Quite strange how fast tables turn. I recall the time I was on the other side so vividly like it was just yesterday. Now, here I was, lounging on its “plush” side; yeah, I call it so because that’s what it appears to the other party which we will hence forth refer to as “the interviewee”. And for purposes of this little recount, I’ll refer to us, the people on this side as “the interviewers”… (Just had to give it a little touch of professional wit)
In attempt not only to groom, mould and refine one lucky person but also to increase the hands in communications department, we had decided maybe getting an intern student wouldn’t be a bad idea. The issue was raised to the MD who told us “you need an intern, get an intern!” well, not in those exact words but that was the implication anyway. It got me thinking, how the h* were we going to do that? My colleague was on it, a few phone calls, a few discussions and later, a list of people who were shortlisted to come for interviews. Dates were set and we worked on the interview template. I won’t bore you with the details but am sure you know how it all goes down.
Due date, which some interviewees may prefer to call “slaughter day” came sooner than expected. By 7am, we had arrived at office. Given it was a Thursday and the fact that we redefined weekend to start on Thursday, 7 felt more like 5am… but I was quite excited. It dawned on me that starting from this day, someone that I might not recall in a week or two will meet me on the street and say to themselves “I don’t like her, she failed me” or anything close to that. Well, that was a difficult imagination to let sink in but I didn’t have to think about it for long, Interviewee #1 had arrived.
And guess what… I know even if you guessed you wouldn’t get it right (I can put my money) ‘cause it was the most unimaginable and unexpected thing ever. I mean, no one on this globe has ever pulled a stunt like that. So I’ll save you the brain-scratching and just give it to you, the guy had showed up with a friend. (Let me allow you a second for the mind boggle ‘cause I am sure you didn’t see that coming) Seriously, who does that? I was left speechless with my mouth agape wondering what on God’s planet was happening. Was he insane or something? I was already biased but I had to be cool. I said to myself “he better be so damn impressive”
The two days flew faster than I thought, I guess because most people were just clueless and I found it hilarious. I just hoped I wasn’t like some of them when I was in that seat not so long ago.
It kept getting better.
The final interviewee on Friday evening was the best candidate, well; you can refer to the popular saying “save the best for last” or is it “he who laughs last laughs best!”
He is part of the ICL family now. It’s just sad that at the time he came in, I had stepped out to attend to other duties. I have to take my revenge though, surprise attack maybe, ideas are welcome.
1. I have gone for my fair share of interviews and what I can say is that the format is basically the same. Only your nerves and interviewer faces change. And maybe a small twist here and there; there always is, though sometimes it’s just the words, you know, the ‘is’ and ‘was’. One of my favorite classics that I really would love to hate but unfortunately hate to love is “Tell us about yourself.” Funny thing is that it’s always one of the first questions but most of us fail miserably at it because we disregard it during preparations. I mean, you always think “if there is anyone that knows me best, it’s me so I don’t need to waste time” but that’s just wrong. Look up formats on how to present yourself and try to stick to the chronology as much as you can ‘cause you want the interviewer to live your life, if only for that moment.
2. Throw some hints on the peak moments of your life especially the academic and professional achievements. But you don’t have to overdo it; you don’t want them to think you’re so full of yourself.
3. Carry a notebook and a pen. You want to exhibit some kind of seriousness, right! No one cares what you just scribbled there, it could be some doodles or a stick man.
4. Do your homework. A Google search on the company and what it’s all about isn’t rocket science and good thing you can do it in another tab as you update your facebook status on the next.
I was shocked when this young girl (God bless her) was going on and on about how she was going to be an asset to the company and blah blah…you know those things we always say to impress… so I asked what she meant by that and if she knew what we did and she goes like “you guys are surgeons, you train surgeons!” I was shocked, I wanted to hide under the table ‘cause I was embarrassed on her behalf at the same time sorry for her, poor little girl!
5. Polish your computer skills. As the world goes digital, you don’t want to get stuck in the analog space. You can start with the basics, Microsoft office maybe.
6. Set yourself apart from the crowd. You aren’t the only one being considered for the position.
7. Maintain eye contact for at least 50+% of the time. We all know the ceiling isn’t that attractive to capture all your attention.
9. Exude confidence and positive energy. This alone might not get you the position but it will go a long way. And if you start the interview with some great energy, don’t lose it after some minutes. You started the show, be kind enough to finish it.
10. What are your future plans? I’ll let you think about that.
11. First impression is key. Before you even say the first word, the merciless judges “interviewers” will critique your wardrobe. Be official in the way you dress. You aren’t going for a fraternity party for crying out loud.
“The tingling sensation, the churning of the stomach, the racing heart beat when you are stuck in that seat and not forgetting the legs that all of a sudden become paralyzed and too heavy to carry you when you’re pondering on whether to run out the door, that’s not fear, that’s the sign that you want it so bad… so go ahead, get a hold of your future”