Tuesday, February 14, 2006

VD#3: interview blues

Reading Oreo's recent post about interviews took me down a few lanes of memory...

"Why were you holding back during the second half of the session?"
This question was asked by my one-on-one interviewer, after a day of "group interactions" with other Management Trainee candidates for this international consumer goods company (ice cream, shampoo, soap, cooking oil... u name it, they probably manufactured it!). We'd been put through two or three scenarios/case studies, and our interactions, opinions, conduct and whatever observed and noted. Followed by the final one-on-one interview with a high-ranking member of the management team.

So, for the first one or two scenarios, I was totally myself - leading, giving opinions, asking pointed questions, etc. But during that time, I could see that there were a few of us who may have been kinda overwhelmed by what was being asked of us, and had essentially withdrawn into their shells. I felt bad for them. I started to make it a point to draw out some of the quieter ones, by asking if they had anything to add, or what they thought of so-and-so's statement.

By the time we were at our last exercise, I'd pretty much taken the back seat, and only contributed when I thought the group was losing focus, or needed a different perspective on the topic at hand.

So, my answer to the question? Something like "I figured the observers would have already been able to get a good idea of me and my capabilities from the first half; I wanted to make sure the quieter ones would be able to show what they had to offer too."

A week later, I was offered the job.

Unfortunately, within a few days of receiving this offer letter, I received orders to report for an interview with my scholarship-provider (and I *had* a 10-year employment contract in exchange for that scholarship...). Not wanting to accept a job only to be forced to resign a few months later, I had to regretfully decline the job offer.

I still wonder how different life would have been if I'd said to heck with it and just taken up that management Trainee post...

Oh well...

"Hmmph, it's very easy to get a high CGPA in the U.S. if you know what easy classes to take"
I was taken aback by the attitude and tone of this interviewer. This time it was a two-on-one interview, again at the end of a long day of numerous modules of case studies, encompassing both individual and group activities. Having already gone through something similar a few weeks earlier, I wasn't too nervous about the proceedings.

But here I was, facing a middle aged man and woman for the final stage of the interview, two people who probably would have a large role in determining where I would be shipped to for my initial posting within the company that had provided my education scholarship... yet someone was being quite the unprofessional!

I think I had a 4.75 (out of 5.00) CGPA. Sure, I took some unusual (easy??) courses like tennis and bowling and Icelandic Literature and Italian and French, but on the other end of the scale I took a few graduate-level Chemistry courses AND did an undergraduate research thesis. There are only so many "easy courses" one can take, b*tch, in the end I would need to do well in both "elective" as well as my core Chemistry subjects in order to get such a CGPA, b*tch! Besides, she was making that statement based purely on the CGPA, NOT on the transcipt which listed all the courses I'd taken! Again: what a b*tch!

I thought it was very unprofessional of her to have said such a thing.

I don't remember anything else of the interview, not even my response to her pooh-poohing my results. I'm sure I answered in a carefully neutral manner, I instinctively knew better than to challenge her and her opinions at that time. I soon forgot the name and face of the b*tch, but I remember that situation well, since it gave me flavour of what to expect of the people I was going to be working with...


I've had a handful of other interviews thru the years; nothing outstanding tho.

I know I can look forward to a few different interviews once I'm back in KL,,, once I seriously start looking for something to keep me occupied and out of the apartment lah :p And while I know the main question I will need to rehearse an answer for would be "What have you been doing for the last 1.5 years?", it won't hurt to brush up on other typical/tough interview questions: the Random Interiew Question Generator from monster.com looks like a useful tool to use. Anyone else prepping for job hunts, see if it helps :-)

1 comment:

  1. off the topic...
    Happy Valentine's day!!!

    wih best wishes
    gangadhar

    ReplyDelete

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