The Struggle of Being a Jobseeker: Human Capital Trainee Astra International 2017

Hi! Few times ago, due to an urge to socialize and develop myself better, I applied for Human Capital Trainee position in Astra International, through Astra Virtue, August 3-6, 2017.

(Yes, my current job as a media monitoring and analysis staff in startup is pretty flexible since I can do it remotely from my hometown. Nevertheless, work from home for almost a year is depressing af. You might feel happy at first, but for an extrovert like me, it drains my energy and makes me feel lonely.)

Anyway, for those who do not know yet, Astra Virtue is an innovation from the human capital division of Astra Group. They organize online job fair which presents various job from HO into their subsidiaries. As short as I know, Astra Group only hold this event once per year. 

In Astra Virtue, jobseeker can choose maximum three options of the company/ position, as long as it matches with jobseeker's background of education, skills and experience. Thus, at that time, I chose:
  • Human Capital Trainee at Astra International
  • Banking Associate Program (BAP) at Permata Bannk
  • Content Writer at Ofiskita, a new subsidiaries company of Astra Graphia which sells office equipment for companies. 
My background of education and experience only suits the last position. However, the greed and curiosity to always try the best made me chose Human Capital Trainee position at Astra International as my first choice.

(Honestly, I hoped they opened a vacancy as Public Relations Trainee since it suits my background of education better. Unfortunately, the position has been offered at Astra Virtue 2015.)

Astra Group opened these Human Capital Trainee position for scholar from Psychology, Law and Communication. Thus, I presumed, it was okay if I gave it a try--though honestly I was quite confused why they need Communication Scholar for this position. It made sense if they searched for Psychology scholar, since they have major concentration about Organizational Psychology--my elder cousin took this to fulfill her dream to be a professional HRD--or Law scholar, since several companies own Industrial Relations position--my friend worked on this position for three months and quit because he couldn't bear his feeling and faith to fired people, mostly the contract laborers from SHS/ diploma.

But, what do they expect from a Communication Scholar to be a Human Capital Trainee? Firstly, I thought Astra Group needed people to deliver the message well or motivate the employee better during trainee, etc. It made sense because we learned about Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, but still.. I was clueless. I hope the recruiter do better by not only put the job position and description, but also explain what do they expect from the jobseeker which comes from specific background of education. 

Then, What Kind of Process You Need to Pass Through, to be A Human Capital Trainee?

Before read this explanation, I warn you, I just passed this process to Board of Director (BoD) interview. However, I am still grateful to have experienced all of these amazing journey, where I feel the joy although had to face difficult tests. Particularly in user interview stage, where I needed to explain my presentation online. (Working with data is interesting af!)

Last, my biggest gratitude I address to Mr. Yudi B. Lesmana, Head of Human Capital Development Astra International Head Office, that I respect the most. He was very kind and patient to me during the user interview, and I am happy to be interviewed by such as good listener user like him. However, I feel sorry to disappointed him by did not giving my best during the BoD interview. Hopefully someday I can meet him again and said proudly that, even I have failed to be a Human Capital Trainee in Astra International, but I still do my best in my career and receive a lot of meaningful achievement which give impact to people☺

So, here it is the explanation. Enjoy! 
  • Registration
All the jobsseeker's journey starts with registration. In Astra Virtue 2017, you need to fill the identity column, answer the question whether you have organizational experience or not and at what scale your organization is located (national/ city/ college). In addition to that, you need to choose, in which city you want to take the test. As simple as that.

However, I forget if we needed to attach the CV and supported document (such as bachelor certificate, academic transcript, TOEFL score), or not. What I remember is, I was being confused since Astra Group simplified the procedure in 2017. In 2016, the organizational experience column was more detail, because we needed to explained the name of organization, our position and job desk, but in 2017, was not. 

Note for myself: I registered myself in August 6, 2017 night at internet cafe near my home. 

  • Psikotest
September 6, 2017, the email from Astra through Ms. Novioliza Windya Brilliant M.N came to attend psychotest at September 13, 2017. Long enough, since they shifted my test location from Yogyakarta to Surabaya due to the overloaded participants.

All the recruitment process in Astra's HO, subsidiaries and Astra 1st (college scholarship offered by Astra Group), uses the same psychotest guide. It consists of several parts: 
  • Word Meaning
Find  a randomized word who does not have the same meaning among a line of randomized words. 
An example question from me: kubang, jame, rimale, surka, bilmo --> the answer is bilmo (mobil) since it is not a household appliances. 

  • Word Fluenvy

Search for word that have the closest word connection, in a word equation.

An example question from me: PLTU: Listrik = Mesin Tenun : ... --> the answer is kain tenun.
  • Verbal Reasoning
Choose between true, false, or can not be determined, from two sentences.
An example from me:
Fish breathe with gills.
Whale gives birth and breathes with lungs.
Conclusion: Whale is not fish --> the answer is true.
  • Verbal Analysis
Answer the question from a brief explanation.
An example from me:
Bu Yoyok owns the largest land yard.
Bu Ani and Suci's land yard are side by side.
The largest land yard locates in hook.
Bu Kharis' land yard is after Bu Suci's.
Bu Tari's land yard is on the far left.
Question: What is the order of their land? --> Answer: Bu Tari, Bu Ani, Bu Suci, Bu Kharis, Bu Yoyok's land yard.
  • Number Series
Sequence of arithmetic and geometry sequences. In this part, the committee will give you one sheet of paper to help you calculate.
An example from me: 121, 144, 169, ... 225 --> Answer: 196.
  • Figure Reasoning
Looking for the right mirror picture.
  • Spatial Reasoning
Looking for the right cube from several cut sections. 
  • Verbal Memory
Choose the right answers of questions after memorizing one page of information. 
  • Plus, Kraepplin Test in short paper (and if my memory is not mistaken), Wartegg Test, Baum Test and Draw A Man.
Please search carefully about the definition of each test I mentioned here.

I hope by writing this detail, people will not perceive me leak the secret of Astra Group's recruitment process. It is simply like a self-commemoration for what I have been through. Plus, I believe that only decent people that will pass the test, since in my perception, psychotest is not something that can be learned or trained (but perhaps I am wrong). It simply shows your ability in each aspects. 

What made this test difficult is not the quality of the test, but the limit time is. Yes, it is in different level with common psychotest you take from Universitas Indonesia, or BUMN test which created by management consultant such as PPM or Experd. In each section, the staff will set an alarm and stop you. Thus, if someone gets startled after read the first question, he will take more time and can not finish it in moderate pace. 

For me myself, instead of complaining about number series and figure reasoning sections (as has been complained by people in blog), I was more taken aback by the verbal analysis and spatial reasoning.

In verbal analysis section, I needed more time to digest the detail explanation, answered, then read the sentence once again if I could not find the right answer. It took a lot of time but as the result, I could not answer much of them. I guessed that was the one which made me failed last May 2017, when I first took the psychotest in Astra Otoparts office on Kelapa Gading. Lucky me, learned from that failure, I successfully passed the test by answering the second question first, since it has much shorter and simpler explanation.

While doing the spatial reasoning.. Well, I know I am bad in spatial since I took Tes Potensi Akademik (TPA) at SNMPTN (Seleksi Nasional Masuk Perguruan Tinggi Negeri) in 2011. Particularly, when it relates to geometry and its section.

  • Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
It was afternoon and I was eating lunch hungrily on a Manado food stall, after prayed in Gereja Katolik Kelahiran Santa Perawan Maria on Kepanjen street, Surabaya--it is my favourite church because of its Dutch architecture and the fact that it was built in 1815--when the email announcement came from Astra. The Google Drive's link showed that I passed the psychotest I took hours before and entitled to proceed the next stage tomorrow, September 14, 2017, which is FGD. On psychotest test, the staff did emphasized that jobseeker who chose trainee position has to attend FGD as the additional stage. 

Although I was confident while doing the psychotest, I was shocked enough to know that I passed these stage. Perhaps, I was overshadowed with my failure at Astra Otoparts before. (There was only four participants, including me, and after we finished the psychotest, only the youngest that was confirmed to proceed to the next stage. I thought I was stupid then). But again, Deo grattias

However, few minutes after exposed by the happy virus, I suddenly got panic. The FGD process will be held tomorrow, meant I need to extend my lodging for one more days, canceled the train promo ticket and searched for another return ticket to Semarang, then hurried up to my cousin's malam bainai. As busy as that, and tired after fix everything in station, I stupidly chose to wander around Surabaya by visiting House of Sampoerna and taste Zangrandi ice cream, but hey, it was worth it 😂

To be honest, FGD was the most difficult part in this process, where I thought I might be failed. The FGD in Astra Group was in different level, due to the wittiness of the moderator, the limited time, and most importantly, the in-depth information as supported data which help you to make decision. 

In FGD, we were divided into group consisted of 8 persons, where each of us needed to list 1-8 most important methods to solve the problem. Ours was "how to cope with flood in big city". After analyze the solutions and data written in book, we asked to propose the idea to moderator within limited time, in Bahasa Indonesia. Then, the moderator would pair us with another participant, with whom we needed to debate over a method to cope with flood, which we put in a different priority (the most important vs the least important). After that, moderator will continue by debating each of our list and opinion. 

In the implementation, I got stuck with only 6 methods and ran out of time to list the 7th and 8th. It made me nervous since I know two of my choice was not fully supported with data I read deeply. That was why I nervously chose to propose my idea in mid order. Fortunately, it went well. Learned from other participant's mistake, who decided to tell the order along with the explanation (that was why they ran out of time while explaining the 6th, 7th, or 8th), I preferred to tell the eight method first, to make it simpler. After that, I continued to briefly explained my reason, along with supported data and personal information.

However, I was startled when the moderator chose me and my partner (who sat in front of me) as the first duo to debate. Fortunately, my partner was less dominant. Thus, I could beat him easily using aggresive expression and logic explanation. But after that, I started to feel guilty that the moderator might perceived me as an arrogant 😓

The last hurdle was the debate session with the moderator. She was canny, with sharp arguments to debate every little mistakes, until one point, when I was cornered, I had no strategy but to cut her and said strictly, "Okay, I understand your point, but the whole debate is just about our different priority. Your argument is to cope up with the flood quickly. However, I consider the preventive effort, although takes a lot of time, but worth to try since it gives sustainable result." 😎

Thinking about it later, I do not believe in myself who dared to debate her. She was veeeerrryy intelligent and I realize that my ability is less than her. It was her intelligence that made me respect her. (Although after that, my friend corrected me by saying that she looked canny because she has conducted this FGD for numerous times). Unfortunately, I forgot her name.

 Strangely, after my part, the moderator was not as strict as that to other duos. (But perhaps, it was just my perception, or worse, it was my explosion of emotions which made everything seems difficult, since I did not want to budge and answer gently to her).

  • User Presentation and Interview
September 22, 2017 or around a week after FGD process, I received email from Mrs. Nur Inda Fajri who announced that I passed prior LGD and allowed to continue to user presentation and interview process. However, my schedule will be informed later. Then, a week later, or September 28, 2017, further email came from her. It explained about my task that needed to be finished within a week, and  will be presented in front of user via Skype. (I will not say anything about my task here).

Problem was, I have no suitable equipment to do Skype interview, plus it was hard to find internet cafe in Semarang which provided good equipment and stable connection. In addition to that, I had to travel to Yogyakarta to attend Danone MT Star 2017's LGD process, exactly in a day before the user presentation and interview. Considering all the hurdles, my Dad let me stay in Yogyakarta for three consecutive days, in my friend's ex-rent room.

However, I was busy with my job (lots of monthly reports and analysis huhu), and lil bit unstable after failed in Danone's LGD process. Worse, I got stuck with my Skype account, which weirdly, could not be found or called by my friend's account. Turned out I cried hysterically while my friends came and tried to comfort me by saying that I just tired and tense, or facing PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). 

In the end, I just had time to start doing my task exactly a night before my presentation day. I awoke all night in Luxury internet cafe since 08:00 PM; analyzed the question and discussed with my father by phone. During the 10:00 PM-02:00, I was tired and limped then continuously asked myself, "Should I give up? I have no idea how this task can be done. I can not see "the end". What should I write? Should I just sleep and let myself not doing this task, so I will not be interviewed tomorrow morning? But I feel bad to the staff who might wait for my subscription task. I know it is rude. But oh, I want to give up." 😟😟😟

I could not bear those thoughts, and although feeling sorry to my father (who paid all of my cost in Yogyakarta), but he said it is okay if I can not complete this stage. He understood my condition, and since first, he has said that Human Capital Trainee position was not suitable for my background of education and experience.

But later, after two more hours, I felt refreshed after gain insight from my father and sought for data. I found it enjoyable, since the data helped me to analyze better, in order to optimize the business further. (Weeks later, my friend who works in Astra Otoparts said, she understand why I passed this stage. My presentation and character, who love to analyze everything and be sharp to every little opportunity, suits Astra International character than if I work in Astra Otoparts which more familial).

However, the calamity came in morning. Started from the slide of presentation that could not be downloaded from unless you paid $1 with credit card (help!!! it was 05:00 morning, only two hours until the deadline, how I can be that sloppy???) to the powerless throughout Jalan Kaliurang only 15 minutes before the interview (how could this happen??? I stayed here all night, only left few minutes to take a bath at rent room, without had breakfast, still doing my work and sending few emails to clients, and the staff said something like this after I got prepared??? oh my god!!!).

I was very shocked, and within less than five minutes, the kind Go-Jek driver helped me to make it by driving as fast as he could, from Luxury in Jalan Kaliurang to Merapi internet cafe in front of Ambarukkmo Plaza mall. Wow! However, the disaster did not end here. 

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Meet The Author

Inez Hapsari media & public relations enthusiast | children stories writer | jazz lover | I live to the fullest to be young and in love.