Comic Info:

I don't think we'll be satisfied until the applicants just run screaming from the room



Θωμας's picture

I take it that what is depicted in the comic is fairly benign compared to the sadism in that Monty Python sketch, but even so, I don't think messing with job applicants is funny. Why would you do that to anyone? Hazing... really? Are you really that bored?

Fuseblower's picture

Sorry, don't agree. If you want to find out in advance how people are going to react to situations they don't expect, this is a good way of doing it. Harsh? Maybe - but it works.

But hey, I would have asked, FWIW.

Jam's picture

Exactly this. Our jobs are highly variable, so being able "roll with whatever" is a huge component of success in the role. That, and the fact that we only have ~1hr to test for interpersonal fit. If they can't handle the dinosaur costumes... they're NOT gonna have a good time working with us.

Zephyr0's picture

You have any more of those Internships/co-ops? ;)

promatim's picture

Hey Jam, I love the comic, and a few years ago, I would've thought this idea was brilliant, so I hope you don't take what I write below personally.

I think that these types of interviews are really hurting the tech industry. Young companies place a lot of importance on "company culture," but when you really look at what it means to hire people who remind you of yourself, or who you want to be friends with, "company culture" starts to feel like a really unfair secret handshake. The results can lead to very homogenous companies, and can frankly sometimes be quite ageist.

Ask yourself how an equally qualified group of 25 year olds would handle this interview compared to a group of 45 year olds, and suddenly something that looked clever and fun starts to look like a big problem.

I've seen this happen in my own industry, games. At an old job, our company passed on an amazing Japanese concept artist because he was "too quiet" and "didn't joke around." It's fun to find friends, but so important to respect cultures other than your own in the workplace.

I'd like to link below to a great article from a senior programmer about the importance of turning interviews into personality tests.

Rashkavar's picture

This one isn't about company culture, it's about your ability to adapt. Interviews are good at gleaning what a person thinks about themselves. Any applicant knows to say they can adapt to unusual situations without becoming unduly distracted. Many might even believe what they're saying. Not everyone can actually handle being interrogated by a dinosaur. It stands to reason that slightly more average concerns like shifting deadlines and the like will be less distracting than the dinosaur outfits, but those who are totally freaked out by the dinosaur outfit will probably have more trouble with the mundane reasons to adapt, too.

Also, this is a co-op position interview - the majority of university students are in a very narrow age range, and the older ones tend to be at least accustomed to the younger crowd - I know of several cases (likely people Angela would have known at University, given she graduated the year before I arrived, iirc) where the oldest person at the table was also by far the wildest partier.

Mikeala's picture

Nyah, I'm younger than Jam and with you on this one.

Admittedly, I'm an introvert with a subtle sense of humour; but I deal in blue sky product development in fast moving consumer goods. I work with consultancies like the portrayal of Northwind. I'm pretty adaptable.

And I would leave if encountering a dinosaur in an interview - I'm pretty socially insecure. I'd think it was an inappropriate joke at my expense, and I wouldn't want to work with people that thought laughing at vulnerable people (an interviewee is pretty vulnerable) was a good idea. That doesn't stop me networking or getting on with my colleagues who I care about and have fun with. It doesn't define me or make me good or bad at my job, it just makes me a little wary of office banter.

Less personally, I agree that recruiting too many people who "fit in", can lead to a lack of diversity. Can you collectively be as creative if you all have similar perspectives? If your customers are global, does your team need to be global? How else can you relate to your markets? If your customers are all ages, does you team need to be all ages for the same reason? And so on.

Cultural fit matters, but isn't it less about personality and more about values? If your job requires that you do things that conflict with your fundamental values, then you probably will become frustrated, unhappy and demotivated in it. Clashing personalities and approaches (disorganised, wacky, quiet, systematic) are positive. Clashing core values (attitudes to safety, work-life balance, equality, fairness, remuneration) are not.

But this comic is hilarious. :) I've been to some pretty tough interviews. And one of my colleagues frequently wanders around on a Friday in a banana man suit with cake to perk us up before the weekend. But... no dinosaurs in interviews yet...

Jam's picture

I'm listening to you guys, I just have a very different perspective as an insider with all of the facts so I'm staying out of it in this forum. Please keep in mind that the comic, as always, represents a very small slice of a larger picture and a larger strategy that I'm not in a position to reveal. We do approach coop interviews differently from regular interviews. We are deliberately working to build an unusual company, and there's far more to it than just "wackiness" :)

I will say though that your commentary has generated some discussion within the company.

Sidhekin's picture

There's taking it in stride, and there's faking it in stride. Yeah, I would have asked.

jenake7395's picture

I can't wait until the applicant they hire comes in wearing a dinosaur suit on their first day of work. That's how you know you picked the right guy.

Jam's picture

Books and Cons oh MY

HEY EVERYONE did you hear that I'm still alive somehow!? I have a new book! You can get it!

I'm customizing orders RIGHT NOW, every waking moment when I'm not attending thousands of conventions or working that full time job thing that I do. I was already at Emerald and FanExpo before I even had time to think about making this blog.  Next you will find me at:

Calgary Expo: Apr 25-27 (not the Thursday)

TCAF (Toronto): May 10-11

VANCAF (Vancouver): May 25-26

These events will be phenominal!! The last ones are FREE to attend! COME SAY HI :D

"But Jam will you be at _____??" I don't know! Probably not, nothing else for the year is planned or confirmed. I might throw something onto the list for fall but definitely not for summer. ALRIGHT, that's all, I have to get back to everything SEE YOU SOON!

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