A story is told of a young woman, let us call her Mildred, who together with her family moved to a new country, which we shall call Oceana because her husband found a job there. Mildred was on a spouse visa at the time and could not work because of Oceana’s regulations. She, therefore, decided to enrol for a nursing degree while her work permit was being processed, worked hard and emerged top of her class yada yada… Soon enough it was time to enter the job market. It wouldn’t be that hard to get a job since she was top of her class anyway, right? Wrong! Anyway, moving on swiftly (which is what I always say after getting rejected by a company …or an ex but let’s keep it professional). Thank you for the advice Ariana or dare I say… thank you, next!

After a year of trying and being rejected by all hospitals in Oceana, she decided to enroll for a Master’s degree to improve her chances of employment. That did not work out either and do you know what’s funny? One of the schools rejected her because she was a married woman. Yes feminists, we still have a long way to go! After this, she fell into depression and would not do anything, not even shower or brush her teeth for days on end. I am currently there (the job seeking part), rest assured my body is washed and teeth brushed (you will never find out anyway). Thank you smell-free technology and writing, my one true escape from this cruel, job-deprived world! Next!

Mildred was on the verge of giving up (hang in there if this is you right now) when a friend told her that one of the top hospitals in Oceana was looking to hire a nurse. She applied to the position albeit half-heartedly and got called in for an interview. Now this is where I need your full attention, the other part was just blabber that sounded like a primary school composition ..erm..essay that I could have shortened but needed for my jokes or lack thereof. So, ready? Good!

For her previous interviews, Mildred was always well dressed, hair sleeked back, CV ready (Americans: résumé ready), everything check! Well, this time she couldn’t care less. During her existential crisis period she had dyed her hair pink and purple (not a common look with nurses but one that would be really cool, right?) and she was practically in her lounge wear aka pyjamas aka quarantine uniform (of course I exaggerate for the purposes of vivid description) when she showed up for the interview. Before the interviewer could ask her any of the typical interview questions, Mildred already had a lot to say.

 She recounted her interview ordeal, including being discriminated against because she was a foreigner, after which she told them that if they wouldn’t consider her for the job, they shouldn’t waste her time or theirs and with that bid them adieu. Yea, you guessed it, she got the job! (Y’all are so smart, see? Go get that job!) Can you believe it? She got THAT job! The one she showed up to looking like a complete mess and didn’t answer a single question during. I guess she had showered and brushed her teeth, maybe that helped (I’ll try it next time for my interview. I just cracked the code guys! Expect some good news soon)

Perhaps sometimes it pays to be completely honest but not always, especially not during job interviews. I say that because Mildred’s case is a very isolated one (try this technique at your own risk). It’s all theatrics if you ask me or ‘putting your best foot forward’ if you want to have a clear conscience. I shall demonstrate in the form of a poem (you can disagree with me if you like, this is just how I see it from where I stand. Which must explain why I still don’t have a job *sobs internally*). Here goes:

The interviewer:  I am looking for a door, I am looking for a chair

                               Someone who knows a lot here and a lot there

                               Can you be of use everywhere?

                              I don’t care what you truly know or to what degree

                             As long as you can lie when you’re in front of me

The interviewee:  I can swim, I can soar, I can crawl on the floor

                               I’ll  say only what is needed to get my foot in the door

                             I am a bird, I am a fish, I am a splinter on a tree

                            And here’s the best part…

                          I am anything you want me to be

Ok, maybe that’s too pessimistic and not entirely true but I still stand by it much like Mildred and her purple pink hair, look where that got her! In any case, tell me you’re not tired of how robotic and fixed most interview processes are. Some are customized and what not but the majority just make you a puppet; the interviewer pulls a string and the interviewee moves accordingly. We do what we have to to put food on the table so I am not judging anyone here. I however love challenging the status quo one robotic interview at a time. Sorry Sophia!

Oh! What’s that? You don’t think I am partly right? Then let’s ask the experts… but I won’t do all the work for you because this has gone on for longer than I expected (I have showers to take, teeth to brush and rejections to get over you know?) so I encourage you to look up the subject and see what you find out. Who knows? You might find your next job in the process or tell your interviewer one of your strengths is conducting research. Spruce up your CV and get robotic with it! Good luck!

Sasha Wanjiku

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