The Tale of Two Interviews
“So a minister of your country is in jail and you don’t care about it?”
Wait. Am I supposed to care? I didn’t even know about it a couple of seconds back?
If only I knew how short-lived happiness can be, I would have cherished those few moments of laughter before I entered that lion’s den.
3rd August 2017
My excitement of experiencing the first-ever interview of my life was uncontrollable. I was unaware of what interviews could bring with them. Hence, I wasn’t prepared at all for anything that might come my way. I was just playing hippity-hop on my way to 42a Lake Temple Road. Rookie mistake!
The location was the most beautiful place for me. The situation was not. The unrealistic 10 minutes deadline to fill a 7-page form asking about my life’s SWOT analysis and the scary looks of the interviewer were not the worst things there. Three things happened in those 2 hours which made me realize I was in for a world of pain!
The ten minutes were up, and so was my will to live. And then I made the biggest mistake of my life! I reached out to that scary looking human there to clear a doubt, just that I didn’t pronounce his name right. And then, she appeared, as if I announced a personal attack on her territory. She wasn’t much of a scary-looking person, although she had a command in her voice that reminded me of my PT teacher and I was almost sitting in attention at once.
“His name is SHIRSH! There is no I after R!!!”
Yeah, okay. Stay clear of that woman!
Next up was a group discussion round and yet again, my excitement was shattered once I heard the topic. She stood up shushing us at once and announcing “Your topic for today is ‘If you are the king/queen of an island with no business or imports and exports, how would you tax your people?”
A lot of people never knew this but I was a dumb student back then and the first thought that ever crossed my mind was ‘how do taxes work?’
I didn’t know her well, but I could say she was smirking at the confusion of my facial expressions. I sat there all uneasy as she kept her stare fixed on me. Needless to say, that group discussion was a total disaster for me.
If only she didn’t stare at me so much, I would have been less uncomfortable. Look away, woman!!
The last grand event of that day was the personal interview for every candidate. I peeped and then entered that den and I had a whole Roadies panel waiting for me, while she was the Rannvijay Singh Singha of that troop.
The interview, surprisingly, was much better than I expected after hitting the wall before. While I was still scared of that woman, I got a weird feeling that it might just be a lifetime experience to work with her. Either way, I wasn’t building up on my expectations much since I displayed a wonderful idiotic performance in front of her and others.
Sometime in mid-September 2019
The interns stared at the screen in awe as I skimmed through the interview process one last time before I set them off to interview new candidates. “Any questions so far?”
“Yeah, just one.”, said one of them, quite hesitantly, “Who taught you how to take interviews?”
That was just one more moment in those million incidents that I had in the past two years when I felt grateful for certain things in life. That one question brought a nostalgic smile as I answered, “The name is Prerna Bhukania.”
I came a long way from being that one confused interviewee to a passionate interviewer. She not only interviewed me that afternoon but also groomed me to become a fiery HR in the coming days.
The Candidate Me never knew this was where my interview was going to bring me. I still don’t realize what was it that made her choose me as her protege. Nevertheless, I was in for a world of learnings when I stepped into that hall.