There are no standard and correct answers to questions for the job interview. There’re only approximations. Sometimes the best answer can take you nowhere and sometimes the most hilarious and ridiculous answer can make you click.
Caltex Oil Pakistan Limited in early 90s took a major HR decision under the leadership of its erstwhile iron man, George Mahan—-an American national, probably from Texas. They went on the hiring binge of young MBAs. When it comes to hiring of MBAs by the blue-chip organizations, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, pops up as the most preferred business school of Pakistan. Caltex recruited the entire batches of MBA classes for years from my alma mater.
After graduation, I too showed my interest in Caltex. They invited me for the assessment interview. President and 6-7 Departmental Heads were sitting in the interview board.
“What do you know about Caltex?” President, George Mahan, asked the 1st question.
“Mr. President, Caltex is a multinational that recruits MBAs only from IBA”. I replied hilariously.
The President burst into laughter while his team was stunned on my ridiculous answer. I looked straight and deep into President’s eyes and they were twinkling and there was sense of approval spread on his red-hot face. And my gut feeling was saying: “Dude, you’re through.”
This kind of frivolous reply to President of a giant company in front of his core management team by 23 years old MBA coming from top-notch business school of the country should have been very much annoying and the candidate deserved to be thrown out from the 10th floor and his university administration be informed about the quality of its graduates. But in my case it clicked.
It all depends which part of the glass you look at and which ‘zone’ you’re in at that particular moment. President took me as confident, buoyant, vibrant and animated young man bubbling with life and energy rather than non-serious and cheeky hick.
He asked a few more questions related to my studies, family, hobbies and future aspirations. And I tackled them meticulously with all professional finesse.
He asked me a final question. “Where will you like to join us?”
“Far away from you, either Faisalabad or Multan”. I again replied humorously. “Man, keep your fingers crossed, and pleasure interviewing you.” President ended the interview.
Three days after the interview, I got a call from Saima Ansari, HR Executive and one year senior to me in IBA, to collect my Offer Letter. I was sent to Multan with responsibilities to turn around sales of gas and lubricants.