The Anti-Interview for Introverts

A recent article on Forbes, titled “The 10 Best Jobs For Introverts“, got my attention –  I found it curious that software developers were not on list, but I also wondered: How do companies interview Introverts for Geoscientists or a Court Reporter positions? It got me wondering if people tend to have pre-conceived notions about what the interview process is and how it should work? Does it vary much by industry?

Over the years I have had the opportunity to work for some great companies and with amazing people, each workplace unique in its culture and industry. While the process varied in the initial email or phone screening,  eventually the one common step was to bring me in for that formal interview.

Ugh. Take the entire day off. Shave, shower, put on the suit and tie, parade into a conference room and fend off the barrage of questions that run the gamut from theoretical to why you left a company 5 years ago. I’ve come to dread it. I know, it is a formality, eventually you have to show up and let folks get to see you in real life. But does the process have to be so stressful? Can it be relaxing? Fun? Educational? Can I be the one asking most of the questions? I have to sell myself but so do you.

Here are my 5 key items for what I call the “Anti-Interview”:

  1. First, you have to understand that I’ve done quite a bit of research already about the company, the products and services, and the people who work there. Sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn can have a wealth of information on what your interview process is like, if your employees are happy, and whether or not compensation expectations match up. I’m going to have questions. Lots of them.
  2. Let me show up in the same level of dress my future co-workers do every day. If they are rocking flip-flops, shorts, and a t-shirt, I want to as well. Chances are you won’t see me this dressed up again. I’m going to feel more comfortable dressed casually and hopefully you are too.
  3. Conversations during informal meals and activities are ice-breaking and ground-breaking. There’s no pressure to provide definitive answers to questions, and the conversations can flow more freely. Interested in a challenging project I’ve worked on? That goes well with a burger and a beer. Want to know if I’ll be a good fit for the team? Pair me up with your weakest Foosball player and lets do best of 5 tournament.  Want to pitch me on your next big product? I’ll do best with a large whiteboard and a couch to kick back on.
  4. I depend heavily on “knowing where to go to find the answer” if I don’t know if off the top of my head. My strength is problem solving not memorization. Recalling parameter orders for PHP functions is a exercise in futility and I always get inner and outer joins mixed up when writing out  SQL queries.  I’ve been working in the industry for 15+ years but the code flows from my mind to fingertips, not from my mouth.
  5. I feel much more comfortable in one on one sessions and small groups. When I come to work with you If I run into a roadblock it’s more likely I’ll swing by an individual’s office or desk, not round up the entire team into a conference room for 20 questions.

So I pose this question: What do you call this informal process? Are companies doing this? Do you feel this way too? What are your thoughts on Anti-Interviews for Introverts?