My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Census Bureau Official says Senator Schumer Was Misled: The Truth About Census Jobs

MyTwoCensus has received a contribution from a Census Bureau official (verified to make sure this person is for real but with her full anonymity protected) that will serve as a response to our recent story from Indiana:
Several weeks ago, I was in a test session where an applicant told me that he heard about the census from an announcement by Senator Chuck Schumer on the nightly news.  The Senator said the work would pay pretty well and go anywhere from ten weeks to six to eight months. The applicant was nonetheless shocked when I handed him this piece of paper which said that the test he took was for work lasting only one to three weeks…(SEE ABOVE DOCUMENT)

As there is much confusion, I thought I’d write this letter to clarify some misconceptions. The first myth is the census will begin hiring in early 2010 which has some truth to it. There will be several smaller operations and a small number of office positions but the number of jobs is neglible (less than 5%).
The majority of jobs will be in May 2010 for the Non-Response Followup operation where enumerators will knock on people’s doors and ask them to fill out a questionnaire. The second myth is that the jobs last anywhere from ten weeks to six to eight months. According to this sheet of paper, it will last up to three weeks.   In fact the embarrassing part is no one really knows how long the job will last.
However from November 2009 to April 2010 the Census Bureau is on a mission to recruit tens of thousands of people based upon a model they will need five applicants for every one position:
* because one person will decline the position (doubt it, the unemployment rate is in double digits)
* one won’t show up to training (doubt that will happen for god’s sake the unemployment has been the worst in any census in a half a century)
* one won’t complete training or pass the test (they assume the applicant pool is inherently dumb which isn’t true because of the high caliber of applicants in the recession)
* and one will quit the first week (ok that might happen if you don’t like getting the door slammed in your face)
Based on my experience I can tell you we have had very high test scores, few job refusals and high retention of staff. If this continues it will result in many people not getting hired. The Census Bureau is wasting money recruiting all these people for a small number of jobs. It needs to rethink this ridiculous model because as we all know they already made the startling admission that their cost estimation models are completely inadequate  (just look at address canvassing and group quarters validation).
Most areas are already meeting their recruiting goals but we have trouble recruiting in more affluent neighborhoods of New York. In typical census fashion when goals aren’t being met they throw bodies at it and hope it improves. They hire recruiting assistants (RAs) based off a test score and ask yes/no questions during the interview. You answer yes to all the questions you get the job. Every week they hire more recruiting and partnership assistants. There is no organization, they just ask you to take a whole bunch of brochures and cards and give them out in the hopes you will get people to take the test.
Everyone has the same ideas: visit church groups, public housing, non-profit organizations so there is duplication of work. When the recruiting goals aren’t being met RCC intimidates and offers little constructive help. There are regional technicians who just go around and tell us we’re not recruiting enough people…(especially this short Asian guy with a Napoleon complex and some guy who snoozes during meetings). They don’t seem to understand that no one wants to take a test for the possibility of a job a few months from now, lasting only one-three weeks for $18.75 an hour which barely pays the exorbitant rents of $3,500 a month. More test sessions are scheduled and more clerks are hired but the phones don’t ring anymore than they did last week. Judging by the way they do recruiting you think this is the first time they are doing this. But they’ve been doing this since the first census in 1790. (okay maybe they didn’t have to recruit workers on horseback but it seems like an amateur operation).

The Census Bureau needs some innovation here:

* track recruiting efforts by putting a unique code (corresponding to each RA) on each brochure so there is an incentive everything they hand out results in someone applying
* commission or compensation linked to performance
* targeted media ads in local newspapers (which I have yet to see)
* get the Census road tour vehicle out there or have recruiting assistants tranform their cars into promotional vehicles
* reaching out to business improvement districts and unemployment agencies to advertise their jobs

Track recruiting efforts by putting a unique code (corresponding to each RA) on each brochure so there is an incentive everything they hand out results in someone applying…And while they are at it someone should reevaluate this model which I know is wrong. They need to stop throwing needless money away to recruit people who won’t even get called. The model is get as many bodies to take the test, offer a small percentage of them jobs and tell them it will last eight weeks. Then headquarters realizes there isn’t any work, other areas are working faster and they are running out of money.
In order to save themselves embarrassment they will rush the operation because the quicker they finish the better they look and the less money they have to spend. Get the hopes up of thousands of unemployed Americans who need work to put food on the table. Rinse and repeat.
So if anyone is listening to me. We don’t need more people, we just need better workers, better leadership and a more realistic recruiting model. Perhaps this recruiting speech might be more fit:
Hi I’m a recruiting assistant with the United States Census Bureau. We’re offering jobs in your community, as an RA I can’t tell you how long the jobs will last. The jobs may last eight weeks, but will probably be more like one to three weeks. I actually don’t know because our leaders at Census Bureau headquarters don’t know either. I do know you will need to take a basic skills test in reading comprehension, math skills and reasoning. However if you don’t get a perfect score and you’re not a veteran you may not get hired. On a lasting note you will make good money for a few weeks, then headquarters will realize they overestimated the workload, over staffed the operation and are running out of money. To make themselves look good they will probably tell you to work faster, do a haphazard job or risk being terminated. Are you still interested in a job?

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39 Responses to “Census Bureau Official says Senator Schumer Was Misled: The Truth About Census Jobs”

  1. Anonymous CL Says:

    Good post, but in the title – “Census Bureau Official says Senator Schumer Was Mislead: The Truth About Census Jobs” – the word ‘mislead’ should be either ‘misled’ or ‘misleading’.

  2. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    whoops, no spell check for titles so missed that one. thanks CL!

  3. FactChecker Says:

    I read the WIVB article and the comments of the “Census Bureau Official” and I can’t find anything that says the Senator was misled……..except in your headline. How did you determine that somebody misled him?

  4. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    He was either misled or lied. Most of the jobs are not going for the length of time he mentions, but rather one-three weeks. What do you think Factchecker?

  5. Jaylenoluver Says:

    This article is absolutely right. When it was first announced the 2010 Census needed workers, the news spread like wild fire and people signed up in droves to apply and take the test, including myself.

    The application and testing procedure is a total joke. On the one hand, when you schedule an interview, you are told that the test will take 30 minutes and then you are instructed to go on-line to fill out the job application. You are told to bring the completed app with you to speed the process along. But when you arrive at the designated testing facility, you are told by the facilitator that the process will take 2 hours. What?? One gal at my testing location pleaded that she was on her lunch hour and could not stay for two hours. The facilitator could have cared less. The applicant finally got up and left.

    And the reason it takes two hours is because 85% of the people don’t bother to go on-line and complete the app. Before the facilitator will administer the test, they allow all the idiots who didn’t bring a completed app to fill one out. Factor in all the dumb questions, slow writers and the fact that the facilitator has to check everyone’s i.d. before the test can even begin and you’ve already killed over an hour.

    After sitting around waiting for all the inepts (who shouldn’t be working as census takers to begin with)to complete the job app, the test finally starts. But not before everyone is instructed that if they complete the test before 30 minutes is up, they must remain seated. Seems that getting up and leaving might distract the other test takers. What??

    All this for a lousy 3 week job? Typical government bureacracy! It’s not worth it folks.

  6. RA In Houston Says:

    I am currently an RA in the Houston Area and everything said here is true. In the beginning there were ads on T.V. and radio and articles in the newspapers. This helped raise our weekly averages. Now the ads have stopped and the phones are not ringing,so we are told that we must go door-to-door to recruit, even in the affluent areas. We are told that there may be college-aged students in the home who would like to work for the Census Bureau.

    We have been told many times that someone from the RCC may be sitting in one of our test sessions so we must never vary from our scripts. This makes it very hard to tell people the truth about the jobs in a testing session. I always stress that it MAY last for up to 8 weeks, but I find it discouraging to get peoples hopes up for a job that may or may not call them and that may only last a few weeks.

    I think this will be the last assignment I take from them since I will not be an enumerator.

  7. My Two Census » Blog Archive » MyTwoCensus Editorial: Tell us the truth! Says:

    [...] we reported a major discrepancy over 2010 Census jobs: For months, New York Senator Charles Schumer (D) and dozens of other elected officials have [...]

  8. Techy Says:

    Strange. Our office always says to be prepared for a two hour testing session.

    And the jobs ARE scheduled to last 6 to 8 weeks. The reason they don’t is because the people working those jobs are able to complete the work sooner. The quicker you do the work, the quicker the job ends.

    In addition, we always stress these are temporary positions capable of being extended or shortened at any time, and always encourage people to go for the longer term job then to accept a position with us, if they have the choice to make.

  9. Techy Says:

    Also, anyone who chooses a temporary job that pays 2-4 dollars more an hour that lasts for, at maximum, 2 months, over a job that’s full time (or even part time) that doesn’t have a specific end date… is kind of clueless.

    You don’t go for a job that lasts for less than a season if you can have a long term job, unless it pays insanely well.

  10. unemployed Says:

    @Techy

    many unemployed people hope that the census job can help them pay their bills in the short term, and they hope that the economy will be looking brighter in a few months when the census job finishes so they can get back to whatever profession they belonged to prior to working for the census.

  11. Bailey Says:

    @Techy

    Then why do appointment schedulers instruct candidates to go on-line and fill out the application and bring it with them to the interview? You people must know not everyone is going to do that. The people who follow your instructions are forced to cool their heels while blithering idiots unable to follow simple instructions take nearly an hour to fill out the application! When I went through this fire drill, one guy kept asking the Test Proctor if his past criminal record should be disclosed on the application.

    I also finished my exam early and was forced to remain seated while the same morons who couldn’t properly fill out a simple job application finished their tests. Why punish the people who arrive prepared?

    Now I learn that the Census Bureau will only hire Veterans (who get 10 points automatically added to their score) and people who score 95 or better on the test??? What a travesty for the unemployed seeking legitimate part-time work.

  12. Techy Says:

    “many unemployed people hope that the census job can help them pay their bills in the short term, and they hope that the economy will be looking brighter in a few months when the census job finishes so they can get back to whatever profession they belonged to prior to working for the census.”

    Which I completely understand and hope will occur for them.
    However, I was speaking of the person who gets the Census job, and then finds out the same day they ALSO received an offer for a full-time, non-temporary position. It just pays less.

    The person who chooses the Census job over the permenant one is an idiot who isn’t looking towards the future, they only see “bigger paychecks” with the Census job because it pays 3 dollars an hour more.

    Which it does. For about two months maximum. Good move Sherlock.

    “Then why do appointment schedulers instruct candidates to go on-line and fill out the application and bring it with them to the interview? You people must know not everyone is going to do that. The people who follow your instructions are forced to cool their heels while blithering idiots unable to follow simple instructions take nearly an hour to fill out the application! When I went through this fire drill, one guy kept asking the Test Proctor if his past criminal record should be disclosed on the application.”

    Because if you type and print it out, its easier for the Admin staff to read and enter correctly? I’ve seen some of the applications people write. They’re horrible. It’s the same reason anyone prefers typed resumes over written. It LOOKS BETTER.

    No one ever expects everyone to do it online. In fact, in our LCO, typed/online applications are the exception, NOT the rule.
    Also, while your local office may ask people to do the apps online, that is not official policy, and isn’t done at our LCO. We SUGGEST it, but it’s in no way MANDATED.

    And the “blithering idiots”, as you so nicely put it, have every right to be there as you, and ARE considered when the testing occurs, which is WHY said testing is said to take approximately 2 hours, which is something every LCO has to say when they SCHEDULE people. It’s on the sheet your info goes on! If that DOESN’T happen at YOUR LCO, then YOU need to discuss that with a regional office, because that? Is not kosher.

    “I also finished my exam early and was forced to remain seated while the same morons who couldn’t properly fill out a simple job application finished their tests. Why punish the people who arrive prepared?”

    The test takes 30 minutes. If you finish early, good for you. If you don’t finish on time, too bad. You don’t get bonus points for finishing early, though you do get the benefit of going over your test, to make sure you didn’t make a mistake somewhere. But of course, you’re not the moron or blithering idiot, so you would never need to do such a thing.

    “Now I learn that the Census Bureau will only hire Veterans (who get 10 points automatically added to their score) and people who score 95 or better on the test??? What a travesty for the unemployed seeking legitimate part-time work.”

    You know what I said about morons and blithering idiots? I take it back. This entire point is completely false. The Census hires people based on FEDERAL employment guidelines for positions that are competitive via testing.

    In those guidelines, those with the highest scores are chosen. HOWEVER, veterans (and sometimes spouses, etc. depending on the circumstances) receive either a 5 point OR 10 point bonus, depending on their service (5 points for a honorary discharge, 10 due to injury/wounds/etc received while serving).

    Those with higher modified scores will ALWAYS be chosen first. Those who have 10 point bonuses will usually score higher, and if the score is the same as a non 10-point vet, they will be considered first.

    THIS OCCURS IN ALL FEDERAL POSITIONS WHERE THE CRITERIA FOR INTERVIEW IS TEST SCORING. It doesn’t matter. US Post, Census, FBI, whatever. If you serve and you bleed, you get special consideration.
    If you don’t like it, then ask your congressman to get it changed. Good luck with that.

    Also, I find it amusing that veterans seeking “legit part-time work” getting this bonus somehow makes it a travisty for those who don’t.

    News Flash: If you score MORE than a person with a 10-point bonus (say he had a 82 modified to 92, and you had a 95), YOU get interviewed first! Anyone who says otherwise or that ONLY vets are interviewed is full of crap. Period.

  13. Techy Says:

    Here’s a link with more information on vet preference.
    http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-employment-preference-points

  14. Bailey Says:

    @Techy

    You failed to answer, “Why punish the people who arrive prepared?”

    Your whole application and testing procedure, with the exception of the I-9 document verification, could be accomplished on-line. Why not be honest with candidates and disclose your hiring policies concerning Veterans? I never saw that in your brochures! Why don’t you explain that an individual cannot miss more than one question to make the cut for consideration? Perhaps some honesty in the process would go a long way to clearing up the confusion you guys have created by your burdensome anti-discrimination policies. Make it known up front that the reason the process takes two hours is because the U.S. govt. has to give morons a fair chance to get a job, i.e. postal worker who cannot even deliver mail to a correct address.

    Also, I didn’t expect bonus points when I finished early. All I expected was NOT to be treated like a kindergartner and be ordered by some low-level bureaucrat to “stay in your seat until everyone finishes.” I had a job I needed to return to!

  15. Techy Says:

    **You failed to answer, “Why punish the people who arrive prepared?”**

    Because it’s not a punishment to wait for others, when you are told the testing process itself is going to take 2 hours.
    It’s like going to an all you can eat buffet and being “punished” because you are quickly and are full while everyone else is still eating. You agreed to go to an event until such a time as the event was to be finished. In the Census Case, two hours approxmiately, in the other example until everyone is full. In neither case are you punished.

    ***Your whole application and testing procedure, with the exception of the I-9 document verification, could be accomplished on-line.***

    It could. But it isn’t. You chose to test anyway, so you obviously didn’t have that much of a problem with it until after the fact.

    **Why not be honest with candidates and disclose your hiring policies concerning Veterans?**

    We are. We fully explain this to anyone and everyone, either over the phone when we first get the info (i.e. “If you’re a veteran with an SF-15 make sure to bring it as you can qualify for x and y…”). If not, it’s FULLY explained during the testing itself. If you didn’t understand, you could always ask for clarification on this at any time. Or, as you stated about testing, the entire Federal policy can be found online. It’s not a secret, and it’s something thats occurred for years, if not decades.

    **I never saw that in your brochures! Why don’t you explain that an individual cannot miss more than one question to make the cut for consideration?**

    Because you can still make the cut. Test scores are not the only indicator. If, for example, you score higher then anyone else in your neighborhood, you will be chosen for an interview. Score, geographic location, work availability on your end, all of these contribute. To say missing one question causes you to fail would be lying. And I don’t do that.

    ** Perhaps some honesty in the process would go a long way to clearing up the confusion you guys have created by your burdensome anti-discrimination policies. Make it known up front that the reason the process takes two hours is because the U.S. govt. has to give morons a fair chance to get a job, i.e. postal worker who cannot even deliver mail to a correct address.**

    And by this statement I can tell you truly have an unbiased and actual opinion, and aren’t flaming the process or griping just to be a jerk in any way whatsoever.
    In other words, your attitude is offensive, and if its indicative of your regular personality I would be surprised you’d be able to attain a position flipping burgers, let alone a position with the Census.

    **Also, I didn’t expect bonus points when I finished early. All I expected was NOT to be treated like a kindergartner and be ordered by some low-level bureaucrat to “stay in your seat until everyone finishes.” I had a job I needed to return to!**

    Then you should have been prepared to spend the full amount of time at the testing area like an adult, and not expect to be treated like a kindergartner and be allowed to leave because you were done early… for no reason.

  16. Bailey Says:

    @Techy

    Call it “flaming” or “griping” but all you’re doing is parsing words and defending a process fraught with errors and dumbed down for the lowest common denominator. Your logic is flawed as well. If I call my doctor and schedule an appt. for 1:00 p.m. it goes without saying that I will more than likely not be seen at exactly 1:00 p.m. However, if I look at my watch and see that it’s 1:40 p.m. and my name has yet to be called, I check with the receptionist. If the receptionist tells me that the doctor is not going to see me until every patient before me has exited the building and arrived home safely, then I would find another doctor.

    Your testing process is much the same scenario. If someone arrives prepared and finishes early, they are supposed to stand around and wait because others work more slowly. You’ve got to be kidding me. Census employees conveniently fail to disclose this “fine print” during the telephone call knowing if they do, people will be discouraged from applying. What a racket.

    I also find it very interesting that some immature government employee being compensated with my tax dollars has all this time to respond to comments posted here and no doubt on other sites as well. Now THAT’S offensive!

  17. Techy Says:

    **Call it “flaming” or “griping” but all you’re doing is parsing words and defending a process fraught with errors and dumbed down for the lowest common denominator.**

    Except that the errors in this case seem to stem from you finishing the test early and being upset you didn’t get special consideration to leave, despite the fact you were most likely told multiple times that the process takes approx. 2 hours.

    **Your logic is flawed as well. If I call my doctor and schedule an appt. for 1:00 p.m. it goes without saying that I will more than likely not be seen at exactly 1:00 p.m. However, if I look at my watch and see that it’s 1:40 p.m. and my name has yet to be called, I check with the receptionist. If the receptionist tells me that the doctor is not going to see me until every patient before me has exited the building and arrived home safely, then I would find another doctor.**

    Which is your right. However, this is called a “false analogy”. It’s a logical fallacy. Doctor appointments are not testing appointments. In addition, you were told that the full process would take 2 hours, approx. It’s like going to any test where you’re told the process will take X amount of time and you must be there for the entire process. If you get upset because, lo and behold, the process is going as scheduled, then the fault is in one person. Hint: It’s who you see when you look in a mirror.

    **Your testing process is much the same scenario.**

    Except it’s not, as stated above.

    ** If someone arrives prepared and finishes early, they are supposed to stand around and wait because others work more slowly.**

    Yes. Which is communicated to all applicants as part of the procedure for accepting a test date. This is no big secret.

    **You’ve got to be kidding me. Census employees conveniently fail to disclose this “fine print” during the telephone call knowing if they do, people will be discouraged from applying. What a racket.**

    Proof of this? I’ve so far heard about 50 calls today for people, and in every one I paid attention to, the two hour time has been communicated. EVERY. TIME. If this isn’t communicated then you need to contact the office where it occurred, as that is not Census policy. Also, if you’re labeling the entire process on a violation of Census policy, then shame on you.

    **I also find it very interesting that some immature government employee being compensated with my tax dollars has all this time to respond to comments posted here and no doubt on other sites as well. Now THAT’S offensive!**

    Yes. Because I’m at work, right? (Hint: I might not be at work. I might work nights. I might work from home. I might work weekends). You seem to be full of assumptions, friend, and you know what happens when you assume!

  18. Techy Says:

    Also, as for immature, I’m not the one insulting people by calling them morons and idiots and whatnot. This is what is called “Transference”.

  19. Bailey Says:

    @Techy

    Again, interesting logic albeit twisted. Of course, it’s easier to pigeon hole this whole debacle rather than admit mistakes were made.

    Last summer, I took an entrance exam for a graduate program. During the ON-LINE signing-up process (what a novel idea!), it was disclosed that applicants would have 4 hours to complete the exam. Nowhere did it say if we finished in under 4 hours, which I did, we would be forced to wait around until everyone else finished. On the day of the exam, the test proctor never said, “if you finish early, stay seated until everyone finishes.” When I was done, I got up, turned in my scantron sheet and left for my job.

    When I signed up for the Census exam, I was told the exam would take 30 minutes. It was NEVER disclosed to me that if I completed it early, I would have to wait for any examinees who had not finished. I was also never told that the exam isn’t even scheduled until after the interminable wait for the morons who cannot follow simple instructions completing a job application.

    MyTwoCensus.com should be applauded for exposing how the Census Bureau miscalculated its workload. And thanks to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, this site is being linked over and over to show how ludicrous the application process is. Especially for jobs few will ever get.

  20. TR Says:

    It’s completely incorrect to say that you can only miss one question on the test to be hired. During address canvassing, in some areas we were hiring people who missed more than half the questions!

  21. Techy Says:

    **Again, interesting logic albeit twisted. Of course, it’s easier to pigeon hole this whole debacle rather than admit mistakes were made.**

    Yes, because I never admit mistakes the Census has made in this project. Oh, wait, I have. In this case you’re wrong.

    **Last summer, I took an entrance exam for a graduate program. During the ON-LINE signing-up process (what a novel idea!), it was disclosed that applicants would have 4 hours to complete the exam. Nowhere did it say if we finished in under 4 hours, which I did, we would be forced to wait around until everyone else finished. On the day of the exam, the test proctor never said, “if you finish early, stay seated until everyone finishes.” When I was done, I got up, turned in my scantron sheet and left for my job.**

    That’s nice. That is their choice. Just as its the Census Bureau’s choice to… not.

    **When I signed up for the Census exam, I was told the exam would take 30 minutes. It was NEVER disclosed to me that if I completed it early, I would have to wait for any examinees who had not finished.**

    The exam IS 30 minutes. The entire process takes two hours. If you can’t comprehend the difference, then you have some issues beyond this.

    **I was also never told that the exam isn’t even scheduled until after the interminable wait for the morons who cannot follow simple instructions completing a job application.**

    It must be nice to be perfect like that… HOWEVER, that is incorrect. The process is told to everyone who calls and signs up. In addition, it’s on the Census website. A go-getter like you should have been able to do the five minutes of homework necessary, or, heck, just made sure you understood the people on the phone rather than assuming you knew everything (but wait, I forgot, they’re probably morons too, right?) the process before you arrived.
    If you REALLY had an issue with the test, you COULD leave any time. Your test may or may not have been invalidated. However, no one says you can’t take it again, knowing. But it seems to me you’d rather call people morons and mock a process that YOU didn’t fully understand.

    **MyTwoCensus.com should be applauded for exposing how the Census Bureau miscalculated its workload. And thanks to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, this site is being linked over and over to show how ludicrous the application process is. Especially for jobs few will ever get.**

    The Census employees tens of thousands of people. The Census receives hundreds of thousands of applications in an economy like this. Anyone who thinks that only a small percentage of people will be chosen is an idiot, deluded, or naive.

  22. Bailey Says:

    @Techy

    “Yes, because I never admit mistakes the Census has made in this project. Oh, wait, I have. In this case you’re wrong.”

    What? Alleging that I am wrong is your admission that the Census Bureau has made mistakes? I’m not employed by the Census Bureau. If I was, why would I have subjected myself to their inane application process?

    Kudos to MyTwoCensus. This site must be getting quite a few hits with all of the links being posted on social media sites. Keep up the good work. The Census Bureau has made huge errors and they definitely need to be exposed.

  23. Joe Crede Says:

    What’s the odds that Bailey is really SRM in disguise?

  24. recruiting in circles Says:

    You don’t have 2 hours to test & go through the APPLICATION PROCESS, but how much of your precious time did you spend posting here about what an amazingly prepared, speedy test-taker you are?

    The test is given in a controlled environment, which is disrupted if all of you super-geniuses finish early & start turning in tests & leaving. Some people need the entire 30 min. to finish their test without distraction. This doesn’t mean they are idiots, there are lots of reasons why some people don’t work as fast as others. Not to mention, there are ALWAYS applicant folders that require some corrections or additional information to be completed after the test is finished. If you leave as soon as you finish the test, your paperwork will probably be turned in incomplete.

    I agree that this site is very important and there are lots of incompetencies to be exposed throughout the census bureau. If I were you, and no one told me it would be up to 2 hours for the entire process, I would have been upset, too. And yes, it’s frustrating to take time out of your day for something like that, but you had the choice to leave anytime. You are obviously just mad that no one gave you a gold star and told you how superior you are to the rest of the applicants. I’d rather work with someone who scored a 10 but doesn’t think they’re better than everyone else. You need to get over yourself.

  25. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Joe – It’s not me in disguise. There really are frustrated people out there, I assure you. – Best, Stephen

  26. Techy Says:

    Plus, while I may not agree with SRM on certain issues, he doesn’t devolve into some of the attacks made by certain people.

  27. Anonymous CL Says:

    There are many things about the recruitment process that could be improved, but for someone to be SO frustrated with the testing process and speed, I think is a sign that Census work wouldn’t be a good fit for that person.

    - Census workers need to be patient and not easily frustrated with government processes.
    - They are trained by listening to step-by-step verbal instructions for several days (and doing workbook activities).
    - They have to fill out tons of paperwork, often redundant paperwork. (If you disliked the application paperwork, just wait till the first-day-of-training hiring paperwork; and that’s only a drop in the bucket to the on-the-job paperwork.)
    - They have to patiently help the public fill out paperwork, many of whom are not very bright and/or not very fast.
    - They should be calm about waiting for delays when necessary.
    - They should have an inclination to review/double-check their work when possible.

    So although someone may earn a high test score demonstrating they have the skills to be able to do the job, I think some people’s reactions to the test experience may demonstrate that they don’t have the personality/mindset to be comfortable doing the job.

  28. Pleb Says:

    Geez Techy, r u laid off from census or what? U seem to have enuf time to write a novel or something.

  29. Pleb Says:

    BTW, what the fu– is that gov’t doc.? I can’t even begin to read it.

  30. Anonymous CL Says:

    The document pictured at http://www.mytwocensus.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/RECRUITMENTfinal.bmp is a very poor-quality copy, in a poor-quality file format, of a handout given to Census job applicants in one Census region. Here is what I was able to decipher from it in about 15 minutes.

    CENSUS 2010 ??? (NY ?? Region)
    You have completed an important first step in the job applicant process.

    Your score on the test is: ______
    Missing information: _____________________
    Local Census Office Name: ________________

    IMPORTANT: Please call ______________ to schedule a time to supply any required missing information as indicated on this document above.

    Be advised that your application will not be processed until you have supplied all of the required information that is indicated above as missing.

    ******************************

    WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT

    Hiring for field and office 2010 Census jobs at Local Census Offices will not begin until early 2010. All Census jobs are short-term, temporary employment positions. Census field positions, in general, will last 1-3 weeks. There will be some smaller field operations beginning in March 2010, but the greatest number of jobs will be available in late April 2010. All hiring is done by available workload in specific geographic areas, your hours of availability, language skills as needed in some areas, some areas also require a car, and your score on this test. Be advised most Census field positions for 2010 require evening and weekend work when most people will be at home.

    A small amount of office positions may also be available at a lower salary rate. Be sure you have marked your application form with your preference(s) for office and/or field jobs.

    Remember, taking the Census Test is not a guarantee of employment, and and taking and passing this Census Test is not a guarangee of employment.

    When the Census Bureau begins contacting qualified candidates (who passed the test) for employment, it will be done in test score order and by telephone. If we cannot reach you by telephone, we will attempt to contact you by mail. Be advised that we have had an enormous response to our Census Test in some areas, and we may not reach some candidates who passed the test but have a lower score. For example, 70 is the minimum passing score. If you received a score of 70 to 80 on the test, the Census Bureau may not be calling you to work in your areas because we have more than enough candidates who scored much higher on the test.

    NOTE: If you move from one address to another or one apartment to another, or if you change your telephone number, please call the telephone number above so that your application can be updated. You may also call 1-866-861-2010 to retake the test to get a higher score.

    Thank you for your interest in 2010 Census employment.

  31. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Apologies for the poor scan, but I took the document as it was given to me. For some reason on my computer it looks quite clear. If you click on it, it makes it larger, and then if you zoom in further it makes it easier. Thanks so much Anonymous CL for typing that out – Stephen

  32. Scott P Says:

    I just wanted to repeat this because it is a great explanation of why you are instructed to stay in your seat until the 30-minute exam is over.

    “The test is given in a controlled environment, which is disrupted if all of you super-geniuses finish early & start turning in tests & leaving. Some people need the entire 30 min. to finish their test without distraction. This doesn’t mean they are idiots, there are lots of reasons why some people don’t work as fast as others. Not to mention, there are ALWAYS applicant folders that require some corrections or additional information to be completed after the test is finished. If you leave as soon as you finish the test, your paperwork will probably be turned in incomplete.”

    I would also like to add 2 other important reasons.
    1) At many/most testing sites, there is only one Census worker giving the exam. If a group of people got up to turn in their test at the same time, one person could easily slip out of the room with the test booklet. When it comes to keeping their test booklets & answer sheets under lock & key (so that everyone has an equal chance to score well), the Census Bureau takes that very seriously.
    2) There is a post-exam script to be read which may provide important information to applicants.

    ***
    Regarding the “you must score perfect to get a job” comments, that is total BS. It all depends on the numbers of workers needed in your particular area. If you live in a neighborhood full of unemployed geniuses, then you might need a 100.

    Regarding the length of jobs, I was hired as an Enumerator in Spring ’09 & told it would last 16 weeks. It ended up being 1 week of training & 2 weeks of work. Yes, that sucked. But no one on my team quit, they all worked 40 hours/week, & the process went faster than expected. In other words, they hired smart, hard-working people who got the job done quickly & accurately. From Dec ’09 to present, I have worked Census office jobs in Recruiting & now Admin. It’s far from perfect (we get several head-scratching directives from the Regional office &/or our LCO mgmt every week) but we deal with it & get the job done.

  33. My Two Census » Blog Archive » Census Bureau Press Office Responds To Our Controversial Jobs Post Says:

    [...] Monday, we published a controversial post about the length of Census Bureau jobs, which we learned from a Census Bureau insider are [...]

  34. Bill Says:

    I was hired for the UL operation and we finished early. While the job was supposed to last till the end of March, we had 3 days of training, about 9 days of actual work and it was over my March 8. The funny/sad part is that the job was over before I even received my first paycheck. I was told by my crew leader / FOS that we will be assigned work in the next upcoming weeks.

    However, I just talked to my crew leader the other day and she said chances are we wont start up again till we train for the next phase. She said her training is the 2nd week of April and then we would train shortly after.

    My question is, do I automatically get rehired for the next phase (Nonrespnse) or do I have to get a call from the local or regional office?

    I think my crew leader is under the assumption that she will have the same crew but who knows. The communication between crew leaders / FOS’s and local office management and regional office is absoultly horrific.

  35. Michael Says:

    I applied for a census job about 6 weeks ago. I took the test and got a score of 97. My background check is underway and the local census office has told me to call back weekly to see if the background check is done. The door to door jobs that they are hiring for may only last for a few weeks, but some of them will last longer. Where I live they will be working for most of the rest of the year. They try to place you in your area for the door knocking jobs, but if you are willing to work in other areas your job will last longer. Dont make this into something that its not. This is a temp job only and the census bureau is not obligated to make these jobs last longer just because there are alot of unemployed people. By the way, I have been out of work for 2 years as of next week, so I need the job as much as anyone else.

  36. My Two Census Blog Archive Census Bureau Official Says Senator … | Health Plans Insurance Jasmine Vincent Says:

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  37. Rich Says:

    I got hired for the group quarters enumeration. 15 enumerators hired in my district for maybe 2 enumerators worth of work. Everyone showed up for training, noone dropped out. I got paid for training and a few hours attempting to count the homeless which was a total waste of time. Haven’t heard anything since. I don’t mind getting paid to do nothing, but I anticipated more than a weeks worth. It’s disappointing.

  38. Elaine wonders? Says:

    I like Rich was hired for group quarters enumeration by the Census bureau. In my Pennsylvania district, 22 individuals were hired for training but only 5 of these actually received work hrs beyond their training. I too had been assured of 8 wks of full-time employment. However during our actual training session we were informed that there was really very little work for us. The expectation was that it could be completed in only 1-2 wks. I wonder how widespread this phenomena is particularly in light of the recent job number reports that indicate 48,000 Census jobs were created. Are 80% of those positions really 2 day-training stints? If so are the jobs numbers really misleading? Or worse still was the over-hiring by the census department really premeditated to make Obama look good? I would like someone to followup and determine just how widespread this phenomena was since it likely played a critical role in Obama’s supposed job recovery success touted late last week in the news.

    Have the new Census hires across the nation experienced the same thing? I would hate to think the government is being dishonest in elevating jobs numbers in such a manner.

  39. My Two Census » Blog Archive » Breaking News & MyTwoCensus Investigation: The Census Bureau has failed to pay thousands of employees! Says:

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