28 August 2006


I have never been so nervous... ok, maybe I have been more nervous than this, but the interview was nerve-wrecking nonetheless. The Agilent site is a very big place, and it took me longer than I expected to clear security and find my way around. Thankfully, Lionel, the recruiter assigned to me was very helpful.

As I was waiting for my turn, I got my documents in order and looked through the sample questions that I anticipate. Soon, a middle aged man came out from a small meeting room with another candidate and asked me to wait a while. My heart began to race faster, and when the interviewers were out of sight I peeped through the door to see what the meeting room looked like.

I got my things into order and stepped into the room when Mr. L (the first interviewer) returned. I took a seat, and he asked the first question most interviewers ask - "tell me something about yourself". As if on cue, I launched into my planned answer, detailing all sorts of things that highlight my achievements.

Then the second interviewer (Mr. T) came as I was explaining my Double Module Project (DirectUML/GreenP). The rest, as they say, is a blur. Seriously it's so hard to remember what questions were asked when one is so busy trying to build cohesive sentences to reply. I do remember talking a lot about my Double Module Project and my Double Module Project and my Double Module Project. It is the one strong point that I can really exploit till the last drop - and I did.

One major weakness that Mr. L kept attacking me on is my lack of experience in dealing with hardware. After all, Agilent's business is entirely concerned with hardware products, while software plays a supporting role. He repeatedly bashed me over the head (figuratively) on why he should hire me when I can only do software? My main counter (which I also used repeatedly) is that technical skills are relatively easy to learn compared to soft skills (leadership, communication). And since I already have many of the soft skills, I'll actually stay ahead further.

At the end of the interview I asked what the next step of the interview process is. Mr. L remarked that he has the direct authority to hire people and so he will give a reply via HR within 2 weeks. By that time I felt a little discouraged because he didn't seem all too impressed and he wasn't really smiling. But I hoped for the best anyway.

The interview finished at 4 on the dot, and I got myself prepared for the next interview. I rated myself slightly above average. I didn't get stuck for words very long, and there were only several uncomfortable silences. I was asked to wait in the room for the next interview and for several minutes I spied through the glass panels to see if my next interviewer was coming.

After 5 minutes of waiting Mr. L came back again. We sat down and he said that if he decides to take me in, he will probably put me under Software QA to get acquainted with the hardware and software. I like the sound of the idea as it means less pressure to perform immediately, so I told Mr. L that it sounds very good to me. By then I was feeling a little bit more upbeat - at least I know I'm in the running to be accepted. And that's better than nothing at all.

So he went out for a little while and I continued waiting for the next interviewer. Still no sighting. A few minutes later I saw Mr. L approaching again. In an act of butt-kissing I opened the door for him. But he didn't even come in. He just stood outside and said (more or less), "There's no need for the second interview. I've decided to extend the job offer to you right now. Just wait a while longer while I go call someone from HR to talk to you."

I was almost speechless. I could only mumble two words "Sure" and "Thank you", while nodding my head enthusiastically.

I. Can't. Believe. This.

(to be continued...)

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