|Employees working on a problem.
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So…I got an invitation to attend an interview in Lagos and it got me really excited. The company had a great online presence and I imagined how I could add value to the company.
I took a bus trip and somewhere between Ondo and Oyo, we were nearly in an accident. It would have been fatal if the cars had connected so I was thankful for the miss. The near accident left me shaken until we got to Lagos and as such, I couldn’t sleep well that night. By morning, I knew I had to get myself together or be horribly bad at the interview.
Knowing Lagos traffic, I set out for Ikeja 2 hours before the scheduled time. As fate would have it, I got to the venue a good 1 hour before my interview; even though I took leisurely walks and paced my bus-hopping. I decided to buy time by going to the bank, entering a shopping mall and enjoying the scenery. I only managed to use up 20 minutes. I walked back to the venue of the interview as slowly as I could and got there with 20 minutes to spare. I knew I couldn’t go anywhere else so I just went in.
When I got into the office, I was a bit disappointed. It didn’t look as I expected it to do. I was not bothered (much) because they were an online firm and all they needed were computers and internet right? Moreover, I felt that since they could rent a place in Ikeja, they must be serious with themselves.
At 10:20am, only one person had resumed work. That was my first cue that something was wrong with the firm. The guy whom I saw kept calling his colleagues to inform them that the person scheduled for the 10am interview was around. After about 30 minutes, the guy told me he had to go somewhere and left me alone in the office. I was surprised. How was he comfortable leaving the office with a total stranger? What if I was a criminal? Or had evil intentions? I remained where I was, hoping the guy wouldn’t be long.
Another interviewee came in at around 10:40am and we both sat and waited.
You wouldn’t believe that the COO of the company came in at about 11:30am and the CEO came in at about 12:30pm. How could they set an interview for 10am and turn up more than two hours late for it? I sat there and waited like a fool, wondering if this was what I left Kaduna to Lagos for. I hoped that it would be worth it in the end.
When the boss was finally ready for us, he asked to see the other girl first. The guy I met said I came in first and the man said in a loud voice that ‘it didn’t matter’. I was beyond shocked! Did this man have no principles?! I sat there fuming and knew I wouldn’t want to work with them.
When it was my turn to be interviewed, I went in and sat across from the man. He started by saying, ‘so you are the one who came here since 8’o clock right?’ That made me pause. Here was a prospective employer mocking me for coming to an interview early! I wondered if the man even knew any interview etiquette. I faked a smile and waited for the questions.
He asked me a series of questions and I answered them. Then he mentioned a few brands and asked if I followed them. I said I had heard of them. He said he wanted to do ‘something like that’ and my disappointment finally set. This company didn’t understand what originality was.
After less than 5 minutes, he said he was done and that I should return in 3 days for the second phase of the interview.
I was so mad! If I had known that was what I was coming for, I would never have come to Lagos! I went back home and packed my things. My friends and siblings said I should wait and see since I had gone all that way. I really wanted to leave but I didn’t want to worry about ‘what could have been’.
So I waited.
I went back to the office as planned and again, had to wait for 2 hours before the CEO came in. I swore that no matter what they were offering, I was not going to take the job!
From the waiting area, I heard the CEO call a group of people repeatedly and I thought they were part of the interview panel. This was because he kept saying, ‘we are waiting for you oh!’ When these people finally came, turned out they were also to be interviewed; just like me!
They had no sooner sat down than the CEO invited them in for their interview. I was mad! So was the other girl! Here we were waiting for more than two hours and the moment 2 guys walk in, they were attended to first. Eventually, I moved beyond anger to resignation; I had wasted money coming to Lagos.
When I finally got in, the first thing I noticed was that the CEO’s shirt was streaked with dirt; almost like he had spilled coffee on himself and used his shirt as a rag. I was repulsed. This man didn’t even bother to make an impression.
Like the first time, I sat across from him and waited. The man said I had the job and explained my duties. It wasn’t another phase of the interview; it was just job confirmation. I wondered if they couldn’t have done that via mail and why I had to come back after 3 days to hear that.
After explaining himself, he told me what the salary was and that was when I lost it. The fake smile dropped and my semi poker, semi I-wish-I-can-punch-you-in-the-gut look came on. I let him talk and when he was done, he thanked me for coming.
I left the office livid and headed to Victoria Island.
It was on my way there that the man called me and said, ‘Ramatu, I didn’t even ask if you accepted our offer. Do you accept?’
After about 45 minutes! Mtchewww! I smiled and said, ‘Why of course! I am glad to have been offered this opportunity’.
He responded by saying, ‘Well then, see you on Monday at 12pm. Welcome to the team’.
I guess he didn’t understand sarcasm.
I cannot imagine a company that allows her staff resume whenever they want and whose key officials do not bother to dress the part. I am not saying wear a suit all the time but at least, look clean and professional! Ha ahn!
Anyway, I was disappointed that a company didn’t have laid down principles of work and a system that new employees should learn and adapt to. I had worked for a company that had no principles and I swore that I will never do that again!
A company’s image and ethics say a lot about how far they are willing to go and how long their legacy will last. This company obviously didn’t care about either. Even though they had a good online presence, their work ethics spoke of people who were not professional in their dealings. I didn’t need to use any extra brain cell to know that I would not align myself with that company.
This made me wonder if my case was isolated. Could there be more companies like the one I went to? Have you ever had to deal with prospective yet unprofessional employers? What did you do when that happened? Share your interview horror stories with me and let us discuss how to handle such companies and/or employers.