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In my first interview, my interviewer had mentioned that the team often goes out for happy hours, and there are social events outside of work. While I do enjoy socializing, personally I would rather not socialize with coworkers outside of work. I'd like to find out if this is an environment where these social events are required or the kind of place where no one would blink twice if you never attended, or somewhere in between. I don't mind the occasional event, but if there's a pressure to socialize regularly, I don't think I'd be a good fit for the team.

I've been trying to think of how to find out more without setting alarm bells off in my 2nd interview. I'm worried that if I ask, my interviewer will assume that I'll have issues working with people during business hours too! (The role requires a lot of interaction with other people.) Right now, I've worked out this question: "How do you think that an introvert would fit into the team?"

Would this question set off alarm bells for the interviewer? Or is it a good way of digging for details without making myself sound antisocial?

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    Why turn a specifically out-of-hours issue into something that would affect on-the-job behavior? It would be better to just ask the question you want answered - is attendance at out-of-the-office social events mandatory, expected, or voluntary. – Patricia Shanahan Sep 17 '17 at 14:55
  • @PatriciaShanahan Are you saying that sensible interviewers won't interpret a reluctance for out of hours socialization as an antisocial attitude that would impact the job and I'm worrying unnecessarily? – Student Sep 17 '17 at 14:58
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    @Student They might interpret asking what you want to know directly as such, but asking how an introvert would fit in is a much clearer signal that you might have issues dealing with people both during and outside of the job, thus asking the latter doesn't really make sense here. – Dukeling Sep 17 '17 at 15:30
  • Agree with @JoeStrazzere I would not ask this question. YMMV – Mister Positive Sep 18 '17 at 12:31
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I'd first like to state that "antisocial" and "introverted" aren't one in the same and thinking that you're coming off as antisocial makes it sound like introversion is a bigger deal than it actually is.

With that said, I'd think about what you're trying to get out of your question. You want to know how important it is to participate in these happy hour events off-hours so asking a question like "How do you think that an introvert would fit into the team?" isn't really going to answer that, considering that:

• Ideally, a team's going to have a mix of people who are extroverted, introverted, and in-between.

• Being introverted doesn't mean "doesn't attend office bar outings".

Just be direct and ask if there's an expectation to regularly attend these events. It does have the connotation of "because that's not something I really want to do" but if there's a major importance on that, then the you and the hiring manager should be on the same page about the job not being a good fit for you.

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Would asking this question in an interview make interviewers wary of hiring me?

It certainly would to some, you're basically saying you're socially handicapped. Each bit of information you give an interviewer carries a lot of weight, because that is all they know about you, they don't get a balanced picture.

This is something your interviewer mentioned, not a requirement for the job, possibly to make you think it's a happy friendly team. Remember an interviewer tries to impress candidates as well as get information from them sometimes.

I'd just ignore the reference to socialising and carry on with the process. If you land the job you can worry about it then. Jeapordising your chances because you're focusing on a remark made by an interviewer is not a good idea.

Best practice is to focus on the work aspects of a potential job. Deal with the social stuff when the time comes.

  • I don't want to join a company only to be job searching again a couple of months down the road. I have no qualms not taking or getting a job at an organization that's a bad fit. I don't want to give an interviewer the wrong impression, but not worrying about until after I'm stuck with the job is not an option. I need to find a way to do both. – Student Sep 17 '17 at 15:27
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    You can never be sure of that. If the interviewer had not mentioned it, but you got the job and found out it's a non stop party workplace, what then? Most workplaces have social events etc,. these are rarely compulsory in the first World, attend if you want, don't if you don't. – Kilisi Sep 17 '17 at 15:30
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    "you're basically saying you're socially handicapped" > Not at all, you could have big bunch of friends and weeks are only 7 days, so not wanting to spend more time than working hours with your colleagues. This is not being socially handicapped. – Laurent S. Sep 18 '17 at 15:26
  • @LaurentS. it doesn't matter what reality is, what matters is the recipients view of you based on their very limited knowledge. I mentioned this in my answer, the companies perception of a candidate is not a full story, so every little thing counts a LOT more. – Kilisi Sep 18 '17 at 20:22

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