I always get lost in the ‘I versus We’ wording in respect to interviews and tests. Yeah I work with people but conveying that in a blind-date manner of dialog, is really difficult. As a person who is used to working in a team setting to split task load, yet also focused on accomplishing things… trying to draw this divide is difficult.
Being personal here, I tend to be a quiet person initially in social situations. Listening to dialog and finding the gateway of actual conversation points and not just empty filler or overt bragging is difficult. I also would consider myself a high anxiety individual. I completely understand that handling pressure is a desired trait and I can handle that. However (particularly in uptime / service / it disciplines) I think it is unhealthy to pretend that those roles are not high-stress. Even if your systems are on point and everything is running fine, you have the likelihood of the unexpected issue, how to find the fault and get things back in shape, while also knowing what the actual fault condition was, to resolve it. We can call that the fault of an inquisitive mindset. Sure, why not.
If you read this far, let me take a pause. In public spaces it feels like the bravado of ‘I have all these things in check and know these platforms’ is a bit daunting. When meeting people I want to let them talk and share experiences and add to the conversation by any relevant experiences or opinions I may have. I have a scatter-brained thought pattern where an immediate result does not always come up, as upon being asked a question, I draw it out in my head and / or on paper. When trying to recall past things, it can be daunting and lead to self doubt of your abilities, until being able to step back, plot out the thoughts visually, then laugh at the ease to resolve, simply because of wording gaps or how someone else is presenting the challenge.
Personal relationships are important and do not instantly form on their own. Social dialog is tricky because lots of good dialog depends on your ability to know your target group and their language. Using like wording to convey the core resolutions and verbal queues of how you access something is in a fault state, is pretty huge. Especially if you are doing after-hours support with a team and want to briefly say:
“Hey. That site was sideways broken with this bullshit going on here. I did some stuff to mitigate the issue for now, but I have these logs and copies of bad transactions that something we made did not account for. We can jam that out in the morning, but TL;DR fault condition happened, is working now but here are some details we should look into to avoid this later on”.
If this post serves any purpose, I hope it is to invite more people into conversations and bring more inclusion. Especially when people are stressed out, trying to meet more people, on the blind introductions, can be really exhausting. This comes from someone who had people who I came to consider friends and family from old workplace teams to say something like:
“I had no idea what the hell you were saying at first, but shortly after I got your reference points and enjoyed the way you worded concepts and processes.”
As most of my friends also say, “I learned Pico-nese”. My dialog tends to adapt words based on who I am around and by reading facial responses of people I talk to, for that sense of “Am I verbally making sense or just talking out loud without the middle-logic being spoken, that I consider a constant known in my head”.
I will end my inflection rant there. This post is more an observation on social interactions and less of my phishing for interviews. Some people like tests and bars of entry, others like conversations and a progression flow of personal and technical dialog. Rating score systems also can be viewed as completely asinine to some people (namely, me) because a 1 to 10 point scale does not really factor into the HUGE gap between perceived “Pro” to “Expert” tier ratings. Same for novice ratings, really. If doing something very difficult, successfully, but fairly unoften, likely may not gauge on your personal proficiencies, due to not being able to readily recall the process or entire scope of effect. 90% knowledge is great, but that final 10% is massively higher a gap that the basis of information needed, to hit that end-point 100% comfort gap. Kind of like leveling a character in an MMO.
Someday I should contemplate the notion of hiring an editor for speaking with people by text, but that feels really cheap. I would vastly be happier saying something that was viewed as wrong, than to be silent then be stricken by the very issue I tried to verbalize. Lucky for that, this is why drawing, whiteboards, analogies, dank memes, test environments and other visual aids exist.
To condense this sea of opinions and observations: It is difficult to give merit to perceptions different than your own. Even on a latent level, I feel the interview and particularly tech scene, has unspoken escape clauses that shoehorn persons into being dismissed. I could ramble on for days on how that seems to be more of a global societal fault too. If you find yourself glued to a trigger word, try to pause and ask for elaboration on the context. Once again, scratching at the internal thought process, and perceived constants that you (or who you are talking to) may not have qualified enough.
Writing technical documentation is one thing, then there is trying to illustrate a mood or opinion. I’m here to widen the conversation. Especially since some of the most inspiring and ingenious people I know, tend to have no such opinion of themselves. I’m here to learn and try to get some laughs and grins added into the process.
Otherwise, it can just feel like watching the clock tick.