What A Failed Interview At A Major Consulting Firm Taught Me?
Sometimes rejections can teach us a lot about life and can even help us regain our lost confidence.
The story begins with day 1 of the lateral placements and getting shortlists was becoming harder and harder for me. I already got rejected from 2 companies in what turning a nightmare day for me. As each second was passing by, my anxiety for placement has been rising. I was losing out my calmness and I was soon going to be out of my mind.
Suddenly I received a call from one of my friends informing me that my name appeared in extended shortlist of a renowned consulting. In utter disbelief and thought that maybe this is the end of the process for me. It was my first ever consulting interview, but I told myself, “Let’s do this!”
After waiting for hours being the last one to be interviewed, I thought was thinking, “Aaj fir katt gaya, koi interview nahi hone wala mera”. While sitting over there and waiting, every thought has passed my mind. I thought of how many students are yet to get placed, how many companies are yet to visit, what’s my probability of getting selected, should I go, should I have tea and come, how many times are there on the floor and all such crap!
Finally, I had a chance to meet the interviewer, I was half-dead and half-sleepy at that time. The interview went smoothly and I didn’t even realise when did 45 min pass. Speaking of the further intricacies would make this article boring and I am not interested in doing so. I cleared this interview and was immediately sent to the other round. This is where the action began. He was a Partner and throughout the preparation, all consulting enthusiast was getting to this round.
There was something unusual regarding this round. That person who is sitting behind the table had a spark in him and was energetic even at that hour of the day. He looked to me like a man of 50s and who had more than 25 years of experience. His baldness spoke a lot about his experiences and his tone had positivism which made a shy and introverted person like me a smooth talker. We spoke for about 1 hour and when I go back and think, I think and question myself., “Do I have the content to sustain for 1-hour interview?”. For the next 1 hour, every single point in my CV was discussed, some perspectives were shared which I would never have thought about.
Coming back to the interview, it was the best interview I had ever given. I excelled in all the 3 Cs of Concept, Clarity and Communication. Right from speaking funky British accented English to future trajectory of my career, my every word was listened with keen enthusiasm by the Partner. In the middle of the interview, I began thinking. “Is this where I belong and is this the future I will be imagining for myself?”, “Is Consulting for me?” and what not. I wanted to keep my introspection aside for a moment and I thought to myself to let this be over and then I will plan something.
At last, the interviewer got bored and let me go. Although I didn’t make it to the company, I was sure that I gave Partner food for thought. That was enough for me. “Was that?”, I began thinking. Maybe not, at least I consoled myself by this thought. When the Partner was leaving, he came towards me and said, “You did well. Unfortunately, we have only one vacancy. All the best for your future”. “Well! Well!, Did he really said that”, I pinched and asked myself.
Instead of saying to myself, “Aaj fir Kata”. I ended up thinking, “Not bad Pulkit” and it didn’t feel that bad. I made my own world in dreams and ended up thinking all the wise things and thought like a ‘baba’ that rejections don’t matter, the journey does and blah blah. I laugh at myself today, but it actually helped me at that moment. I thought, “If such a person is complimenting me, I am not that bad”. That thinking prevented me from sinking otherwise I was on the verge of losing confidence.
Next morning, I was the first person to get placed. Things went well after that interview, my thought process streamlined, and I began to believe that I can communicate well. These 2 barriers were broken in that interview which somehow boosted me for the journey ahead. Finally, the battle for placements which was even more dangerous than the battle of Panipat was over, the nightmare was over and I was safe home!
– Pulkit Benada
Batch of 2019, NITIE