I had the oddest job interview. It was the more like an audition. And it is even more unusual when you have no idea that you’re being auditioned for the role.
Let me narrate how it all went down.
I was barely getting by with the job I had; not enough pay but better than nothing. Working conditions less than ideal but manageable. But I hit rock bottom when the wind of economic crisis hit so hard that I was laid off. Getting back into the job hunt wasn’t easy. It was either I was underqualified or way overqualified for a job. And waiting for replies to applications was torturous. Just when I was giving up on it all, I received a call asking me to come over for an interview. God always turns up at one’s greatest point in need, doesn’t He?
As if all the forces from the village had been deployed to torment me, I couldn’t get a cab to the venue. Arriving late to an interview was a big minus; one I couldn’t afford to have even before having the interview. Although I knew I would end up exhausted and sweaty, I decided to walk to the next bus stop and try my luck. Halfway to the bus stop, I remembered to buy myself a pack of Mentos to help me not feast on my poor nails when waiting for the interview. I walked to the counter to find the attendant scolding a lad about money.
“It is too early for me to entertain tricks like this, young man. Just pay for the candy in your mouth!”
“What is going on here?”
“He took the candy and began eating it before realizing he didn’t bring his wallet with him. It was deliberate…trying to tempt me to sin this early morning…” “How much is it?”
“Fifty pesewas and he picked up these too.”
“And how much will all of it cost?”
“Three Ghana cedis, fifty pesewas.” “Fine; I’ll pay for it. Come for your stuff.” “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I said with a smile. He walked out. I took my change from the attendant who continued to grumble about the boy.
Fortunately, I got a cab immediately I stepped out of the mart. I decided to go over the information I had gathered about the company from my research on the way. As expected, traffic was tight and I began to wonder if I’d make it in time. The cab driver suggested another route which would be more convenient. I gave him the go-ahead. But it seemed he wasn’t the only driver thinking so since the traffic on that route was as bad as the one we had dodged.
When I got to the venue, it was about seven minutes to the appointed time. It wasn’t enough for me to prep up but it was better than a minute late. I introduced myself to the secretary who offered me a seat. My nails found their way into my mouth when anxiety began to sweep over me. As I was going over my notes one more time, someone passed by and said hi and I responded without paying much attention to whoever he was.
I was called inside and a panel of three were seated. I was applying for the position of the CEO’s personal assistant and apparently it was a big deal considering the panelists. The CEO was unavailable at the moment. It went well and they seemed impressed with me. I was to report at seven to meet the CEO himself.
I was beside myself with excitement. In less than 24 hours, I’d officially be off the job-hunting market. I turned and tossed in my bed for most parts of the night.
I arrived at the premises at 6:45; talk about creating first good impression! The HRM who was part of the panelists welcomed me with a smile and gave me a rundown on what I was supposed to be doing whiles waiting for the boss to arrive. Did that mean I was hired?
I must say it felt good to be walking in the hallway in squeaking heels as if I owned the place. After going on two rounds and familiarizing myself with some faces, I noticed a well-dressed elderly man seated outside the boss’ office. I approached and politely asked him if I could be of assistance. He had an appointment with the boss at eight and he was about twenty minutes early. I assured him he’d be in by the appointed time and asked if he was comfortable. He replied in the affirmative and I continued with my tasks. I noticed him scribbling something in a file in hand from time to time. He must have a lot to discuss with the boss, I thought.
Eight o’clock passed and the boss was still not in. And since I had no idea who he was and why he was running late, I couldn’t think of cover up story for his absence. I apologized on his behalf and asked if he’d like to wait or leave and come some hours later. He preferred waiting. I sat down and immediately there was a mail from the Head of Operations. I attended to it immediately. When I was done, I was tempted to take out my phone and go snooping on social media but something pricked me not to. The man was still waiting…patiently. I called HRM’s office to ask for what to do.
Upon her advice, I got up and went to him, calmly advising him to go if he had other business to attend to and leave a message behind. He insisted on waiting. Ah well, I couldn’t force him to leave, could I?
About an hour later, the HRM called me to her office. When I returned, the man was nowhere to be found. Maybe he got tired of waiting. I felt sorry for him. Before my butt could touch my chair, the phone rang. The boss wanted me in his office. When did he come? Hope he wouldn’t be angry at me for not being at post when he arrived.
I knocked and entered and lo and behold, the man claiming to see the boss was seated in the boss’ chair. He stared at me coolly which got me more puzzled.
“Um…sir, that is my boss’ seat.”
“I think it would be more appropriate if you sat in this other chair. I don’t think he’d appreciate someone…” He took the office phone and made a phone call for someone to come see him. What was going on?
The HR manager walked in.
“Good morning, sir.”
“Good morning. Why don’t you fill me in on how this lady fared at the interview yesterday?”
“She was impressive. She seemed eager to work and was looking for a challenging environment, one I’m sure we’re more than capable of providing her with. And today, she has proved to be smart and efficient.” He nodded.
She turned to me with a smile and said, “Miss Coleman, meet our CEO, Mr. Gyan.” I couldn’t hide my shock. He smiled at my reaction.
“I was assessing you all this while and I must say, I like I saw out there. You may go back to your office. I’ll direct her to you when I’m done talking with her.” “Yes boss,” the HRM said and walked out. He offered me a seat and I sat. I suddenly felt anxious again; all traces of belongingness I had felt all went poof!
He told me how he liked his things done and what he expected of me if I was planning on keeping the job. The door opened without a knock and a young boy entered.
He smiled at me and greeted. I replied with a smile in return. He kept smiling and I was wondering why. Had we met somewhere or did he just find me charming? Mr. Gyan asked me to excuse them. A few minutes later, I was called back in and the boy was still smiling and so was the boss. Okay, this was getting creepy.
“Do you remember seeing this boy recently?” I glanced at the boy.
“Um…I’m not sure. Have we met?” He nodded keenly.
“At the store yesterday.” I gasped. The boy with no wallet.
“He told me what happened yesterday and he just informed me you were the Good Samaritan who saved him from some serious scolding.”
I was lost for words.
“Thank you,” the boy said.
“I saw you here yesterday and I greeted but you seemed preoccupied with something.” I chuckled. “Preparing for my interview, I guess.”
“For what you did for my son, I’ll reward with not just the job but with handsome allowances in advance.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Keep on doing good; you may never know who will end up being in your debt. Go to your post.”
“Yes, sir.” With a grateful smile at the boy who still wore a grin, I left the office.
With a simple gesture of kindness, I secured myself a well-paying job with amazing fringe benefits. A little goodness here, a little more diligence there, go a long way to open doors in the future.
As you go about your day, take a little time to show someone a favor even if it won’t bring any obvious benefit to you. You’ll definitely reap your reward in due time especially when you need it. And whatever you find yourself doing, whether for yourself or for someone else, do it wholeheartedly; you may never know who might be watching… a possible boss playing undercover client.
Josephine Amoako © 2016