I flunked the job interview, but got the job, here’s why

Yes, you read that right. But let me start from the beginning.

W̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶I̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶a̶b̶y̶. If asked what I feared the most, from a list of irrational fears such as cockroaches and snakes, interviews were at the top of my list.

It may not be the same fear that might make someone jump out of their seat, but inevitability it’s something most of us will face at some point in our lives.

For context, this was my FIRST job interview. When I applied for the role of Digital Marketing Associate at Hatch, there were three interviews. The first was with Minuri (Head of Programs and Community Success), this wasn’t really an interview as such but I assume she was checking my responsiveness and basic aptitude.

The second or the “first” official interview was with Suresh (Head of Operations). Thankfully, I was asked a lot of questions which were straight forward and allowed me to branch out from them, explaining myself. The key point here is, they asked a lot of questions. They were trying to get the most out of the questions, and I was given gradual steps to explain myself, including my weaknesses and strengths. It was not a total flop, although I could’ve showed more confidence and highlighted that I had some experience with all my freelance work, which I never mentioned.

I then got offered a third interview, which means I didn’t totally mess up yet. The last and deciding interview was with Brindha, CEO of Hatch. I’m not going to lie, I was overwhelmed. The thought running in my head was “f* it’s with the CEO, what if I say something stupid”.

If you ask anyone who knows me well, they will confirm that I have a history of not thinking twice before speaking, which I’m working on by the way (please don’t fire me).

Unlike Minuri and Suresh, Brindha didn’t ask probing questions. She asked broad questions to understand my passions. My explanations were rather short and the interview only lasted 6 minutes, literally — that’s not a good sign, right?

To my surprise, I got the job! And here’s what I’ve learnt from my experience:

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

If you’re new to the world of adulting like me and you’ve recently graduated and/or if you don’t come from a directly comparable role — don’t think you have zero experience. The work you have previously done as a freelancer, intern, being part of various clubs and societies, all count as experience. My colleague Minuri (Head of Community Success) helped me realise that you have to leverage on these transferable skills to showcase your experience. You’ll be surprised how many unique skills you have acquired over the years.

I’m grateful that the Hatch team believed in me and saw what I couldn’t see in myself yet. They truly live by their values of growing and developing individual’s; not just the core team but also our community.

There’s More to Being ‘Qualified’ for a Job Than You Realize

Being qualified doesn’t always mean knowing all the right answers and having lots of experience under your belt.

Remember “Just because you’re bad at one thing, doesn’t mean you’re bad at everything else” — Random dude on the internet.

Most people can build knowledge and skills quickly, but what’s difficult to change is someone’s values which forms your character.

Companies like Hatch are interested in your disposition towards learning and your commitment to doing the best you can in any task.

As part of the interview process, I was asked to create a social media post. I didn’t just give them one option, I gave them a variety of options. This really worked in my favor. They were able to see my thought process and I was able to show my diverse skill sets.

What I value most about Hatch is that they see things through a different lens. It was obvious to the leadership team that I’m facing my first job interview and they saw beyond my CV. At Hatch, opportunities are given to individuals for who they are and what their potential can be.

Summary:

Finally remember that an interview is a two way process. You get the opportunity to verify your understanding and see whether the company is the right fit for you. I encourage you to ask more questions and be inquisitive during an interview, figure out whether they’re invested in your development and growth.

Alvin Van Gramberg
alvin@hatch.lk