“If you can make sense of my unintelligible patter – then the job is yours and Hudson’s Floor Wax really doesn’t matter”. Mr. Graydon tells this to Millie Dillmont after he has her go through a speed typing test. This is a form of screening, and screening tests to obtain jobs are common. The federal government has exams to get many civil service jobs, for example.

A counterpart to screening, which is done by firms or the organizations looking to add a member, is signaling. Signaling is done by the person who wishes to obtain a job. Some with extreme views even think that the main purpose of college is that it provides a signal to future employers.

I think a quality college education does help the graduate acquire useful skills. That said, there certainly is a signal you send when you graduate from college. Even graduates from the same university can send different signals on their ability by earning different GPAs, choosing different majors, serving in extracurricular activities, getting recommendations from key people, and more.

Discussion Questions for “The Speed Test”

Link to Lyrics for “The Speed Test”