A few days ago I was invited to a group interview. Wait, let’s flashback. I am looking for a part time job and this big retailer (who must remain anonymous) had an open interview day. I was ecstatic that I passed the first round of interview and was invited for round 2 i.e. the group interview. But hold on, this wasn’t even the challenge. The challenge was that it was all in French despite being told that the interview will be bilingual.. Now my French isn’t so bad and I completely understand that customer service needs to be bilingual so I’ve been taking some lessons and I’d like to say my French is decent. But knowing that I’m in a bilingual city, I thought I could get by with being at a reasonably communicative level and make up for it with my other qualities. Boy was I wrong!
There were many instances where I wanted to just get up and ask to leave since I didn’t understand a lot of the activities.
So I enter the room with all other candidates and we are being introduced to the head recruiter. Now this girl was talking way too fast for me (in French) and I’m waiting for her to say everything again in English…or at least throw in some sentences but nope, instead she finishes and is now looking at me to give my brief introduction. Errr what?!! I asked her if I can continue in English as I’m more comfortable that way and she says yes of course. So I do my brief introduction and then we move on to other candidates – who, trust me, did much better than I.
Phew! The first part was over. The next 45 minutes, we completed a few activities that helped the recruiters determine our personality types. For example how we do in group settings, what roles do we assume, do we communicate? And can we remember basic instructions. Besides the fact that I was told the hiring process would be bilingual (and it wasn’t) I was very nervous throughout these exercises. I knew I was being reserved and not taking leadership roles as I normally would have. There were many instances where I wanted to just get up and ask to leave since I didn’t understand a lot of the activities. I was basically looking to see what other’s were doing and following… so. not. me. I thought my French language skills were better than the place I found myself to be in. even after having practiced for over 2 years… something must be wrong I thought
At each point I wanted to leave, something inside just didn’t let me. I didn’t want to be a failure.
Either way, I finished the exercises and at each point I wanted to leave, something inside just didn’t let me. I didn’t want to be a failure. Even if I didn’t get selected, I’d know that at least I tried my fullest. So I stuck in that awkward situation until all exercises were complete. At the end, we were split into two groups and I was lead outside with the first group. It was obvious that the group being lead outside wasn’t selected for a position. Yes I was super disappointed, I really wanted to work at this retailer but I guess I wasn’t ready. We were told we’d hear by next week or so. We all thanked the recruiter and left… You know that feeling that you’re sad but you saw it coming and your stomach just feels like you swallowed a ball of yarn but it’ll pass -yes weird I know- but it was all of that at the same time. I knew I wasn’t going to land a position, but I also knew that I gave it my best shot. Now I know what I need to do to increase my chances for next time. I thought I was ready with my French but I need to polish it a bit more and gain more confidence.
So what did I get my deliberately putting myself in that awkward situation…well here’s the thing, had I left in the middle, I wouldn’t have known what I was lacking. I came out of there feeling accomplished rather than sorry for myself. I was happy that I finished the obstacle ahead of me, even though it seemed impossible and I was proud that I made it through my first all French interview!
If you think you’re not good enough for that dream job you want or you’re stuck in a place outside your comfort zone, you know what? just give it a try, you might be better than you think. Who cares if you fail? Get up and try again! learn from what you did wrong or could’ve done better. People are too busy to dwell on your mistakes…they’ll find someone else to criticize soon enough so you should move on too!