The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Uber Asks Potential Employees To Jump Through 'Optional' Hoops

By Lisa White in News on Jan 16, 2014 7:40PM


Looks like Uber is taking advantage of a tough job market and putting the squeeze on potential new hires at the car service company. After sending out an email to subscribers yesterday, as well as posting on their Facebook page, announcing they were hiring in the area and were “calling all rockstars” (groan), they directed users to fill out a form. This form would “hit the fast forward button for a select group of standouts.” They promised to send a “short and sweet version of one of our usual tests” and then top performers (“most likely YOU”) would receive an invitation to an exclusive happy hour.

So if you are following along, fill out a form, take a test, you might be invited to a happy hour and THEN you can give them your resume. That's what the e-mail insinuated.

Well, some readers filled out the form and received an automated response informing them of their test; to sign up at least 25 new users to Uber using a personal code. Because “Uber Community Managers need to be hustlers.” Because you know, if you are searching for a job you have all the time in the world to jump through hoops. And Uber is such a saturated service, I personally can’t think of 25 people I know who do not use it already.

After a good amount of outrage on social media, Uber has clarified on their blog that the test is not mandatory. They sent us the following statement:

“This process and the additional tests are not a requirement to be considered for a position at Uber - the exercises are simply a fun option to fast forward the recruiting process and jump into the final stages of Uber interviews. If candidates prefer to apply normally and not complete the exercise, then that's totally OK as well. They will not be penalized. They can simply head to and apply. We’d love to get them in the mix as well.

Working at Uber requires intensity, creativity and a passion for how we are trying to change the world for the better. This exercise is simply a platform for individuals to demonstrate these characteristics in a fun manner.”

This information was not in the original e-mail to those that filled out the form. At this time, Uber just sent out a follow up e-mail to those that filled out the form letting them know the test wasn't mandatory. We're glad Uber clarified, but maybe state if something is mandatory up front. I mean you state up front that my Uber will cost me four times more than usual, why not here?

For the record, I applied for a community manager position at Uber January 9 of last year and my application still says “in process” so pimping out your slim chance of a future employer might still be your better option for a response at all. Looking for a job in an already difficult market is a draining endeavor. Receiving a canned response from a company citing “we’ll be in touch” is standard but receiving a test before even handing over your credentials seems like some HR version of Hunger Games. May the odds of finding 25 friends that haven’t used Uber ever be in your favor.