I am sure I am not the first person to say this; it is actually common sense that we cannot give our best if we do not prepare well. Yet don’t we all have experiences of not preparing well for an event?
I recall a few years ago, when I was in my third year in the university, I had an interview with a bank for a three month internship. I really prepared for it, I learnt their history, ten year strategic plan, and everything about them. I found out that there were plans of the bank going on the stock exchange – this was not yet public information.
On the day of the interview I was magnificent. When I was asked if I had a question, I asked, “Why has it taken you so long to get on to the stock exchange?” That was my winning moment; they were so impressed that I knew so much about their organisation. As expected, I topped the list and got the place.
A year later I was invited for an interview with an Accounting firm for my one year National Service. You may be thinking I prepared as I had done previously. Unfortunately, I did not. I guess I was over confident; my preparations were over in twenty minutes. I went into the interview, and at the end I was asked if I had a question. I should have just said no. Instead, I asked the “wining” question I had asked during the interview with the bank, “Why has it taken you so long to get on to the stock exchange?”
The interview panel looked at each other out of surprise, and then one of them said to me “As you should know, accounting firms are not allowed on the stock exchange.” That was it; I had just shot myself in the foot! I had clearly shown that I did not know much about the industry and the company… and of course, I didn’t even make the short list.
Since then, I have always prepared religiously for every single interview. I hope you do not make the same mistake I made.
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