Do you want me to work for you or not?

My second job interview in Egypt had convinced me beyond all doubt that there is no redemption for this country’s “professionals”. I just quit that job, teaching at the American High School section of an Egyptian private school, but in retrospect I realized how much the interview was a reflection of the state of affairs at the school as a whole; disorganized, useless, ridiculous and a general waste of a time.

My first job interview, post-graduation, was at a bank. It was precise, smooth and to the point. Amicable but not too friendly, professional but not to the point of being stuffy. It was just right (though I hated having to wear a suit and still do). The whole recruitment process was carried out by an independant HR company. What amazed me is that the company was owned by three Egyptian women (The Egyptian part is what amazed me… not the fact that they were women). The three women managed to come off as confident, knowledgable and all-round impressive. I still remember most of the questions they asked me and how they went about the various recruitment “sessions”.

My third series of interviews I experienced throughout the last week and a half. It was at an American contractor for a USAID development project. The interviews were not interviews… but none of those “interviewing” me claimed they were (I gave them the name for ease of labelling. They were more of… orientation meetings; we sat down and had a long chat/talk/whatever you wish to call it about the job, my previous experience, responsibilities, mission, goals etc. Thing is, the process went in such a smooth manner, I could scarcely believe it. Not only that, most were over without me feeling like I’ve been grilled by some country’s intelligence agency.

Every single time I left the building I was thinking: why can’t all interviews be like this?

I think they should be. You don’t have to make people feel like you ain’t worth shit, and they ain’t worth shit and life in general ain’t worth shit.

And that’s the way I see it.

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One thought on “Do you want me to work for you or not?

  1. You know, interviews are as difficult for the Interviewer and they are for the interviewee. When I interview someone for a job in our company, I must make him feel comfortable enough to tell me what he really thinks rather than hat he thinks I want to hear. I also have to challenge him with questions that he has never heard before and that he hasn’t prepared. I have to appear friendly yet fearsome so that I can judge how he reacts under pressure. I have to make him laugh so that he relaxes but not too much so that he harrases me with follow up phone calls as if I wwere his buddy.

    I always end my interviews with the following question. “Tell me why I shouldn’t hire you”

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