How I miss the good ole days of Interviews when you could lie through your teeth and get the job. Nowadays Interviews have been replaced by coffee and pastry chats in five star coffee shops.
Interviewer: Would you like some coffee or tea?
Interviewee: A glass of water please!
Interviewer: You are not very ambitious are you?
Interviewee: err Coffee please.
Interviewer: ...and rather indecisive too!
Interviewee (sweating): Can I have some juice instead?
Interviewer: *sneer* What a loser!
( you can never win I tell you)
During first year college when we English Interns were quite in demand to do the menial work of Communication people in IT companies, Interviews were 'Interviews'. Good ole "Tell me something about yourself" kinda Interviews.
My first Interview for a summer interns job was a couple of years ago. We had numerous Corporate Communication Managers and executives (mostly ex students) making a beeline to our college armed with HR executives who were in turn armed with an attitude fortified with really bad English, to shortlist potential candidates. Now the term 'potential candidates' had a lot of connotations. Potential could mean, the person with the highest marks in communicative English who got surpassed for the person who had spent the whole day at the beauty parlour prior to the Interview or it could mean someone who was on Sister Principals hit list for writing a blasphemous but highly popular article in the college newsletter titled "Dress Codes are for Nuns and Losers!" (now don’t be judgmental folks. I spent a good one week researching and writing that article. It was supported by solid facts and figures from the college canteen).
Now coming back to my narrative, I had checked the credentials of most of the companies coming for campus interviews that summer and found them lacking on many fronts. Number one – they were too far away from the nearest mall, Number two – they were too far away from the nearest movie theatre and Number three – they were too far away from anywhere.In short...I didn't want to work that summer :(
I had many plans that summer like going to Ooty and bird watching and taking part in the protest by Environmentalists in the Nilgiri's. Now these protests are very important social movements that teach you to walk in single file on Nilgiri roads without getting crushed by speeding tourist buses. (You also learn a very important lesson from peaceful protests... that no one cares till you turn violent. )
Once we even had a top forest official come out and address our rally. A very stupid move indeed he realised later on. I mean here we are standing outside the collectorate surrounded by some exotic fauna when we espy some exotic birds decorating the trees. As we were happily snapping pictures the forest official booms on the mike "Ladies and Gentlemen!!" If looks were darts, the forest official would have been a very highly populated pin cushion indeed!
The birds flew away with a squawk and the official had to face the wrath of the teeming multitudes!! That is 5 pair of very angry eyes indeed!! (err...Well 4 pairs to be precise as I was halfway up a tree chasing a Verditer Flycatcher). We were later told that the official meant no harm and all that he wanted to say was "Ladies and Gentlemen, please get off the lawn!!" ( in our defence I have to say we cannot read sign boards in Tamil especially when we are standing on it.)
Anyways I am deviating...again! Back to our narrative... one fine day I was handed a notice signed by Sister Principal that said that I had to attend an Interview for an Internship under Ms Hotair, the Corporate Communication Manager of Dotbust Corporation and before I could say "but I didn’t apply for this Internship” I found myself standing in the cold Reception of Dotbust Corporation. (it is here I learnt the origin of the term “Cold Reception”).
The cold reception was manned by a cold Receptionist with a smile so frosty that it would have Father Frost very hot under the collar indeed. College girls are dime a dozen besides they ask silly questions like “Can I come tomorrow? I have something urgent to take care of today”. So it was no wonder I was treated like a disease vermin. Soon I was called for my very first Interview.
Interviewer (absent mindedly): Tell me something about yourself.
Me: Hi! My name is Silverine. I am 19 years old, AB very +ve *wink* Cancerian …but I can be a Taurean or a Gemini or an Arian if you want me to be baby *slow wink *. I love life in the fast lane …hire me and watch me burn your Exit door. And *purrrr* do you know how to apply suntan lotion? *suggestive look*
Well…I didn’t say all that but I don’t think he would have blinked an eyelid or stopped snoring if I had. I gave him the usual ‘Introduction’ a.k.a. “tell me something about yourself” that the college counsellor had made all of us Xerox. During those days the interviewers could guess the educational institution by the ‘Introduction’.
HR Exec: How many of you here are from MCC College?
A few hands go up.
HR Exec: Girls please omit the last five lines of your “Introduction” when you go in. It is kinda tedious if you know what I mean. No offence though. And how many of you from JNC college?”
Another set of hands goes up.
HR Exec: You girls can omit the introduction altogether. No offense but it sucks!”
The Introduction exercise was just a tactic to keep you occupied while the interviewer decided whether he would date a Tina or a Tony that night.
Interviewer: hmmm so why do you want to get into communications?
Me: What a thought provoking question Sir…when there is Rocket Science and Palaeontology and Neurosurgery and Software Architecture to choose from, why would an English major like me opt for Communications indeed. You are a genius!!!
Of course I didn’t say that too. We had liberally borrowed whole passages from “1001 methods to keep your Interviewer awake!” and prepared the answer to this so very-anticipated question. These types of questions were a tactic to keep you occupied while the Interviewer decided if Tina would be a more economical date than Tony.
Interviewer: So why do you want to join our organization?
Me: Because you are the only one who called me for an interview you dimwit!!
Well…I didn’t say that too. I had made sure that I knew all there is to know about the company from their website and this included the Vision statement, Mission statement , About Us, Products Solutions and Copyrights, Disclaimers, Contact numbers of all their worldwide offices and the Site Map ( I could even draw the site map blind folded). These kind of questions were a tactic to give the Interviewer time to decide if he should skip the date and go home to the wife instead.
Interviewer: Where you do you see yourself five years from now?
Me: With Microsoft!!
Well...I actually said that! What happened next was horrible. You would think that people would appreciate you for being honest!!!! But no!!! Apparently honesty is not the best policy during Interviews! The result of my honesty was that I was hired! And that was the end of my summer holidays *sniff*
I know I know you will all say that honesty pays. I admit it does....but not very well peoples :(
( I had to hide my first pay check or people would have thought I was on dole!!!)
What I was trying to say in a rather long winded way (purely intentional) is that Interviews suck! I dream of the day when I will give my blog URL to the person who says “Tell me something about yourself”. But that ain't gonna happen we all know till Hell freezes over and Heaven becomes the new hot and happening zone.