Today ended four days full of interview preparation and interviews themselves. On Tuesday and Thursday I had my two “big company” interviews with Shell and British Telecom respectively. They were both very structured, including cases, and really more “assessments” than interviews. Insomuch as I wasn’t invited for the next round by either company, I failed both assessments.
As someone who is very performance-oriented, I took both failures pretty hard. Although I recognize that it is the job of these recruiters to assess fit—not just worthiness—and hence it is better to know that the fit isn’t there earlier in the process rather than later, it is still hard not to feel . . . rejected. I had many peers with whom to commiserate as each company took just a few applicants to the next level.
This year has taught me a great deal about failure. My prior attitude was one of avoiding failure at all costs. I was obsessed with winning each and every battle I undertook—perhaps to the point of avoiding some battles that offered low likelihood of success. But there is much to learn from failure and these cases are no exception. Both Shell and BT have offered to share feedback from the interviews with us next week. This will help me understand why there wasn’t a fit so I can focus my career search better. Furthermore, I look forward to learning the strong and weak points of how I came across so I can build them into subsequent interviews with companies for which there is a better fit.
Speaking of which, I also talked with three product managers at Google this week and that position sounds like an excellent fit with both my skills and experience. The recruiting process is daunting, with up to 16 interview and some of them very technical, but then so is the process for attaining most positions worth having!