That eagerly awaited interview call comes like a gust of fresh air, sparking hope and optimism anew and sending your nerves into a tizzy. You go over the probable questions for the umpteenth time, rehearse responses that would flaunt your skills and project you in a favourable light.
The D-day finally arrives and you set off dressed in your most formal business attire, trying to appear calm and professional, ignoring the butterflies in your stomach and valiantly battling all the negativity and self doubt that may have inadvertently crept into your mind.
You wait for your turn to be called in, all charged up, enthusiastically braving the challenge that lies ahead, ready to rise to the occasion, praying for just that one opportunity to prove yourself. After what seems to have been an eternity, you hear your name being called and in you go with a spring in your step and a smile on your lips hoping to ace this one and moving a step closer to your goal.
What happens after that is just a blur. You are out in a few minutes – maybe 15 at most, feeling light headed and confused. Was that even an interview? Were you even heard with an open mind? Or was every word uttered by you conveniently interpreted to align with popular prejudices? If you said you enjoyed a democratic atmosphere at work where you were free to express your ideas, did you come across as someone who was not a team player or someone who wouldn’t “fit in” with the “culture” of the organization? If you said you were new to the country did it underline the fact that you do not possess local experience and so would not be an asset to the employers?
How did the interviewer learn so much about me in just 15 minutes? Or is this what he wants to believe about me, as it makes the elimination process that much simpler? What about the talents and skills that are my greatest assets – which would have more than countered my cultural “shortcomings”? What about the unique dimension that my background would have added to the diversity of the workplace? If they weren’t looking for foreign candidates, why was I even shortlisted for the interview?
My head is still spinning from the interview experiences. I wish there was a way to let my work do the talking instead of me. But that still requires me to clear the initial rounds unscathed. And that requires me to have local experience…for which I need to get hired…how can I escape this seemingly inescapable cycle?
Any ideas or advice by someone who’s been there, done that?