Thoughts from a tree

Archive for January, 2011

The job search process was created by/for extroverts

Wow, I didn’t realize it had been so long since I last posted. I’ve been pretty occupied with the holidays, household stuff, and the job search process. I also did get a bunch of tie-dye done: AOL shirts and other stuff. Gary and I visited Virginia for our anniversary (8th) and while we were there we met with some good friends (who I miss!) and I gave a bunch of the tie-dyed AOL shirts away. Gary took pictures for me but I haven’t gotten around to processing them yet.

Contacts regarding jobs have continued to be frequent; I had to juggle phone interviews while we were on vacation in Virginia and I did not stay at my parents’ house as long as I otherwise would have after Christmas because I did not want to be without cell phone reception (in case job people called, which they did). I had an in-person interview in Gainesville (fl) yesterday, which makes both my third in-person interview and my third contact about a job in Gainesville (a weird trend, maybe its because the companies in Orlando tend to be bigger/more professional so they rely more on phone interviews?) I loath/dread interviews. I suck at them, not because I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, or don’t know what I’m talking about; I took business classes in high school and college; I even did FBLA. I’m just shy. Introverted and non-social (INTJ to be more specific), being put on the spot to answer questions and “sell” myself in front of a bunch of people I don’t know (whether in-person or over the phone) is extremely nerve-wracking. I can barely manage to talk; complex thought is out of the question; remembering trivial computer terms? – forget it!** And really, is this necessary? Are the majority of the really good technical people those who excel at dressing well, giving handshakes, and making conversation? I don’t think so – computer geeks are much more commonly known for lack of lighting and anti-social behavior. So why are people still trying to use techniques which strongly favor extroverts for introverted career types? Maybe because managers are themselves usually extroverted and they feel more comfortable with it? Not that everyone does, of course, and I applaud those companies that utilize alternative hiring methods. In fact, I think the main reason why recruiters have become so prevalent in the tech industry is to try and bridge that gap – bring in an extrovert to find and “sell” the introverts because otherwise the companies are likely to end up with mostly incompetent extroverts. But even using recruiters has limitations, and still usually ends up using some form of interview for the final decision. Far better are those that use tests or ask their interview questions over email. Tests that test problem-solving and critical thinking are better than ones that rely on specific knowledge by the way, but I’d rather take *any* test than do an interview. My first *real* job in fact I acquired solely on the basis of a test – it was for using Excel (I aced it easily) for a data entry position. The interview for AOL (both for the NOC and the later SA position) were not as difficult as normal because I already knew the people, at least a little bit, who were interviewing me. Tomorrow I’m supposed to find out if I’m hired for a job submitted by a recruiter – based almost 100% on a technical test I did; not only will there not be an interview, but I won’t even meet anyone from the company until (if hired) I report for my first day in. It feels a little weird, to not meet the people at all, but its probably the perfect hiring process for me.

** By the way, for anyone who disbelieves me based on AOL all-hands events: 1) I was at AOL for years before I started doing that 2) I felt like I was in a group of people that I knew/was part of and 3) I was physically shaking every single time the microphone was in my hand. – I also usually end up shaking when I do karaoke in public places…which doesn’t stop me from doing either – I’m the kind of person who likes to face my fears and try to overcome them (I just don’t like it when whether or not I get hired is heavily influenced by that weakness, despite the fact that my job performance will not be affected by it).