Dear Employer: It’s An Interview, Not A Death Sentence

By  |  December 15, 2019

Nowadays, it seems as though there are more interviews than jobs. Resume reviews, screening exercises and shortlisting candidates can all be a bit of a crap shoot. Many people believe they are some sort of science, when, in fact, they’re just processes to fulfill righteousness – mostly.

About 80 percent of available jobs are never advertised. The average number of people who apply for any given job is 118. Approximately 20 percent of those applicants get an interview.

The problem with the job interview process begins with the basic approach recruiters and hiring manager make to evaluate talent. And sometimes, they go way too deep into the wrong hole. 

It’s Not A Favor

With the unemployment crisis plaguing Africa, giving someone a job is like making his or her dreams come true. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. That’s very understandable. However, many job candidates have countlessly complained about the way interviewers and HR firms treat them during interviews – like they are some felon on the run. 

Some employers treat candidates as though they’re doing them a favor, says Adetoun Adedokun, HR and Customer Success Manager at Lagos-based HRtech startup SeamlessHR.

In a conversation with WeeTracker, she says that a disturbing number of HR firms and employers conduct interviews in a manner which suggests they are trying to bring out only the worst in candidates. “They are not willing to work with diamonds in the rough – if it does not fit completely with their checklist they may not employ [them],” she said. 

It all starts from the reception. The top-of-the-world feeling often gets the best of them – so much that they spot the unnecessary and use them to make hiring decisions. Case in point, telling a candidate he or she doesn’t look ready for the job – or interview – is in no way called for, no matter the situation. 

So Many Vague Questions

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The Telegraph

There’s no harm in asking candidates where they see themselves five years from now – everyone does that nowadays so it’s expected. Nothing is wrong with wanting to know why they want the job – even if that’s obvious. In the same way, employers asking candidates their salary expectations, because it’s actually necessary.

But there is something off wanting to know what they were paid at their previous job or how they would solve problems if they were from Mars. There’s no denying that there are rather creative questions to ask, like “”If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose?”.

Emmanuel Akachukwu, 29, a Sociology and Anthropology graduate from the University of Benin – one of the best tertiary institutions in Nigeria – has attended more interviews than he can count. Despite graduating with a Second Class Upper Degree, he is yet to land a job, as the many interviews he attended provide unproductive.

Speaking with WeeTracker, Akachukwu emphasizes his certainty that if he was judged based on his qualification and skills, he would have long landed a job. 

“Sometimes it’s as though having a good degree and skills to go with it is a waste of time. Some interviewers do not even look at my resume. One time, a hiring manager asked if I am hungry enough to take the company to greater heights.

I was confused, but I had to say yes. I think my worst interview experience was when an employer asked whether I was ready to get fired if they don’t see results in one month after employment. Even though it was a trick question I did answer correctly, it sent the wrong message”. 

Slow Down

Some candidates answer as much as 20 questions in a single interview. This is not the only problem, but as well the fact that most of the questions are not relevant to the interview. Some employers think it’s okay to pick the brains of candidates with out-of-the-world questions like we have discussed earlier.

Everything that goes on during the interview process should be relevant to the job. It should be tailored to find out qualifications, rather than looking for loopholes to exploit. Making candidates feel as though you want to make them burn themselves unknowingly is not necessary. 

Adetoun Adedokun, again, weighs in, saying: “Giving a person a job should be based on the ultimate criteria of skill, knowledge and fit”. Her opinion is in semblance to that of many, which advocates that interviews are not death sentences, but rather an avenue for firms to find the right candidate for an opening.

Simplicity Is Key In Interviews

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There are creative and interesting ways to assess people, most of which they are aware of. Having too many faces, names and other details to catch up with in a short time feels like a quantum computing marathon. 

Bridget Nwosu, 25, a First Class Mass Communication graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University, Ghana, says some of her interview experiences have felt like a marathon.

“I once had an interview with a media company, and the process did not give me breathing space. From one question to the other with no space in-between, it made me feel like I was being tested in a lab. Some HR firms deliberately want you to mess up to thin out the number of candidates, I think,” she told WeeTracker

In agreement, Adeotun says hiring managers have so many CVs to read and little time to do so. Nonetheless, this is what every interviewee should have in mind. You have little time to make an impression to put you at the peak of your candidature. 

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