What do you call it when you job shadow at a company that facilitates job shadowing? I call it Job Shadow Inception.
I was recently contacted about a software development position at Betagig, a company that connects job shadowers with interested companies. I was excited about the idea from the start, but what really caught my attention was the chance to see what Betagig is really all about. Job shadowing allows people to see what a job is like. Even better, it allows companies to see what the shadower is made of. For me, it turned the normal interview process on it’s head.
Interviews for software developers can be tedious. The latest trend is to have the applicant ‘live code’. This means writing actual code while the interviewer watches. It’s like showing up to a hospital to interview for a surgeon position and being asked to scrub in.
Since you can accomplish the same task many different ways, coding is personal and somewhat artistic and the process to get from beginning to end is different for everyone. That’s where job shadowing shines, taking a grueling 3 hour interview and transforming it into an 8 hour, relaxing, informative, and fun experience.
I arrived at Betagig in a suit…nervous. I expected typical questions and tests. Pleasantly surprised, I was offered coffee and sat with Melissa, the CTO, for about half an hour chatting about various topics. We talked about their infrastructure and workflow a bit, but mostly we just got comfortable. Once we got down to business, I was given a task and left alone for a while. Nobody looking over my shoulder. Nobody asking me why I did something that way. Just a quiet workplace where I could ask questions and do some work and show them what I am capable of. I found the process refreshing and really fun!
When I completed the task, Melissa and I talked about what I did and how I felt about it. She was supportive and encouraging, partially because that’s just the kind of person she is, but also because that’s what job shadowing fosters; A low pressure, nurturing, learning experience.
I’ve since been offered, and have accepted the position. The experience made me believer in job shadowing and Betagig.