Hussain Zulfikar
Hris Implementation, Payroll, Recruitment,
Business Communication Trainer, Personal

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Dear Readers

I would like to share a candid experience, regarding BPO interviews, I have worked as BPO executive in the initial year of my career. It was a fun ride, with its twists and turns, sharing a twist of the ride. Hope reader’s enjoy it !

So here comes my story :

As I was graduating (3 years of Picnic Party and Pastime), there was a fashion wave of joining a BPO company and become a responsible member of the family and citizen of the country instead of nikamma, nikhattu, rich-dad’s- brat-son tagline. With all the telemarketing calls selling BPO jobs ringing throughout the day, offering you the dream job of working in a world class infrastructure, fancy tall buildings of some firangi company or in short “MNC “ !!

So being a fresher I could choose the company I would want to work in (well initially, any college going dudes or babes knowing putter putter English thinks that) so with confidence in my communication skills I thought for an interview. I blessed one hapless tele-BPO-recruiter with a promise that I will turn up on time for a particular BPO interview at the company. I was excited & nervous to face first interview of my life (I had no formal training, practise nor advice on how to go about it). So I put up my best denims, T shirt, casual shoes, strong perfume (usually college going dudes don’t have formals in their wardrobe) and one page CV (well 20 year old guy won’t have much to boast about). On the other hand, the hapless tele-BPO-recruiter kept calling continuously to make sure I m on my way to the interview. She was so caring and concern about me getting a job (I thought she was in love with me).

So as I reached at the BPO office, as dreamt - it was a fancy building covered in grey and blue alubond brackets, landscaped garden, clean and well laid footpaths, air conditioned waiting rooms, whoa !! I felt I was in Amreeeka ! So I introduced myself as visitor for interview, I passed through Airport-Security-Types procedure and was seated in the lobby area to await my turn to glory.

My name was called and I walked towards my “ultimate-test”. As I entered the interview room, there sat a pretty girl at the better side of the table. My soft skills came alive, I said a formal “HI” as I entered the room and she commanded me to sit on the hot seat. I presented my CV to her smiling face. And after 16 seconds of screening, came the first question !

Pretty HR: Tell me something about yourself ?

Confident Me: Well hmm .. What to say about myself ! I m 20 years young (Duhh ! what was I thinking !!) pursuing FyBcom (happily), dad is working, mom is homemaker, and hmm that’s it ( I was at loss of information about myself)

Pretty HR : OK ! Why you want to join this company ?

Confused ME: Well.. hmm !! .. hmm !! .. hmmm !! .. This company is good ! I like the building, garden and ambience (c’mon I was honest). Want to start my career in an international company where I will get good experience (I thought that was some good answer, yeah !)

Pretty HR: What kind of experience ?

Really confused Me: Some good experience in working, you know ! I m a fast learner.

Pretty HR: OK ! what are your future plans ?

Confident Me: I wanna be rich and famous businessman. Start my company and have a fancy office like this one (that was too ambitious of me to say it ! )

[Then followed volley of cross questions, dissecting my thought flow]

Pretty HR: OK ! are you fine with working in night shifts?

Sure ME: yeah ! I m fine , I can work night shifts, will manage my studies (said that with a humble face)

Pretty HR: OK ! I will put you to some communication tests in English? If you clear them we can consider you for Ops round.

Phew ! I cleared the HR Round, whoa ! .. that was some mean meeting. So as she asked me to wait for 15 minutes = 1 Hour 45 minutes, I waited patiently in the lobby area, staring in the blank space what communication tests would be like, As I was asked to wait to anticipate next level of assessments, I was sitting eagerly (I was expecting something to move in 15 minutes, remember ! ) minutes turning in more minutes and eventually hours, I thought to myself, this may be some kinda test (patience test, I guess), may be some camera is watching me, so I put my best behavior, felt like wow, I m in some cool big shot MNC.

So finally the Indian restlessness got better of me and I enquired with the coordinator to give me a response what is happening when I m going to be put through another test ! and my concern was answered in another 45 minutes (every time I was told to wait just 10 more minutes).

As I sat in front of the computer laced with all applications to test my communication skills, listening skills to be the most important of all also there was psychometric set of questionnaire, I felt I m being tested for some real big stuff, this is it ! .. I m gonna make a career choice. I wanna be in this company, forever till I breathe. Everything is so cool, pretty girls, smart dudes, fancy computers, furniture etc. Tests after tests (Reading, listening, speech and grammar) I cleared anxiously, curiously, happily !

By this time, half day had passed, I was surviving on the junk breakfast I had early morning, I was tired (mentally and physically) so I was given a coupon to go to the company cafeteria and have some complimentary snacks. I was like wow ! (free free !! ) .. that it ! I wanna be in this company, till I breathe ! .. I was already visualizing myself as part of the company as I admired other employees who were relishing in their time-bound robotic break.

Fed and watered I came back to the lobby area, to join anxious and happy faces, also bid goodbye and wish luck to those who dint clear the rounds, I felt I was in an audition, met some good souls from different parts of the country and life. Suddenly my perspective of life began to change. Rejection scared me !

It was almost evening and I could see sun setting and activities increasing at the office. Waves and waves of smiling faces rushing into the office one after another through the turnstiles to go to their decorated desks and begin the day (actually night !).

I had achieved the most patient and calm moments of my otherwise fast and restless life. After probing further I was told, that the Elusive Ops Manager for whom we were waiting so eagerly had finally arrived and had descended on his throne where he could decide our future ! So I walked through the fancy corridor to the interview room where sat a plum (I will call him fat) big round face, formally dressed, middle age man, wearing glasses of wisdom, experience and skills looking at me. I know I was being assessed non verbally !!

I wish I had dressed formals Aaaw !! so I squeaked a formal hello and followed to the Hotter seat at nervous side of the table. He screened my CV (I Guess) and browsed through the scores I had achieved in the tests ! he looked up at me and did a “Hmmm” !!

A Typical start to the interview, like “tell me something about yourself?” I had mastered the art of replying to few set of predefined questions, which I was day dreaming (Art of Visualization) while I was waiting at the lobby area. OM seemed like a pretty chilled out person contrary to what I had perceived. He enquired about my technical skills in computer ( I m an average techie) so I kinda convinced him for that. He also shared his concern about working in night shifts and managing the health part of it. to which I assumingly said I will manage, however that was not convincing enough for him, as he dint understand my formulae’s of managing studies, lectures, assignments, exams and work-shifts, transportation at odd hours and odd seasons (monsoon and winter specifically). I also lost my ground on catching up with American accent, I was putting up a fake untrained Ahmehricaan akhsent (duhh ! it was bad) which did not impress him at all, and as interview progressed he was not convinced with me. However I had goofed up.

We bid goodbye at the end of a healthy but disappointing discussion, with a heavy heart I walked to the lobby area and sat as if I had lost the battle of BPO interview. Feeling of rejection and worthlessness was clouding over me but there was a thin ray of hope which kept my spirits as feedback was yet to come ! anxious and long wait of another 2 hours made me realize values of lot of aspects (Humility, Honesty, Patience and much more indescribable) in life.

Finally, came the dreaded list of selects, All through the day as I kept clearing the rounds, I was one of the important names in the list. Suddenly I was not at all required, names after names were called out of those who got the big ticket to this fancy factory. Smiles, cheers and happiness all around me, except within myself. As I sat there looking at winners who made it to the finish-line, a promising career and fat salary ! I walked away to exit after accepting a sympathetic rejection, it was d longest and heaviest walk I remember, My First Rejection !

Opportunity lost, but lessons learnt !! I was not the same person as I walked out of that office. Looked up into the Sky, and thanked God for this experience. As I walked towards my Bike…..

I got a telemarketing call selling BPO jobs, offering you the dream job of working in a world class infrastructure, fancy tall buildings of some firangi company or in short “MNC “ !! :-D :-D

Thanks for Reading !


From Kuwait, Salmiya
Thank you for such a lovely and candid post! It will be very beneficial to young, aspiring candidates who don't know what to expect in their first job interviews.
We will share your story on our facebook page at First Personality.
I hope you have found your calling in a long and successful career.

From India, Khopoli
Thanks for sharing.
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From India, Mumbai
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