An Interview

“Hi Omkar, can you help me with search & sort algos?” Sampada asked over the phone.

“Sure, why not.”

After spending some time explaining algorithms to Sampada she said.

“Thanks for the help. So you seem to be all prepped for tomorrow?” “All prepped for what?”

“For the campus interview…You are attending the interview right?”

“Ahhhh….you know what Sam I’ll call you back. Bye.”

I hung up the phone and immediately called another friend.

“Hey Buddy!!! Quick two questions. Did you know there was campus interview at our college tomorrow and are you attending it?”

“Yes and Yes”

Without saying anything further I hung up and dialed hurriedly.

“Sam, need a favor, can you print my CV, my printer is not working.”

This was going to be my first ever job interview and yet somehow I was neither overexcited nor was I nervous. For the next couple of hours I brushed up on possible interview questions.

The next day I reached college early. But to my surprise the college was already buzzing with students from across engineering colleges. That’s probably the first time I felt the gravity the situation.  I registered myself at the registration desk and headed straight to my friends in the auditorium where all the registered students were sitting. There were not much Hi’s or Hello’s rather there were questions “Did you revise OOPs concept?”, “Will they ask SQL queries or data structures?” I didn’t say much and kept to myself.

The hiring HR marched onto the center of the stage and informed “There would be three rounds of interview; Aptitude test, Group Discussion and a Personal Interview.” Students were then randomly split in groups. I unfortunately got in a group where none of my college friends were in.

There were about 15 students in my group. Each group was directed to a different classroom for the aptitude test. Most faces in the room seemed bright and confident. Of course why wouldn’t they. These were probably the bunch who prepared for GRE, GMAT, CAT and other exams. These guys go around job hunting during campus interviews just so that they can put job offers on MBA CV as achievements. The test was done, and I felt it went well. This made me nervous cause if I felt the test went well, all these MBA aspirants in the room must have aced it. HR came in and started announcing names, first name was mine. “Gone…. Lets pack up and go home.” I said to myself. She read out only 8 or 9 names and then asked us to move to another room for GD round. “One down two more two to go” I muttered to myself.

A few more from a different group joined us in the group discussion round. The topic for group discussion was something related to dress code in offices. Everyone shared their opinion on the topic, I shared mine too. But as I spoke the HR moderating the discussion peered out of the folder where she was keeping notes and looked straight at me. The look on her face suggested that I was speaking something atrocious. I got a bit conscious but I trudged on. Once again I waited for the results. My name was called out and was asked to wait in a queue out in the hallway. But what was the result? Did I clear the GD? Or was I in the line for people who were rejected. I checked with some guys ahead of me, they too were clueless. I looked around none of my friends were in the queue. I slowly moved ahead in the queue. Not until I was about 3rd or 4th in line, I figured that this was line for personal interview. So I had made it through the GD after all. A little solace for me.

“Two down one to go. Come on!” I said to myself.

When it was my turn I went to the door knocked it from outside and entered. “Can I sit?” I said. “You are best to judge your ability to sit in that chair. The question you should have rather asked is ‘May I sit in that chair’.” A little voice in my head just screamed “Grinch!!! You got a Grinch. He is not just going to kill you, and he is going to savor every moment of it.” The interview started with the usual line “So tell me something about yourself” and also ended, again with the usual line “That’s all from my side unless you have any questions.” I just shook hands and stepped out of the room.

I went back to the auditorium where I found my friends, they were quiet eager to know how I had done in the interview. There was very little that I could share because my name was called out by HR. I stepped out of the auditorium with the HR, after a brief discussion I was asked to leave.

At about three in the afternoon I was amongst the first to leave college. I tried calling my friends but none answered. Finally at about 8:30 that night I got a call from Vishal. “Pendse did you get the news? There were 25 students from our college; I called all of them you the last one that I am calling. It was tough interview man and only three got selected. Ravi, Irfan and me. Everyone else got rejected” With a big grin on my face which I wished Vishal could see I said “You know what Vishal. Add a fourth name to the list.” “Who’s name?” “My name, I too, got selected.”

So what’s the moral of the story? Be the creator of your own fate. Don’t wait for serendipity to lead you to the right roads. Life not always takes the right turns when you give someone else the control to decide your future. Secondly, when you think you achieved something effortlessly. Think again, your success is a culmination of all the hard work you did through till that moment. Others only see your success but not the hard work that has gone in to be successful. So don’t discount you efforts by saying ‘It was a silly moment of success.’