The interview was somewhere around Palmgrove. I wore my best suit. If I recall correctly, it was circa 2006. I thought I was well prepared. I’d rehearsed and I had a script for different questions I expected to be asked. I prayed under my breath as I sat down with other candidates. No one spoke to the other person. It was almost like the silence of the graveyard. So much tension and anxiety written on our faces.
When it was my turn, I knocked slightly and entered the room. I came face to face with a slightly built man who had a frown on his face. He waved me to a seat. And that was how my trauma started. Apart from introducing myself, there was no other question I could answer. It got to a point, my response to the interviewer was ‘I’m sorry but I don’t know’ to which he responded ‘Fair enough’. The man punctured every confidence I thought I had. I was deflated by every question he asked. He didn’t let my misery end so easily as he kept throwing even more technical questions at me. It was as if he wanted to prove to me that I was a dunce. He really did rub it in. I knew I flunked it even before I left the room.
That was what I remembered last Friday when I interviewed a young lady. I could see her tensed up. Her hands were clenched together and she couldn’t rest her back on her seat. Her voice shook with stage fright. She could hardly maintain eye contact. I asked her to relax and cracked a joke with her. I saw she was even afraid to smile. I asked her to breathe in and out. An interview is not a death sentence. I told her to imagine it’s a conversation and she should just flow. I asked if it was her first interview and she responded in the affirmative. She finished her NYSC in March.
Don’t be afraid to fail. You will flunk some interviews. I flunked many. You will fail at certain things in life. I failed at not a few. Business failure. Academic failure. Financial failure. Moral failure. Career failure. Even heartbreaks. But don’t let that failure define you. We don’t often talk about our failures. Many people see the glitters and the stars but believe me, there are many shatters and not a few scars. For every interview I passed, I can share with you about an interview I failed- some spectacularly.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. For every ‘yes’, there will be several ‘Nos’. A ‘no’ just means you should try again. It doesn’t mean you’re no good. Learn your lessons and move on. Failure is a good teacher if you allow it. Failure strengthens you. Failure makes you understand that you’re human after all. Failure makes you draw closer to the One that can never fail.
Don’t build a tabernacle around a single event of failure however. One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Develop a thick skin. If you don’t give up, soon enough, you’ll get your ‘yes’.