Disruptive Interviews


There’s a good reason why some technology/thinking is called “disruptive”. Disruptiveness screws with the status quo; the nice comfortable bed a company has made for themselves. The bigger the company, the harder it is to deal with disruptiveness. But disruptive people and technology can have real impact. So sure, being disruptive is risky but the rewards are also great.

Knocking the exuberance out of employees is a great post on the Creating Passionate Users blog about this kind of thing. While it never mentions the word “disruptive”, I think that’s exactly what it’s about.

I just wanted to point to that blog post and say I agree with it 100%. I absolutely fall into this camp and I want every prospective interviewer and client to know it. Yes, responsible disruptive people can be used to your advantage! Having said that, I take my Software Engineering degree very seriously and I balance the disruptiveness with my education and experience.

I also wanted to extend the blog post into the interview realm. If you really want to screw up an interview with most big companies, don’t be a “robot” (a term used in the linked blog post). That’s a great way to not get the job.

I’m torn on it though. People expect technical interviews to be a certain way. I’ve had enough of them between co-op and post-graduation to recognize the established protocol. Most interviewers are looking for pre-prepared answers to the non-technical questions and perfect answers to the technical ones.

Interviewees are supposed to be glad for the opportunity and interviewers are supposed to do their best to find the interviewee’s weaknesses that (unlike the interviewee’s supposed strengths) aren’t laid out explicitly in 12 point Times New Roman on the freshly printed resumé in front of them.

Have you ever tried to dig for the interviewing company’s weaknesses in an interview? Ever asked about their process? That’s kind of disruptive — to put it lightly — and not looked well upon.

So what am I torn about? Well, if a company can’t handle me being a little curious and disruptive in an interview, how well can they handle it when I’m an employee?

I don’t want to be beaten into a “robot”. I have a natural interest in and excitement about technology — a PASSION for it — and I will NOT let it get beaten out of me for a paycheque. On the contrary, I want to cultivate my passion into an asset for my employer and/or clients.

I don’t want to have to leave a company after less than a year because they expected me to be a “robot”, I want to find a good fit. So I interview the interviewer(s). Why give the impression that I’m a “robot” when I’m obviously — have you read my blog? — not one?

Will it be harder for me to find a job doing this? Yes. It’s hard for any non-“robot” to find a good job. But who said life was going to be a cakewalk?