Story so far –You have completed the university, done one year of national service and you are in need of a job. So far, you have applied to as many as two hundred companies and you have not even had an interview schedule yet. You find a job advertisement which you are not qualified for ,but you apply anyway. Read on,
You send the application and for the first time, you receive an automatic response, “Thank you for your application; we are very pleased that you’d like to work with us. We would like to express our sincere appreciation for your interest in this employment. Your resume is now available for review by our recruiters. While our recruiters review your resume, no further action is required by you.” You are ecstatic. This is the first time you are receiving something like this; an automatic response acknowledging receipt of your application. You almost leap with joy. At least, you are certain they have received your application and may review it. You wish other companies emulate this. It will save unemployed graduates like yourself some energy, because you keep wondering whether their applications have been received or not. You even start to doubt the jobs’ authenticity.
You are filled with nostalgic feeling on your last day of work (national service) because, you are not certain of how life is going be when you are finally given the tag; unemployed graduate. At the same time, you are hopeful, because of the automatic response you received from that company. Imagine telling that to Richard, your pessimistic friend, he will groan almost as if he is in pain and say with a smirk, “You think they will call you? Do you know the number of applications they receive in a day?” He will add, “You are not qualified in the first.”
You have always hated him for his curtness, but somehow he always ends up being right, especially when it comes to job issues. So, you decide not to inform him until something more positive happens, like receiving an interview schedule.
On your first day on unemployment, you use some of the money you have saved to get internet voucher. You know you cannot give up at this point. You still check the popular websites religiously, hoping you will find that dream job. Well, you haven’t specified your dream job yet, but you can always see it in your mind’s eye. Specifications of the job: office setting- where everyone has a desk. Air conditioned, so you can always dress up formally, that is, wear a shirt, a neck tie (neatly tucked in) and add a blazer/suit to it. As for your shoes, it is an office setting, no need for constant polishing because, they will always remain shiny. Colleagues at the office – they should be cultured, well mannered. They should speak English, minimum, 75% of the time. You hate workplaces, where all they do is to communicate in a local language almost all the time. Your work schedule should not be too tight; you are looking at working from Monday – Friday, 8am-4pm. No overtime, please. You do not want to spend your entire day working.
Overall, you have sent two hundred applications in the past five months. Recently, you realize there are no job postings requiring the services of graduates with the kind of experience you have. The ones you mostly see are those seeking managers with 5-10 years of work experience. You are not qualified, you know that, but you still apply for them anyway. You are getting desperate at this point. Your options are getting slimmer as they days go by. No automatic response to receipt of applications, neither have you received any call to schedule an interview yet. You begin to think of other alternatives. Or you should venture into your own business. Entrepreneurship is what they call it. You do not have the startup capital- number 1. You do not have the office space (this is not so relevant; you can use your room). You do not have the courage to start up the business- number 3. And deep down in your heart, you know you have never thought of owning a business, this is actually your first time considering that idea and you figure out it is as a result of franticness. You don’t even have a creative idea to begin with. You simply know venturing into entrepreneurship is not in your genes. You admire young entrepreneurs, but you know you are not one of them. Is it possible not to have entrepreneurial ambitions at all?
You are having a nap one afternoon. You receive a phone call, the number does not look familiar to you, but you answer it anyway.
“Hello.” You almost whisper.
“Hi, Am I speaking to Kofi Owusu? My name is Lisa.” The voice on the other side paused,
“Have you ever applied to be a teller at the Hope Microfinance Company Limited?”
Your heart skip a beat, or rather does a flip flop. For Christ’s sake, you have applied for over two hundred jobs, how does this lady expect you to remember each one of them? But you nod, thinking she can see you.
“Y—esss, Ye-sss. I have applied.” You stammer as you reply.You wish she will cut the formalities and get straight to business.
“I am calling to schedule you for an interview, Monday, 5th October, at 11am. Is that okay with you?” “Does she expect me to say no?” You think to yourself.
You keep nodding to every detail. Finally, she hangs up.
You are super thrilled about this phone call and about the job already. You call your friend Richard to give him the news. Richard, as usual was unenthusiastic. He kept asking you if that was going to be your first interview, and whether you knew the kind of questions they will be asking you at all. He even commented that there are times when the interviewers sought answers to questions like, the land size of a country like Madagascar or the last thing Nelson Mandela said before he died. Very funny. How do they expect you to have answers to questions like that? But you make a note to check the answers to those questions.
You start prepping for the interview. You know Richard is right about one thing, although you hate to admit it. You have never attended any interview in your life. The only thing you have ever done, which is close to an interview is an appointment with your doctor, where he kept probing to find out exactly what was wrong with you. You know you cannot call that an interview, but at least it gives you an idea of what an interview is. You start getting anxious, because you do not know the kind of questions they will ask you, or who will be on the interview panel. What if you are not able to answer the questions they pose to you? Or, you make some kind of mistake and they refuse to employ you? Is your search for jobs going to end with this interview?
to be continued