keep you informed what happens - if and when I hear from them.