Saturday, June 14, 2008

Interviews: Opinion of one of the panelists

As part of my 'acting' manger stint, I've had the priviledge to interview some 20 odd job seekers in the last couple of weeks. Now, I haven't been in a job interview in 3 years, so some insights were gathered even as I had the pleasure of deciding the destiny of many (sounds powerful), while being on the other side of the table.

The typical interview involves the cusory introduction, you give us a brief of your educational and career background, we attack you with questions based on your c.v., we then shift to questions about the job, and finally throw in a couple of puzzles to see your analytical skills. Then we give you the chance to ask one or two questions, before the HR representative closes with the usual 'We'll get back to you in a few weeks'.

Here are some insights:

1. Don't put anything on your c.v. if you can't defend it. The fun one is putting French, we'll start the interview in that language! Usually, the jamaa is caught flat footed. You say you are IT, we'll give you an IT problem.

2. The shorter and more precise the c.v. is the better. Focus on job skills and exposure. Anything else such as dining hall prefect is a waste of paper. Save the trees, stick to 2 pages max.

NB: We sifted 100+ cv's to get the 20 interviewees so I cannot over-emphasize this point.

3. Make sure you know what the job is about even if it's just general knowledge. Use google or human networks to know. And don't use one of your 2 questions to ask directly, it's a minus. If necessary, ask tactfully e.g. what are the day to day activities of the job like?

4. Identify an ally in the panel and flow with them. Most of the decisions made were based on a general concensus with one direct supporter (usually the big boss). I'm not sure how someone becomes likeable but guess if we like you, odds are in your favour. I saw a guy with double masters being snubbed for a fresh undergrad. Life ain't fair, but remember we'll be working with you for years to come so we need to choose the right person to flow with the crew (race, tribe, religion have nothing to do with this, just personality - emotional quotient).

5. Be confident, but not cocky. If you don't know the answer, say so, confidently. Arrogance will get your cv blacklisted for the next million years.

6. Finally, if you've sold spinach for the last 3 years, attempts to convince us that you can switch to repairing kitchenware will most likely fall on deaf years. We turned away good guys even if they'd done their research and got most answers correct, so long as their career trend didn't fit with our objectives. They'd probably use us as a stepping stone to get to the spinach selling department.

"The fastest runner does not always win the race, the strongest soldier does not always win the battle, the wisest does not always have food, the smartest does not always become wealthy, and the talented one does not always recieve praise. TIME and CHANCE happen to everyone" Ecclesiastes 10:11

Happy Hunting!

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At 6/16/2008 11:59 am , Blogger Maua said...

Nice one, I've got an interview on Thursday, and this comes in handy as I've not been to one for years.

At 6/16/2008 2:59 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting, but...eeeerrr..people get away with lying in their CVs you know, sometimes luck works its way here.

At 6/16/2008 3:58 pm , Blogger Uzimalife said...

I'll take what you've said to heart

At 6/17/2008 11:29 pm , Anonymous seinlife said...

i wouldn't wanna be in one of your interviews - yikes!

At 6/23/2008 8:37 pm , Blogger mwasjd said...

All the best, I needed to take part to know it myself

@neema divine
To get a job, everything counts including lies and luck, guess life isn't a straight line. That's why the interview lasts a while, and the measures for getting someone aren't down to one thing or person only.

Karibu. You can also google a pdf called How To Move Mount Fuji.

You'd better be scared, but also remember that you don't win the lottery unless you buy a ticket. I've watched a chic's blouse turn dark with sweat, wicked!!!


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