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For freshers, facing the first interview is nothing less than having bittersweet feelings. Not only are we too excited but also very nervous before those one-on-one interview rounds. The mixed feelings can be overwhelming and they either leave you speechless or you end up blabbering things you regret later. Even if you have given many interviews, your first job interview experience will remain as a memorable one forever. For some of you, it will be a positive experience and for others, a negative one. As for me, it was a turning point experience and it has changed the way I look at interviews.
On a Wednesday morning, being in desperate need of a job, I met my best friend. He told me about a job vacancy for a safety officer, with an interview to be held two days later. I hardly knew a thing about industrial or company safety, let alone the job responsibilities of a safety officer. However, with my friend’s encouragement, I decided to give it a go. I had two days to customize my template fresh graduate resume to focus on the safety job specification, to submit it and prepare for the interview.
My resume got to the company the next day as a late entry and my application was accepted. I got a phone call to come for the interview the following day. My friend offered his help to prepare me for the interview, but I felt that the Internet was the right place to go, so I went to the nearest internet cafe, and did some intensive research on Google. I educated myself on the company safety policies, precautions and the required knowledge of a safety officer. I printed every article I found useful until I was sure to have acquired substantial information for the interview with the CEO (chief executive officer).
The next day, I was simply dressed in my shirt, trousers and a tie. (I was completely broke so I did not take my suit to a dry-cleaner.) I was at the reception with about 18 other well-dressed gentlemen, some rehearsing their safety manuals and others waiting to have a good time with the interviewer. The job position was for two safety officers, so about 17 of us were destined to be disqualified. However, I was super excited and sure to give the interview my best shot.
My much-awaited interview slot finally arrived and I entered the CEO’s spacious room. As soon as I came in, I saw he was casually seated on his chair with his legs on top of a desk. He was watching cricket on TV, which was on mute, though. The CEO greeted me and asked me to sit down. Then he asked whether I felt comfortable with him sitting like that and watching cricket. Although I was not very comfortable with his behaviour, I said, “Yes, I am quite comfortable and I don’t mind you watching cricket.” The CEO smiled and said that I might leave. The whole interview lasted 2 minutes.
The next day, I was informed that I could not make it to the final list of selected candidates. I analyzed the whole interview and understood the mistake I had made on that day. I should have shown my disapproval of the way the CEO was sitting in the interview. I realized that the interview etiquette should be followed by both parties, not just by a job applicant.
This experience has left a long-lasting impression on me! Now, whenever I go for an interview, I make sure that I say ‘No’ if I don’t like anything, say ‘don’t know’ if I am not aware of anything, and I’m straightforward and honest as much as possible! The best candidate is not the one with the best academic qualifications but the one with the right attitude. I wouldn’t advise any applicant to approach the interview like it’s a do-or-die affair. A failure in an interview is not the end of your career. A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn.
(Adapted from ‘My first job interview experience’ by S. Reddy)
1. Why was the first interview memorable for the author?
1) The interview left bittersweet feelings.
2) The author was speechless in the interview.
3) It was an eye-opening experience.
4) The author’s emotions were overwhelming.
2. When the author learned about a job vacancy for a safety officer, …
1) he knew nothing about this area of employment.
2) he was looking for a job in this field.
3) he has already had a proper resume for this job.
4) it was too late to submit his resume.
3. How did the author prepare for the interview?
1) He took a two-day course in customizing his resume.
2) He prepared for the interview with the help of his friend.
3) He read internet articles concerning a safety officer job.
4) He studied the company documents on safety policies.
4. The expression “I was completely broke” in paragraph 4 (“I was completely broke so I did not take my suit to a dry-cleaner.”) is closest in meaning to…
1) I was extremely worried.
2) I didn’t have any money.
3) I was hopelessly absent-minded.
4) I didn’t know what to do.
5. How did the author feel when he saw other job applicants waiting at the reception?
1) He felt nervous and frustrated.
2) He thought he had no chances to be accepted.
3) He was determined to make as much effort as possible.
4) He felt he was not dressed well enough for the interview.
6. Why did the author fail the interview?
1) He did not answer the CEO’s questions correctly.
2) He did not follow the interview etiquette.
3) He did not feel comfortable in the interview.
4) He did not object to the CEO’s behaviour.
7. What should the applicant NOT do at the interview?
1) Follow the interview etiquette.
2) Be straightforward and honest.
3) Regard the interview as a do-or-die affair.
4) Have the proper approach to the interview.
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