When I Tried Something Unconventional

It has been more than 8 years now. As a Content Strategist, as a Supervisor, I have learned a lot of things and these things have been making my days more rewarding.

I am using this word 'rewarding' because with time, I realized it isn't success, it isn't laurels or words of appreciation always that encourage us or keep us happy at work. It's that sense of satisfaction which emanates from those seemingly little yet gigantic tasks done properly with dogged determination, every single day!

Every day is different. On some days, we work for hours and hours with our favourite hot cup of tea or coffee by our side and deliver before or in time. On other days, we procrastinate, yawn, turn the page, learn eagerly, execute continuously and try to figure out how a particular task would reach its destination in time. We wait for days impatiently sometimes when the results don’t show up!

I am gleefully, taking you through one 'not so big' yet 'noteworthy' achievement that I welcomed this year. A few months ago, I got the opportunity to interview a candidate (Final Round) for a very interesting role. I tried connecting via Zoom but it sadly didn't connect me to the candidate. Happens sometimes, you all know.

This person though, very politely, asked me - 'Would you mind taking my interview over phone?'

Honestly, I liked it! The very first level the candidate had already crossed somewhere inside my head. I quickly called on the number and the candidate sounded a bit relaxed. I did sense that fear of being judged though.

So, without Much Ado, I asked, 'How are you? How is your day going?' To this the candidate replied, 'I am fine thanks. Day is also going fine so far.'

While listening to the candidate I immediately felt, something is lurking. And, there it was! It was that very conventional, annoying, boring way of interviewing a candidate which I desperately wanted to avoid. And Yes it happened! I chose the unconventional way.

Soon after our current affairs segment, the interview turned into a healthy discussion that covered core areas like candidate’s professional choices, projects, downfalls, comebacks, learnings, decision making, participation, growth, fears, initiatives, expectations, strengths, job requirement, hobbies so on and so forth.

Towards the end, my only question was - How soon could you join us? The reply left me smiling for a few minutes as candidate's words clearly reflected confidence, hope and high level of curiosity. The candidate even asked me a few questions openly which was a good sign.

Frankly, I, as a candidate, during many interviews, didn’t manage to ask questions always as interviewers quite often made me feel unwelcomed or uncomfortable. I know I am not perfect. Is anyone perfect out there in the World anyway? Having a good discussion to smartly judge someone’s skill set isn’t that easy for some, may be. My assessment could be wrong.

The interview ended on a good note. The candidate was about to leave the discussion but I said something. I said - Feedback! Yes, the last question to the candidate was - 'Would you mind if I tell you a couple of things right away?' The candidate wasn't expecting it. I don't remember the words precisely but I do remember the vibe I had received. I took 2-3 minutes to take the candidate through what I had liked and what I was expecting with some areas of improvement.

And, the candidate received the offer!

P.S.- Deep down, this feeling kept simmering for years whenever I faced any interview. When will this whole process change for good? Will it ever evolve? Why do people ask highly irrelevant questions? Why can't they go through someone's CV carefully before taking those rounds? Why do they end up asking questions like - 'Where do you see yourself five years from now'? Why do some organizations or interviewers never or seldom provide timely feedback? I have had some amazing interview experiences too, needless to say. Those experiences have helped me be better and make things simpler for those who want to learn and grow as a professional, as an individual.

Photo Courtesy: Ivan Samkov

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Ankita Mehra

Ankita Mehra

I am a full-time content designer, working on websites and apps. I like listening to ‘Hotel California’ by Eagles with a hot cup of tea. Very lazy sometimes.