Interview Lessons

In my career, I’ve had a very rare opportunity of changing someone’s life for the better. Every few months or so, I get to sit in a panel (sometimes single handedly) and decide on who gets the job and who doesn’t. This might sound like a very easy thing. Well, it’s not. During these instances though, I have picked up afew pointers:

#1: There is nothing like a perfect candidate: Initially, I’d conduct my interviews with a checklist. Then I realised that after a very long and tiring day of ticking off my list, there would be no one that fitted perfectly. These days, I engage the candidate in a conversation as I listen and observe them carefully in the view of trying to understand the person better and their fit for the job. I also pay attention to any inconsistencies that may arise in their responses.

#2: Trust your gut feeling: There are instances where I have interviewed someone and even though they did not ‘fit’, I get this nagging feeling that I need to give them a chance. 99% of the time, my gut feeling has always worked in my favor. Learn to take a chance on someone.

#3: Integrity is everything. There are thousands of job seekers out here who are willing and ready to pay money so they can get the job. The only question is, what is your price? Always remember that anyone who buys a job will never be able to perform to the expectations. After all, they bought it. As a recruiter, if your integrity can be bought with money, you are useless to your employer and a disgrace to your profession. At the same time, any candidate who presents to you fake documents is a No! No! The same way they have lied their way into the interview is the same way they will lie their way at work. Any decent person will tell you the truth and leave the decision to or not to hire them to you.

#4: Nothing is always as it seems. Some people are talented in telling lies. You need to be smart enough to sift facts from stories. It’s human to be emotional, just don’t confuse a candidate’s tears for their ability and real desire to get hired. Some are real actors/actresses. Empathise but don’t let your judgement to be clouded by tears.

#5: The CV does not do the job. A perfect CV does not usually amount to a suitable candidate. There are people who are good at writing great CVs but know nothing about doing the real job. Focus on the person sitting in front of you, he/she will be the one doing the job, not their CVs. This is not an excuse for presenting a bad CV to a potential employer though.

Learning is a process and even as time goes by, I believe there will be more opportunities to learn something new.

After you leave your Employer

Exiting employment is hard, whether it’s under good circumstances or not so good terms.

In any normal organization, you will find that everyone will attempt to come up with their own explanation of the circumstances surrounding their colleague’s exist. There will be accusations, some of it, completely absurd. Unfortunately, the most scandalous version usually carries the day. It is all human nature.

As a junior officer some years back, I once heard that my reason for exiting this particular company was because I was romantically involved with a top level senior Manager and there was even a sex tape to prove it. At first, I was very hurt and furious about that story. I even contemplated storming back into that place and publicly refuting all those allegations. Then I thought about it some more and decided to focus that energy on something that would actually add value to my life, so I let it go. When I think back at this experience, I find it hilarious and simply put, stupid. I was once so broke though, that I thought about going back to demand for that infamous sex tape so I could pull a Kim K on everyone.

People will always have something negative to say about you, whether you spend all your time trying to do good to them or not. Unfortunately also, this is usually that time when even those colleagues you considered friends distance themselves from you, lest your unemployment rubs onto them. What really counts however, is your truth. No one knows you better than yourself. When you know that your conscience is clear and you can sleep well at night, then you are good. All the negative talk simply turn into distant noise.

The end of one employment, whether voluntary or otherwise is never the end of the world, though sometimes it may feel like that. It is simply the beginning of a new life. Always look at a closed door as an opportunity for the opening of a new and better one. Do not stare at that closed door for too long though, lest you miss the opportunity to enter a new one. It is also very important that you do not listen to gossip either. Stay away from those frenemies whose life ambition is to bring you the latest gist about you at your former employment.

This us the time to focus on yourself, in getting your mojo back and then, later, looking at how to get back on your feet. Do not let the opinions of people bring you down and sink you into depression. Instead, make it your lifelong goal to do everything in your power to get back up, and to a better and higher level. Trust me, all those who were badmouthing you will soon be calling to ask if you could refer them for employment at your current place of work.

When you are at your lowest, trust yourself, in your God given strength and most importantly, trust in the Lord with all your heart.