Trick or treat … or a job offer. Those were among the possibilities at a job fair held on Halloween night, when applicants and hiring managers dressed as Big Bird, the Grim Reaper, and other costumes. And they met in a bowling alley, of all places.
Job interviews can be enormously stressful. What to wear to give off that just-right professional-likeable vibe? How to respond to those annoying brainteaser questions that don’t really have any correct answer?
Interestingly enough, one company known for its offbeat, quirky culture decided that the best way to simultaneously put all parties at ease and encourage applicants and interviewers alike to let their guards down was to have them dress up in disguises. Or Halloween costumes rather, as the annual season hiring event for the outdoor retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering was held on Halloween this year. In its quest to hire 300 warehouse and customer service workers for the holiday season, the company invited job seekers to “to wear their Halloween costume and enjoy a free game of bowling,” at a bowling alley in Troy, Mich.
Normally, it’s unwise to wear a costume—say, Catwoman—to a job interview. But given the setting, and even more importantly, given the company doing the hiring, the costumes in this instance were all but required. Moosejaw, dubbed “the greatest place in the world to work according to the owner’s mom,” fosters an oddball, fun approach from top to bottom. On job listings, the upsides for working for the company include “a hammock lounge, dart shooting, a beer fridge,” plus “Rock-paper-scissors contests, ping pong, field days and good music. Oh and a karaoke initiation. No joke.”
If this all sounds like madness, well, you’re probably not a good match for the company. Moosejaw thoroughly embraces madness, using @MoosejawMadness as its Twitter handle and often employing the catchphrase “Love the Madness.” If someone is game for dressing up as Super Mario for a job interview, as the Detroit News showed one applicant do for the recent Moosejaw hiring event, that’s one indication he could be a natural fit for the irreverent, quirky, and eyebrow-raising culture pushed by the company.
In a 2010 Q&A posted on the National Retail Federation blog, Moosejaw’s creative director offered some oddball humor of his own, at one point comparing the company’s brand to “Jason Patric’s hair in The Lost Boys.” More importantly, he explained how Moosejaw goes about hiring people, and how one could see it might sorta make sense to have interviewers and applicants dressed in Halloween costumes:
Culture fit is critical. There are going to be people with great experience and talent that can do the requirements of a job, but if they don’t fit the Moosejaw culture we’re not going to hire them. I just heard a story yesterday about candidates for an assistant shop manager position being asked to show off their best dance moves.
At least they didn’t have to dress up like Big Bird.