Read about Karthik’s experience of confronting the interview panel and how he faced his fears. Karthik is a student of WordsMaya.
I remember the time when I had just completed my 12th board exams. The results were out and I had managed to do quite well. It was the vacation time and I was holidaying with my family and relatives. I must say it was the best time I ever had with my relatives. Instead of giving me a hard time they seemed really interested in me, wanted to talk to me. It took me a while to realise that it wasn’t me that they were interested in, but the plans I had in mind for my future. Yes, that’s right “MY Future Plans”. How do you think I replied? I was fifteen then and I had hardly seen any difficulties in life. But I was smart, or so I thought. I had it all figured out. I had selected what course I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it from. I would clear with distinction and companies would come in flocks asking about me and one would prize me away for the highest paid salary. It was simple, all I had to do was perform and I was gold.
Fast forward four years and there I was sitting along with all my other friends waiting for my name to be called out for the interview. I was excited, mostly nervous, but still excited. I was sure I would get in. I had the best portfolio, I had completed several projects and had maintained a distinction throughout. Any company would love to have me. I was sitting there eagerly waiting. I had dressed well, unlike others I wasn’t sporting a tie but nevertheless, professional enough. My name was called, I went in and there I was sitting in front of the industry professionals. They were nothing like my lecturers. They seemed to be from some different planet altogether and the questions they asked me made no sense. The interview was so bad that at one point they even asked me if I really got these grades myself. Needless to mention, I didn’t get the job. My dream of companies chasing me shattered. I was hit by reality so hard, it took me a while to get back on the feet.
So what did I learn that day? Is it that I am dumb and I was just lucky to get those grades! No, no, I was still smart and it was not luck. So what happened there? Where did I go wrong? I realised that no matter how you perform in the academics what matters is how you perform where it counts. Grades will help you get through the filtering process, but cracking the interview solely depends on the skills you possess. I realised that interview was this monster guarding the gates that lead to my dream job and to get in it was necessary to tame the beast.
I am no expert on this topic, but in a weird way this is what makes me the right candidate to pen this down. All these experts who tell you what to do and what not to do are usually based on their experience of conducting several interviews. They know what they look for in a candidate. In comparison, I have negligible experience and I certainly don’t have a clue as to what they look for in a candidate (or else I wouldn’t be here typing this blog). That is what makes us similar, so you are here reading this. My experiences may not make you any better but will certainly give an idea as to what to do and what not to do.
For starters, it always helps to read all the tips by the experts in the business. But they are experts in their own field. They may be working for the same firm for years all together and so all the views they provide are slightly biased towards the job profile in their company. It is important to note that we are the best judge when it comes to us and only we know what is best for us. Others can only have best interests for us. So, take advice from everyone, listen to each and every tip they give. But only do the things that come naturally to you. Don’t force anything on to yourself, you will only come out as pretentious.
After my fiasco at the first interview, I did all the above-mentioned things. I read the do’s and don’ts. I asked people for tips on how to crack the interview. I applied all those things to myself and there I was standing at the door to the interview room, a new ‘me’. What happened? I failed even more miserably. I didn’t get selected but I couldn’t even manage to get a smile on their face when I was leaving. Where did I go wrong now? I answered all the technical questions and I did everything everyone asked me to do. So why didn’t I get it? The answer is they never really got to know me. They got all the answers they sought, but they weren’t my answers. They were answers from the experts and my friends just coming through my mouth.
I lost all hope. I felt like a looser. I went on to pursue higher studies and I promised myself I would be true to me this time and will work really hard. Pfff!! Yea right! Like that will ever happen. Let’s face it! We are not great not even close. But does that mean we are unemployable? No, there are people worse than us and they have a permanent job. I am sure they never read any blog like this before the interview. But they still got it. Yea? We are doing everything right here. But that is the problem. We are doing everything right. If everything went right in the universe the earth would have never been formed. Imperfection is necessary. Beauty lies in the imperfection. It is necessary to accept this and only when you do this you would be perfect for the job.
I gave three interviews since then, I got the job each and every single time. I had the liberty to say no and so I did. I am waiting for the right job and until then I am just figuring out the imperfections in me. So you ask, what changed? I changed. Interviews are tough not only on us but also to the people concerned with us. But it is important to note that life doesn’t stop there. You are the right candidate for the job and that is why you are shortlisted for the interview. So you are virtually selected. They just want to know your attitude. The first time I went for the interview, I was perfect on paper but I was too timid for the role. The second time, I came out brave but I lacked the conviction.
For all the interviews I attended since then, I made it a point to go in with an open mind. I practised some basic questions but not the words just the basic idea. How I would say it, will depend on the situation inside. It is like talking to your crush the first time. You usually think of the conversation you would have, then you muster up the courage to go and speak, you talk but you don’t get the reply you thought in your mind, you blabber, you lose. It goes the same way with the interviews.
I made it a point to dress well. It usually boosts my confidence. I know I look good and when someone turns around to sneak another look at you,it only makes you feel better. This confidence projects on the interviewer, trust me. He/ She knows you are nervous, but they want to know how you deal with it. I have a unique way to deal with my nervousness. I listen to songs. Not just any song but the item songs from sleazy Bollywood movies. It brings out that small mischievous kid in me and that is when I am able to think on my feet. I also engage in a friendly feud with my friend. It not only helps me take my mind off stuff but it also helps in being quick-witted. These are things to do before the interview.
During an interview, be bold. Remember the monster I mentioned earlier. The monster is no easy cookie to crack. You need to be strong, you need to be determined. You need to train yourself that it is the only thing you care about and that you would do anything to get it. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Look into their eyes while talking. Keep your chest out and head high. They know you are scared but they will respect the fact that you are taking it well. Try and steer the conversation towards the things you are good at. Use your words carefully, don’t mention something that will unlock the doors to your weaknesses. That is what they are looking for. Most people think it is necessary to give the answer right away. It is not true. Take your own sweet time. Try and understand the question and answer accordingly. If you don’t understand the question ask again and if you don’t know just say it. The interview is not all about the technical stuff. They want to know if you would accept your weakness and if you are someone who takes credit for one’s mistakes. Basically, be yourself but just project the best of yourself. And you can do it only when you feel the best about yourself. So pamper yourself, do everything that will make you feel better about yourself and go for it. It is not difficult, trust me. You just need to find your wind and go with the flow. All the best.
About the Author: Karthik has quite the motley personality. An independent guy and keen observer of human behaviour, he is intrigued by anything and everything related to outer space. He loves learning new things being curious as a cat and champions healthy competition. Karthik has his way with words and WordsMaya believes that he has the make of the perfect blogger. Keep writing Karthik, the internet is waiting for more from you!