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How does it feel to be on the other side of a job interview?

I bet that almost everyone has applied for some kind of job already. You send your CV, you get interviewed, and you get hired – if only it was that easy. Thanks to being part of the AIESEC's B2B team, my friends and I had an opportunity to pre-interview applicants for a company that decided to hire an intern through AIESEC. Coincidentally, I was searching for an internship position at the time so I had gone already through a few interviews as an interviewee before this experience. Viktoriya Dimitrova, Daniel Ivanov and I (and a few other our colleagues) suited up, prepared the materials and sat in front of the Skype waiting to seek the best possible candidate for the job position in Copenhagen. Applicants were from all over the world and each of them tried to convince us to be recommended for an interview with the company. Not all of them succeeded and Daniel, Viktoriya and I decided to share why.

To understand the background: the interviews were held for an IT position and we had two sets of questions: technical and soft-skills questions.

Daniel's story

When I was asked to interview a couple of people for job positions in Copenhagen, I couldn’t resist and said ’yes’ immediately. It was the first time I interviewed someone and I won’t lie that it was as stressful as for the employee – if not even more! However, after the first interview, the stress was gone and felt completely comfortable and ready to assess people. I had a lot of amazing interviews with amazing people and I am so thankful for that opportunity. One of them, however,  I will remember forever with very mixed feelings. I had an interview with a smiling and kind girl. Everything was going more than good until we reached the technical questions. Immediately after I asked the question, she demanded some time to think and went silent. That is, of course, completely fine. Next thing I see is her sight moving to the right and I started hearing clearly the sound from the keys indicating something is being typed on the keyboard. Then immediately out of nowhere, she came with a perfectly structured definition answering the question. Surprisingly that very same definition appears when you search for the question on Google. It was definitely both bad and funny experience – bad because I would rather prefer the interviewee not knowing the answer and admitting that than cheating in such arrogant way and funny because she was doing it so obviously while thinking that this apparently is something no one could reveal.

Viktoriya's story

The interviews generally went well there were not that many crazy things, which happened to me. But I must admit I enjoyed watching the attempts of some to cheat. Although I have different examples of this happening, one just did it for me. There was one girl who had trouble answering the technical questions so I let her know that it's all right and that we can continue on with the rest of the interview. I caught her glancing to the side every now and then but I didn't think much of it because she was very active in answering me. She definitely wasn't googling for the information - she was smiling into the camera and gesturing around while we went through the rest of the general questions. In the end, I asked her whether she has any questions for me and she chuckled at the request to go over the technical ones we skipped. I was like 'all right' and read it out to her. Now what happened next made me simply blink at the screen. I hadn't even finished reading the question, to which she previously only mumbled that she doesn't know, yet now she started dictating me a smoothly detailed answer. What really did it for me is that she didn't even try to conceal that those weren't her words. Not a single 'uh', not a single inhale, just the information suddenly pouring out of her soul and a smile to the side. Then, I figured why she had been stealing glances. She simply wasn't alone there. Others also tried cheating but hers was so obvious that I simply can't forget it.

Jakub's story

Besides the attempts of cheating, there was an applicant that made me frown. I opened up his CV and I went speechless. From the graphical point of view, there were 3 million fonts and the whole CV was not aligned in any sense or any direction. But that might happen while the CV file is being transmitted all around and its structure might have gotten unaligned. Therefore, I focused on the contents more. This guy claimed C2 level in English, French, and Arabic but what truly struck my attention was the fact, that the CV itself was written in the mixture of English, French and probably some other languages. My worst thoughts were brought to life when we started the Skype call. Even though I repeated simple questions in English many times, he didn’t understand. Moreover, he was reluctant to turn off the loud TV in the background and to stop talking to his friend on his side. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

To wrap it up. This experience was priceless for all of us. The interview feels different when you are on the other side of the talk and I believe we learned a lot from this experience and enjoyed talking to many applicants.

Whenever you go for an interview, please don’t cheat, don’t take your friend with to you give you the correct answers, don’t lie on your CV and don’t forget to turn off the TV in the background.

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Written by
Jakub Cumpelik
My name is Jakub Čumpelík, I am from the Czech Republic, studying Master's in Culture, Communication and Globalization in Aalborg, Denmark. I joined AIESEC in September 2017 as a member of the B2B team and I co-organized a national conference in March 2018.