Why the Snowflake Test Isn’t the Best Way to Hire Great People


The secret to any successful business is a staff that is both talented and resilient. The basis of hiring today goes beyond talent since many employers are looking for hard workers who can handle difficult tasks, challenging office environments, and the like.

Some businesses use a debatable test called the “snowflake test” to select the best candidates.

The snowflake test is in theory quite simple: it’s a series of character tests that determine a candidate’s resilience. Its nature remains questionable, however. The term “snowflake” describes someone who is sensitive and easily offended. It is also a term used to describe Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace.

The idea behind the phrase “snowflake” (and the snowflake test) is that most of the younger generation cannot cope with the harshness of workplace politics and culture. Millennials and Gen Z people are commonly described as “squeamish” and “cancel-culture” believers, which employers find problematic when seeking reliable employees. However, the younger generation argues that not all of them are eligible, which makes the test discriminatory.

In light of these arguments, employers have to consider the snowflake test: is it an effective method of hiring the best candidates?

Snowflake Test: What is it?

Using a series of respectful and triggering questions, the Snowflake Test assesses a person’s resilience. None of the questions in the test are homophobic, racist, or hateful.

It does, however, contain some controversial and challenging concepts. The questions are even viewed by some as immoral, intrusive, and even borderline illegal.

Snowflake tests often include the following questions:

  1. If the minimum age should be raised, when?
  2. How do you communicate with clients in the right way?
  3. How would you define privilege?
  4. What is the appropriate frequency of salary increases?
  5. What is your favorite or least favorite thing about guns?
  6. How would you rate the current environment of your school as it relates to your future workplace?
  7. What is the best way to deal with rejection of your great ideas?
  8. Employee benefits should be offered in addition to those that employees already have access to?
  9. Do you remember the last time you cried?
  10. What is your belief in God? If so, why?
  11. How would you describe the First Amendment?
  12. You were presented with an idea you didn’t like by a colleague. What would you do?
  13. When you think of your country, what comes to mind?
  14. What do you do when bullies attack you?
  15. How important is it? Is it more important to have street smarts or book smarts?
  16. What do you eat for breakfast?

There are some questions that are easy to answer, but others are difficult and may take some time to answer. There are questions in which you don’t know what to do and are unsure as to why you have to answer (for example, “How do you like your breakfast?”).

However, for some business owners, the snowflake test gives them a good indication of the type of person sitting in front of them. The Silent Partner Marketing Company, a Connecticut-based company, created the snowflake test for precisely this reason.

The Snowflake Test: Where Did It Come From?

The Silent Partner’s CEO Kyle Reyes believes the test is the best way to find out which candidates would make great employees.

Reyes claims the questions on the test challenge the younger generation’s concept of “trigger warnings,” which can reveal which applicants are too sensitive for harsh working conditions.

The CEO believes that there are many entitled individuals who expect to be handed vacation time, rather than earning it. Instead of dealing with these individuals, he uses the snowflake test to “weed” them out.

Mr. Reyes defended his questions by saying that they are designed to determine an applicant’s work ethic and personality.

An employee survey question such as “When was the last time you cried? ” illustrates a possible employee’s heartfelt nature. A privilege question is meant to reveal whether a person has any privileges.

Most people agree with the purpose of the snowflake test to some extent. Nowadays, conflict of interest is a common problem in the workplace. Instead of investing in people who are bound to leave (because of attitude problems or because they are a “snowflake”), you may as well test your applicants thoroughly.

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