On interviews and rejections


It’s been over a month since my last post. This time, the lack of blogging isn’t completely down to neglect, but just being so busy, that I feel like I haven’t had time to stop and think. I’ve learnt a lot of the month, and need to process many of the lessons. I’m hoping to make more time for this blog where I want to document my learnings, so expect posts about things that happened weeks ago (as well as future events obviously).

In the last few months, I’ve had a few issues with host companies. In particular, a company backed out from hosting me during bootcamp (around the time of my last blog). This had followed on from several months of interviews, many rejections and another company backing out just days before the NEF deadline. I’ve now finally landed a fantastic host company at CompIndex (for now, they’re rebranding soon), where I started just over a week ago. I’m really enjoying it and have already learnt a lot.

Reflecting on the last few months, I’ve learnt a lot of lessons. Despite all the rejections, the many hours spent prepping for interviews, travelling to and from them and the processes themselves were not wasted hours. In that time, I’ve met a lot of interesting people and discovered a lot of amazing businesses that I didn’t know existed. Maybe I’ll write about them sometime, but for now, I wanted to write what I think are the two key learning points from my experience…

 

1. Be resilient, something good will come so long as you don’t give up:

The last few months taught me a lot about being resilient, I must have interviewed with over 20 companies, and it’s frustrating being rejected over and over again, especially when you strongly believe that you have something to offer. There were times where it seemed like my future with NEF was in jeopardy, however, I stuck with it, I stayed positive and I kept applying. In the end something great came out of it, I ended up at this great host company, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Resilience is key in an entrepreneur, there are many lows in business, but being about to ride it out and not give up is so important.

 

 2. Stick to your strengths:

Initially, I was looking for a role that didn’t involve any statistics. This most likely stemmed from starting the job hunt not too long before my finals back at Oxford. At the time, I was absolutely sick of statistics and wanted nothing more to do with it.  I also wanted to throw myself into the deep end and learn something completely new to me, so I tried to get roles in any other areas from business development to product management. I came to realise that although companies are supporting NEF, they still want value out of the candidates, and I had little to offer in this space. I was being beaten to places by people with more experience and actually knew what they were talking about. Once my results came out, I felt I had detoxified from statistics and wanted to see it again. This led to a changed focus on my job hunt. I looked for roles that involved data, but overlapped with other business functions. That way I have something strong to offer but while being in a position to learn something. This was a successful strategy, and led to getting further in interview processes and eventually a host company (or three, before two dropped out). In the same way, being an expert in what you do is much more likely to lead to success in business than going in blind.