My Job Interview Story - A Story of Intimidation At An Interview
I applied for the position of management trainee advertised by a leading beverage manufacturing company in my country in 1996.
The first pre-employment aptitude test was done in December 1996. Fortunately, I scaled the aptitude test and was shortlisted for the second aptitude test.
The second pre-employment aptitude test was done sometime in February 1997. Fortunately, I scaled that too and was invited for the third stage of the recruitment process.
The third stage was a group interview where the candidates for the interview were divided into groups of ten candidates. My group was called in and we were seated in a half-circle in front of the interview panel.
The task before us was pretty simple.
We were given two topics from which to choose. The topic we chose would be the one each member of the team will discuss.
We got together and after much back and forth movement, we opted to discuss the subject of agriculture.
Now it was time for the individual task. Each person was to share his perspective on the subject for one minute. We appointed a time keeper and the show got under way.
Each person was given one minute to address the panelists from his seat while others listened. The presentation started from the person to the right of the panelist and went from person to person until the last person.
Some couldn't talk on the subject for up to one minute. Some spoke for over one minute and were stopped by the time keeper.
What was the panel looking for in the candidates?
I suspect its group behaviour, teamwork, and confidence.
Whatever the purpose, we completed the task and the interview was over for the day.
A few weeks later I received a letter inviting me for the fourth interview stage . . . one-on-one interview with the interview panel.
The Chap Who Tried To Intimidate Me At The Interview After My Long Journey
I had crossed three stages of the pre-employment tests and I was determined to get the job.
I needed the job badly because my current job was not paying the bills as it ought to. I was barely making ends meet.
I sat before the panel and introduced myself. Then I handed photocopies of my credentials to the interview panelists.
The panelists then started throwing questions at me. I wasn't a genius, but I managed to stay calm, comported, and confident. I answered the questions as best I could and even offered a smile when it seemed appropriate.
Then one of the panelist threw a question at me that I didn't have an answer to. He wanted me to tell him the percentage of carbon in a particular grade of metal. I told him I didn't have the information but its somewhere in my books and I can easily get it.
He got really mad.
"Are you not an engineer?" he screamed. "You should have that kind of information at your fingertips!"
I explained to him that I worked as a maintenance engineer and much of my work does not involve working with metals. It's not information I used regularly, so I didn't know the exact constituents of these metals by heart. But I knew how and where to get the information.
That did not satisfy him. In fact, he spoke so angrily that I had to take a second, closer look at him to see if I had offended him in some way prior to the interview.
Luckily, that was the only question I couldn't answer of the lot that was thrown at me.
Soon, the interview was over and I went home to wait.
The Waiting Game Is Over!
Would I cross this stage of the pre-employment interview?
I didn't know for sure.
I was particularly worried about the passion with which one of the panelist struck at me as if we had a quarrel prior to the interview. Was he someone I had met somewhere and that was now on a revenge mission?
I didn't know.
Three weeks passed and still no word from the company. Yes, I was worried.
A week later, I received another letter from the company inviting me for the fifth stage of the interview.
I was so excited I smiled all day.
The fifth pre-employment test stage was meeting with the directors of the company. That went pretty well and I was dead sure that I had impressed them enough to get the job.
About a month later, I received my employment letter.
I was victorious! I nearly jumped through the roof!
Believe me . . . success is sweet!
I went on to work for the multinational beverage company for over 10 years.
Don't get ruffled in an interview. You may not know all the answers, but don't get ruffled or shaken.
If you don't have the answer to a question, don't supply a stupid answer. You will simply look stupid and spoil your chances.
Don't have the answer to an interviewer's question?
Simply say so. And say it confidently . . . but not arrogantly.
Don't get ruffled!