Job Interviews

Several years ago I was attending interviews for jobs almost everywhere because I needed a job. I was completing school and needed to make all that education pay off.

Oh! I won’t talk about the applications I sent but suffice it to say that I took the then Ghana Telecom phone book and covered almost every organization in Accra.

However this is a story about my first experience on the other side of the interview table and some of the observations I made.

My partner is into HR outsourcing and recruitment and her company organized a job fair.  Whilst dropping her off at the venue, her boss said they were understaffed and asked if I could help with the interviews. That’s how I ended up conducting interviews for a marketing firm.

This day remains one of the best days of my life and I met some really interesting people, some of whom are still my friends till date.
It was also my first time seeing what really the interview panel looks out for when I was handed the interview report sheet for the candidates. On the form there were assessment spaces for composure, appearance, temperament, talents, etc.

I decided to practically test all these things based on talking to the person without even looking at the sheet. After a while I got the hang of it.

So this very pretty young gal comes to take the seat right in front of me and I’m overwhelmed. She’s wearing too much perfume and she’s dressed like she had obviously come straight to the job fair from last night’s party, had only brushed her teeth and straightened kinks in her hair.

So I ask her straight off the cuff “last night’s party was a bomb.  Where did you go to? ”

She forgot I was interviewing her for a job and we talked about partying in Accra for the next 5 minutes.

My observations: pretty body, air head, no focus, dwells on her body to take her places and hardly any skills and steeped in what she believes to be true and never willing or eager to learn. She wasn’t very open-minded too because on some subjects she thought I was being too vain.

I guess there is a moral there for you.

The next interesting candidate was a young brilliant final year student in the university who had a calling to be a priest so was doing a pastoral school on the side so that by the time he completes university he has his theological certificate too. Pretty smart move and I was impressed.

I was impressed too that he loved nature and art – a passion I share too – and that he spoke eloquently and articulately with a good choice of diction. 

I decide to test his temperament so I made a statement that I believed Christians are cannibalistic considering that the symbolism of the last supper.

If you didn’t know I’m telling you right now I’m the son of a Baptist Reverend minister and a practicing Christian so don’t draw your Crusader daggers just yet.

This brilliant young trainee pastor went berserk. He flipped, rained insults on me for being the anti Christ and a host of other strong words I can’t even type here.

This is in a situation whereas a more open minded person would’ve calmly said these things were a matter of religious faith and that I shouldn’t take it literally, might even try to make me a convert, we laugh about it and  let it go.

Obviously his religious intolerance cost him a job.

Lesson learnt: don’t let religious or personal sensibilities cloud your judgement when doing your job or seeking one.

We all have idiosyncrasies based on different things but if you do have principles stick to it and never waiver. 

Most importantly always keep an open mind about everything. It pays to have your head screwed on straight. Deep breaths always calm you down when you don’t like or disagree with anything the other person says and you can take your time to respond appropriately.

These principles are life principles and not only apply to interviews. We’re all individuals but a lot of individuals form a collective that drives a nation.

So like I always say
It begins with YOU!!

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