Same-day exams test job seekers

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Same-day exams test job seekers

For many college graduates seeking white-collar positions with high paychecks at two of Korea’s most desirable companies - Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group- this year may be their worst year ever as the two conglomerates’ employment exams both were held Sunday.

In the morning, when temperatures fell below zero and people would usually be sleeping in, subways were packed with job seekers heading to Dankook University High School in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul. Tense-looking Samsung Group hopefuls busily flipped through notes.

With clocks ticking toward 8:30 a.m. and all entrances barred until the start of the employment exam, parents dropped off their children by car.

One exam-taker sat in a classroom, hands together and eyes shut tight, praying for a job.

“This is my third attempt,” said 28-year-old Chae Joon-hyung. “I really want to get into Samsung Electronics’ network business unit.”

The employment entrance exam prepared by Samsung Group - the Samsung Aptitude Test (SSAT) - is known by job seekers as the April version of the College Scholastic Aptitude Test.

In the first half of last year, a total of 50,000 college graduates competed for about 4,500 positions.

This year, however, Hyundai Motor Group’s recruitment exam - the Hyundai Kia Aptitude Test (HKAT) - also took place Sunday, forcing job seekers to make a choice. It was the first time that Korea’s two biggest conglomerates have held their employment examinations the same day.

The conflict occurred when Samsung Group postponed its recruitment schedule for two weeks to modify procedures. Last year, Samsung held its employment test in the first half in March.

Web portal communities, where job seekers share information and tips, had a heated debate. Many job seekers anticipated that top applicants were likely to choose Hyundai Motor Group as it requires passing a first round of screening test in order to take the HKAT. There are no special requirements for taking the Samsung Group exam.

“Korean was fairly okay, but math was difficult,” said Lim Dong-hoon, who applied for a researcher position at Samsung Group.

Job seekers who finished the Sunday exam posted messages on bulletin boards at Web portal communities that up to six people were absent in an SSAT classroom that could accommodate 30 test-takers, whereas there were as many as four no-shows in a classroom that accommodates 70 applicants for the HKAT.

A survey jointly conducted by JoongAng Ilbo and Incruit from April 4 to April 6 showed 60.2 percent of 800 job seekers said they would choose to work at Samsung Group if they can take exams at both chaebol.

By Kim Young-min []

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