There are lots of things that time covers. Wonderful events that experience buries in the dark. Formal job interviews have not preceded the previous jobs I had taken up, so I was nowhere near my colleagues when it comes to employment assessment expectations.
I had always gotten enrolled into the payroll of companies through referrals and recommendations from friends and acquaintances so I never had the slightest idea of what employers look out for during interviews.
It all began to dawn on me, several months after I found myself in the labour market following the aftermath of a corrupt union negotiation. I had submitted my rich and well constructed CV with high optimism that I would soon be called as the company in question was in need of a position I could competently fill.
The Friday following was the interview and as expected, I received a phone call to come for assessment the Thursday preceding. Interestingly, from that moment, till the time I hit the road to go for the interview, I practically did nothing.
I thought I knew it all! With over 7 yrs experience on the previous job, my assumed ‘sharp brain’ and my exposure, I felt I had it all!
The assessment started with an aptitude test, which caught me off guard! It was like if all the answers to the questions started ‘downloading’ only when I had submitted my answer sheet! I know I didn’t do well in the test, but for my CV, the HR manager wanted to meet with me.
Just like the other applicants, I was called in to meet her. I was so sure I would take her on because I knew I had a good command of English language. The moment I stepped into the interview room, it was like my confidence walked out on me!
After answering the first two questions, I knew that I was on my own! Then came the big question! Where do you see yourself in the next five years? For the first five seconds, I blanked out. Suddenly I sensed the need to visit the restroom. What kind of question is this? How am I going to answer it?
I knew I had done very poorly at the interview as well. On a parting note, the HR manager said to me, “I expected better from you”. Of course, any employer would. I was a lot younger and my CV was indeed a ‘promising ambassador’.
The job was a position in the oil & gas industry and I must confess it really hurt. I know mypPrayers were answered. At least I got a very good opportunity to sell myself but I didn’t. It was my entire fault. I didn’t make any research about the company, likely interview questions and employer expectations etc.
I got home thinking for so quite a while how best I should have prepared for that interview, especially that bombshell question, where do you see yourself in the next five years!
Today, I can spend the next twenty hours counseling and grooming applicants on the most emerging interview tactics and best practices. Even with my eyes closed, I can write a book on how to succeed at interviews and what employers want. My current job gives me the opportunity of meeting people and guiding them towards a defined and strategic career path.
I know if some of them had known how badly I did in my first employment assessment; they would score themselves an ‘A’ at their first interview attempt.
How did your first interview go? Will you like to share your experience with us?