Facing the interview Victor’s style
I was working somewhere around Peponi Plaza, Westlands. I had been compiling data I had earlier collected at the Ministry of Planning Library. There was this feeling of being jobless that had always rang on my mind all through. The fever was always on and off. Peak of it was whenever I smelled the end of the Research Assistance.
“What can a young man do?”, I asked myself. So I decided that bright morning to throw one or two CVs before I could embark on the analysis of facts and figures before me. Without second thought I did a search of Steel Fabrication companies. I sent two or three CVs to explore the possibility of employment.
Quarter past one. My Phone rang. “Is this Victor Odhiambo?”, the caller asked. I responded in affirmation. After the next few sentences, an interview was scheduled for the next few days. To be exact-the next day!
I had joy and anxiety combined. Those who had known me knew this period when I was off employment. During that period, I had my own experience of career drought. I don’t know whether it was only me, but, there is this period between September and December that nothing seemed to move. As a jobseeker, I knew that a regret email is appreciated because it shows you that someone took time and read your application. So the fact that I got this particular phone call was a blessing.
I was, “Hosanna!”
I quickly approached the consultant with whom I worked and excused myself for the next day. I also spent much time in the afternoon researching about my soon to be employer. When the dusk came, I was ready!
The interview was nice. A panel of seven. The Head of Department came with his full squad. As the secretary beckoned me to wait. I looked around the company’s notices. Then at long last, “come with me!”
HOD said, “You may have a seat.” I thanked him in return. I took a gaze at the table. I could see my CV with all the panelists. I even got more confident. HOD started, “Mr. Agigo, tell us about yourself!” That was sweet. In my life I had answered this question almost every day. I responded with my latest academic qualification, career objective and related experience in one paragraph.
The other questions that followed were related to my skills and knowledge in fabrication of steel. I excelled. But there was this moment that was funny. Some members of the panel began to ask one after another about what my opinion would be about office politics. Here I was- jobless with ambitions of employment and pursuit of further education, yet someone suggests to me that office politics was ripe. I sensed a divided house. In fact someone asked about set ups. My response was that I knew protocol and what it entailed. I also understand the virtue of team work as well as personal responsibility. I asserted that once appointed, I would do my duties within protocol and with a team spirit for the benefit of the organization. The success of the organization would to me be more important in my career than myopic set ups from colleagues. That was smart. I saw the hepta nodding in approval.
Then came the practical question, where I was to design the cutting sizes for some mild steel sheet. That was chocolate for me. Within the next minute, the answer was there. I had previously done that so it was not news to me. After marking the cutting sizes, I wrote on the bottom of the paper: NTS(Not to Scale). The reply was, “Excellent!”
After this interview, I filled some employment forms and after two days, the phone call was just as expected. Report on the 19th. Fortunately or unfortunately, I did not report there. Something had cropped up somewhere else and in a similar manner; I managed to pass the interview. In this second interview we were four candidates. I emerged top two in the first interview. In the second interview two days later, the other candidate emerged second!
In a span of two weeks, I had successful offers of employment. I chose one over the other. That is story for another day.
So the question is, “What interview tips do I employ?”
I answer as:
- I do the location research for the organization(venue) and plan so that I reach there 30 minutes before scheduled time
- I do thorough research about the organization before I attend the interview. Such issues as Organization’s background, mission, vision, organogram, clients and performance are not left to chance. Can’t be left to chance whenever Victor is attending the interview.
- Upon arrival in the room, I do not sit until told to do so and always respond with a “Thank you!”
- I do pause before answering questions and at times, I repeat back the question to give the assurance that I got the question right. (Mr. Chairman you have asked whether I know how to calculate cutting sizes. That question is very important to me. As outlined in my CV, I have been responsible for design and calculation of cutting sizes in XYZ company and I am confident the knowledge and experience gained so far will be an asset to your organization)
- Where I am not sure, I always say am not aware, but at the same time am willing to research about it.
- I am always smartly dressed even o the office. On interview day, I always dress even smarter. This is because of the first impression rule.
- I have developed this habit of making eye contact with the panelists and chairman. This requires confidence.
- When asked about any question at the end, I always ask two. First, “if appointed, when can I start?” Secondly, “is the use of XYZ skill practiced in this organization?” because I would then volunteer to train the staff about it.
- Am always very audible and clear
- Am always Victor.
Now the above hints should encourage somebody not to fear interviews. See yourself like a winner always. A good interview just like a chick that will turn into a cock, can be seen instantaneously. No Magic is required.
In most of my job search period, I do a lot of prayer and wet fasting. I always believe in God and his overall supreme authority. I also believe that hard work pays and whatever I do, I must prepare adequately. That has been my style. That is Victor’s style!
To date I always say that for me, the hardest part is always to get the interviewer to call. I always pinch myself and swear that when they do, then they must be prepared because Victor is always prepared.
Is someone encouraged?
I just hope that I get time to discuss CV writing and Application letters, but till next time, see you.
I am and always will be,
Victor Agigo Jawaseda!
[author ]Victor is a Kenyan writer and one of Kenya’s brightest upcoming leaders. He is currently compiling his autobiography.[/author]