The story of a job interview told below by an applicant is a practical lesson on the value of having practical skills in addition to a long list of University Degrees
It was 5 to 7 minutes into the interview, and the lady interviewer looked at me, shook her head and said the 3 words that means a decision is irrevocable….”I am Sorry.” When an “Oyinbo” looks at you and does a crisp wry smile that barely lasts a second, and then utters the 3 words….your fate is sealed. You may not even see any movement across the lips, cheeks or face. But it must always come before the 3 words.
Anyway, those 3 words mean they cannot help you further, and there is no amount of begging, emotional appeal, crying or sentimental display that will make them change their minds.
“I am sorry, it is hard to believe that you have studied competitively for 17 straight years and you do not have a practicable experience that you can apply or adapt for the role you have applied for.”
She glanced at my CV once again before looking at my boyish innocent face.
“Did you pay a professional for this CV” she asked? “No” I quipped. “A professional CV writer would have probably spotted my lack of experience…..”
“Yeah, you are right. I agree.” She interrupted me. “Honestly, it is hard to believe that your CV doesn’t even show any holiday work experience. Sorry where are you from again if you don’t mind?”
“Did you ever work during holiday?”
“And you are not a prince?”
“No” (Half smiling).
“Well, you are not the first from that area that I have interviewed in the last 12 years I have been doing this. All of you seemed to have that brain knowledge but without adequate work experience to match it”.
To cut the long story short, she confessed to me that based on CV alone, I was the most qualified of the final 5 candidates, and I was the last to be interviewed. She was expecting a sweep off from me, but all I did was a whimper.
She gave me a business card and told me to use her as reference.
“They will help you to build up your experience with one of their jobs. We can’t offer you this role. It will definitely go to one of the other fours with lower qualifications but right experience”.
She crossed out some lines and changed some of the words in my CV to action words connoting responsibilities. She liked it she said, but it was empty in real substance.
She deflated me, and yet built me up. I learnt my lesson! Though I missed out on being a pioneer HR Officer for that Raddison Hotel somewhere around Leicester Square, I still walked out full of hope…..and with deep anger towards the educational system that nurtured me on 6334 without adequately preparing me for challenges beyond book knowledge.
Please, I understand that LAUTECH and some other institutions are on strike, let the students go and do apprenticeship.
When one of my students during my lecturing days showed me his account, I nearly fainted. He was a builder, a plumber, and an electrician.
He only had lectures 3 days a week, the remaining four days were for his father’s business. His dad gets a contract, and he worked full time like other employees so that most of the contract money won’t go to strangers. They were from one of these Eastern European countries. I loved him more when he showed me the BMW he wanted to buy….CASH! I couldn’t dare it!
Truth is, one can learn many of these artisans’ trade whilst studying and gradually build experience and make money over time. What it means is that you will never be stranded anywhere.
In Israel, both males and females undergo intense military training by the time they are 18. Today, an average Israeli is a reserved combatant waiting for activation should their be a need for it regardless of the age.
To the fathers who have businesses, don’t train other people’s children alone, train yours too.
Don’t send them to holiday lesson all the time. Only send to holiday lessons those that are academically weak. Nonetheless, find their strengths and build on those.
Mothers with shops in the market, take your daughters with you and allow them to handle customers, negotiate, make orders, and audit your stocks! That’s part of what we call procurement here. Marketing, Customer Services, Communication, Auditing, Procurement skills and etc. have just been added to their experience.
If you have an office, let your children go there during holiday to master administrative roles. Let them photocopy, take calls, fax, send emails, compose letters, receive letters and file documents in appropriate places. Administrative skills and Communication Skills, and Record Keeping skills have been added to the kitty.
Truth is, most of us were made to ‘eat books’ for years, but those made to use their brains will coordinate those that fed their brains only without other equipping processes being perfected.
Let them go for vocational training of their choice. It may be useful than what they think in the future. No knowledge is lost.
Train them on house chores both girls and boys. Engage them especially during holidays.
Prepare them for greater tomorrow. Equip them to face the challenges of tomorrow. Make them useful for themselves and for the society.
God is counting on us to train His heritage rightly. Remember we will give Account of our stewardship to God concerning them.
I just pray we can do the right thing for once in our lifetime. Let us find skills that will function well so that many of the students kicked out of school could have something doing.
Let us teach our Teens and Children why they need to engage themselves during holidays and in every opportunity that opens.