Last Tuesday, I went to a bank teller assessment with AmSouth Bank in downtown Chattanooga. I was one of three women being assessed. The recruiter, Shirley, appeared to be a generally nice lady, despite the vast amount of tightness she held in her face.

After filling out a general application, we three were told we would be watching a video with actors portraying tellers in a variety of situations and we would have multiple choice questions to answer. There would also be segments based on attention to check details, the ability to count currency, and an attitude test.

Before we started, Shirley asked if any of us had previous teller experience. I was the only one who raised a hand and when she asked where, I told her, “At Banner Bank in Seattle.” It was a bank she’d never heard of, but she believed me.

Before taking the test, Shirley looked at me and said, “When you take this test, be careful not to answer the questions based on what you were taught at your previous bank. It’s better to answer the questions as though you have no prior experience.”

I answered, “Okay,” but in my mind, I was asking, “How is that even possible?”

By the end of the test, I was ready to kick up my heels and say, “Of course you may hire me. I know you want to.” I was that confident in my answers.

When it was all over, Shirley came and collected our tests. She told us they would be graded and she would come back with our scores.

About ten minutes later, Shirley came back and asked for me first. I followed her into her office and she asked about the kind of bank Banner was. I explained it was a smaller bank, more focused on the customer, maintaining a solid relationship with them instead of the amount in a customer’s wallet–

“Well, you didn’t score high enough on the test.”


“And you won’t be able to take the assessment again until six months from now.”

“Can I see the test?”

“No. We fax them to our headquarters in Florida and they only send us the score back. I have no idea what questions you got right or wrong. All I know is the score.”


“That’s very typical for someone who’s been a teller before.”

“Well, thank you for your time, Shirley.” Thank you for wasting my time and gas money.

“Good luck.”

“Thank you.”



Banner never gave me an assessment test. I sent them an application and a cover letter, Ross called me for an interview, then a second interview, then he called to offer me the position. I got it because I was the right person for the job.

AmSouth wouldn’t hire me because of a number. A number on some test that I could not possibly answer as someone without prior experience, because I have experience!

How the heck am I supposed to get a job in banking if recruiters look at a number instead of at the heart? I’m just asking, how?

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