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AsiaAsia CommentTaipan

Wrong place, but at the right time

Job interviews are not fun at the best of times, and at worst, they are like brutal interrogations. But some are just downright confusing, on both sides of the table.

An old friend, still in the banking game, regaled me at Captain’s Bar last week about a mix-up that happened recently while he was interviewing candidates for a senior role in his investment banking team. Something seemed off with one particular applicant right from the start.

The 20-something guy was sweaty, wearing something akin to a suit, and looked absolutely dishevelled. Young and shabby, thought my friend, but he decided to give him the benefit of doubt — maybe this was one of those people who dresses up as a stoned teenager, while being a mathematical genius or exceptionally skilled?

But five minutes in, my friend was exasperated, and 30 minutes later, fed up. The interviewee’s face simply harboured various looks of shock and disbelief at the questions, which he fumbled through with no confidence whatsoever, showing he didn’t know the first thing thing about the role.

My friend stopped the interview then and there, stood up and shook hands, telling the applicant this simply wasn't the job for him. 

But then came the curve ball. An administrative assistant rushed in to say that the young candidate was actually in the wrong room and was supposed to be interviewing for a low-level IT gig. Meanwhile, a Gordon Gekko-lookalike was in an adjoining room tackling (quite adeptly) some tech related questions.

An embarrassment, no doubt, but one my friend was able to laugh off. As for the newbie, even if he doesn’t get the investment banking job, the IT head was more than ready to bring him on board.