Monday, 24 October 2016

THE INTERVIEW




Dennis was extremely happy to receive the letter. After all, while signing off his application letter, he had written that he would be glad if his application is considered. And yes, here was a letter he had long been waiting for. It came from Ziwani Bottlers Company limited. He was being invited for an interview in which if successful, he would be appointed the regional marketing manager. That was no mean job and it came with a lot of money and status.
He visualized himself walking down the village, a string of friends following him, while impressing ladies all over the village. He smiled as he thought of how the young and old alike, would yearn for his attention and ladies outdoing themselves to attract his attention. Who knows? He may even be declared a junior elder by some rogue senior elders, who could be shoved into action, by offering a small token.
He could be excused for such foolish thoughts because he was known to be a very proud young man. He was the kind of person whom if given the chance to be at the top of the social ladder, would trample all over everyone like an unrestrained elephant, trampling over young crops.

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He was a learned fellow, having brushed shoulders with a number of professors, in the lecture halls, so he had no problem with his academic papers. Everything was in order. After all he had graduated from the University with a first class degree in marketing. ‘Which sane employer would not be proud and honoured to have him as an employee?’ he thought.
A day before the interview, Dennis borrowed a suit and a tie from Sam his long time friend. He wanted to look his best during the interview. He also read a number of news papers and old magazines, in anticipation of the possible questions during the interview. This was meant to get rid of any cobwebs and dust which may have gathered in his brain, since he graduated. He ensured that the borrowed suit was well ironed and that his shoes were well polished and shinning like those of the members of the disciplined forces.
The following day he arrived at the venue in style. He was punctual and was dressed to impress. He had in his right hand a newspaper and a new envelope containing his academic documents. He wore a shiny Rolex watch, on his left hand, which he had borrowed from another friend, in order to appear as professional as possible. There were a number of other potential candidates, who were pacing anxiously around the reception area.
He sat calmly in one corner and pretended to read the newspaper he had bought, but in the real sense he was analyzing the other candidates, to see whether there were any potential threats to his chances of clinching the job. There was one man standing alone in one corner, holding his certificates which were in an old, brown, worn out envelope. His face was decorated by deep furrows running across his forehead, a sign that he was panicking or was worried about something. He laughed silently and dismissed him as a weak threat; just the same way a bull would dismiss a young calf who challenges him to a fight. All this time he ensured that the Rolex watch he was wearing was visible in order to appear to be an important and well connected fellow.
The interviews began. Each candidate was called in one by one, as the receptionist directed them to the rooms where the interviews were being conducted. They went in trembling like goats, awaiting slaughter. A few of them came out looking confident, but most of them came out walking like frightened dogs, whose tails were tucked between the hind legs.
His turn came. He got up from where he was sitting, glanced at his Rolex watch, looked around the reception area, to remind the other candidates that he was the man to beat, then he straightened his borrowed suit and finally looked at himself from a large mirror at the reception. He did all this while the receptionist waited impatiently to usher him in. Once the ritual was over, he went in and stood with exaggerated respectfulness, waiting to be offered a chair. After settling down, the panelists introduced themselves and they exchanged some niceties. The panel comprised of one lady and three men. Their faces were expressionless, hence one could not tell whether they were friendly or not. This sent a chill of fear down his spine.
Finally the questions began.
“Who are you?” the head of the panel asked.
“I am Dennis.” He replied
“Sorry Dennis, we already know your name.” replied the head of the panel. “What I mean is, tell us more about yourself.”
“Okey” Dennis began. “I am the son of Mzee Kelele, my mother is Ann. I belong to the clan of Shikwekwe, where chief Kwekwe my grandfather belonged to and -----------“
“Okey that is enough.” The lady in the panel interrupted.
The next question came from the lady who asked, “Why should we employ you?”
Dennis smiled, he was one of those men who believed that a woman cannot outdo him in anything, then he held his head high like a military general, focused on the lady and replied, “I grew up in a poor family, I have eight brothers and two sisters, who depend on me. Since my parents are poor, I need the job so that I can get money to support my siblings, get married and live like a king.”
The lady who asked the question almost fainted, because of the poor manner in which Dennis handled the question, but since her face was expressionless, Dennis noticed nothing. The panelists shifted uneasily on their chairs, but Dennis thought that may be the story of his poor background had moved them.
One of the male panelists, sensing that the interview was becoming more of an entertainment session, also decided to ask him another question, though he  looked disinterested.
“What experience do you have to ensure that you can penetrate the market and convince customers to buy our products?”
Dennis replied confidently, “In high school, I had a very convincing tongue, my words were sugar coated and I managed to convince many girls to love me. They even fought over me.”
At this point, one panelist lost control and burst into a thunderous laughter. Dennis thought that he was impressed by what he had said. He also joined in the laughter, while the other panelists watched helplessly.

There was a heavy sigh from the lady, ‘This man has no respect for women,’ she thought.
The head of the panel was by now convinced that they were handling a nut case, whose only destination was in an asylum. But all the same, he proceeded with the fourth question. “As a leader, how would you solve conflicts between your juniors?”
“I would definitely sack them all.” Dennis replied, without blinking.
That answer confirmed the head of the panel’s worst fears. This young man indeed, was of unsound mind.
“Lastly, Dennis,” the lady began, “If you get this job, how much do you expect to be paid?”
Dennis, without wasting time replied, “Enough money to cater for my needs and those of my siblings.

I have a neighbour who earns peanuts and cannot meet all his needs. If I was him, I would not entertain that.”
The panelists looked at one another in embarrassment. The head of the panel felt like scratching his nose. How had they even arrived at the decision to invite this man to the interview?
As for Dennis, he came out of the interview, a very confident man. He even thanked the receptionist, as they shook hands. He is still waiting for the results, three months after the interview. He still believes that he impressed the panelists.









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