So the interviewer invites you to have a seat then she reaches for the water glass jar at the middle of the table. You, being the dumb ass that you are, choose that exact moment to reach for the same jar and your hands touch. This leads to Awkward Moment Number One.
Awkward Moment Number Two; she says sorry and you say sorry at the same time. This leads to Awkward Moment Number Three when she retrieves her hand just as you do and now none of you are interested in the water anymore. You have just cost your job interviewer a chance at a glass of water as she interviews you. Not Good! Not good at all!
You want to show her just how prepared you are, so you reach for your attaché case (you have an attaché case. Guess that means you are what gods had in mind when they coined the term ‘serious’) so you can pull out your own CV and certificates, recommendation letters et cetera. You open it and lo! A gargantuan cockroach leaps out and races across the table towards the interviewer’s cleavage! Your heart sinks a little further because that book you read dubbed, “Guideline to Being the Best You at a Job Interview” provided no guidance on how to handle that moment when a cockroach leaps out of your bag and pulls a David Rudisha across the table. Headed for the interviewer’s boobs no less.
As you sit there wishing for God to lift you whole to heaven like Elijah, or to just send down a lightning bolt that will simply make you vanish, the interview commences and in your mind you are freaking out because you have made too many mistakes already. You feel demoralized and empty and honestly, you feel quite stupid too. But that’s OK because you are after all, quite stupid.
She starts perusing a copy of your CV that is seated in front of her – she is one face scowl away from scrutinizing it with a magnifying glass or a microscope. 167,758,999 squared mistakes down the line, the questions start coming.
Interviewer: So Mr. X, your CV contains a personal statement that reads, “I aspire to be a cog in the system that moves the course of justice (or some other bullshit like that.) What does that mean?
Mr. X: (Thinking) That’s a simple one. Is that all you got?
Mr. X: (Speaking confidently) A cog is like a small part of a system that is so instrumental that that system can’t function without it. I like being a part of a system whose objective is the realization of justice for all. (God! That sounds like such horseshit!)
Interviewer: Is that your big aspiration? To be a cog? (You can detect an attitude in her voice. Demeaning.)
Mr. X: No man is an island after all. (Interviewer seems satisfied. Crotch shot! Next question)
The next questions are simple since she wants to know about you, your academic and work background. There is no difference between answering her questions and tuning up a chic with your impressive CV like a West African. (Insert a Nigerian accent) “My fada is President Goodlock’s assistant distant first cousin’s sister’s uncle’s grandfather’s late aunt.”
But there is something that’s been nagging you for a while now. There is a certain cold seeping through your pants to your babies store. But you ignore it for a while, till you simply run out of ignorance, so you look and behold, your trousers have come apart at the seams and the only thing that’s stopping your testicles from dangling out in front of the interviewer is that boxer you call your “Good Luck Charm.” NB: This term has a lot to do with nailing. Just not job interviews. The above-mentioned nether areas go on Freezing Mode when the interviewer says;
Interviewer: Now on to current affairs…
And you zoom out and sweat tears and blood and mucus and other unmentionable fluids because you haven’t watched the news or read a paper or in any other way come across an informative document since 1995. And the only line you have to go with is, “You are a lawyer Mr. X. you can figure it out.”
Interviewer: You have come across one or two human rights violations, yes?
Mr. X: (Choking and speaking inaudibly) Uuuum
Mr. X: (Thinking.) Stop saying ‘uuuuum’
Mr. X: (Speaking) Uuuuum
Mr. X: (Thinking) So much for being a lawyer, huh? You blubbering buffon.
Mr. X: (Speaking) Uuuuuum.
Mr. X: (Thinking) Think you cunt! Think! You are not thinking! And if you say ‘uuuuum’ one more time; I am going to grab that cockroach that you and the lady are trying so hard to ignore, and I am going to shove it so far up your ‘sun don’t shine’ opening, that my middle finger will come off your goddamn nose! Now think! (Your way of thinking strikes you as funny so you smile.)
Interviewer: Something funny?
Mr. X: (Speaking) No! No! Hey, do you remember that time last year that some kids were found executed in a forest in Nyeri? That sounds like a human rights violation to me.
Mr. X: (Thinking) Good answer mate! Now if you start talking more like a lawyer and less like a hooker who has watched too much “Boston Legal”, you’ll be fine.
Interviewer: And what organizations do you know that deal with such human rights violations? Say for example in the case of extra judicial killings?
Mr. X: (Speaking) There is Transparency International of course!
Interviewer: (Shocked; and speaking with a distinct central province accent you hadn’t quite noticed before.) Extra judicial killings?! T.I?! In Kenya?!
Mr. X: (Winging it.) No! No! I meant Amnesty International.
Interviewer: (That accent again) In Kenya?!!!
Mr. X: (Thinking) Please don’t tell me you are about to say ‘uuuuuuuum’
Mr. X: (Says it) Uuuuuuuum….
Mr. X: (Thinking) Goddamn it! Oh wait! I know! I know! It ends with ‘international’
Mr. X: (Speaking but a bit inquisitively) International Monetary Fund?
Interviewer: (Smiles) You are kidding, right?
Mr. X: (Thinking) I said, ‘it ends with international’ not ‘it begins with international’!!! (Re: The interviewer’s smile) Smile back at her. Make sure it hits the eyes. It is sexier that way.
Mr. X: (Speaking and smiling) Yeah I was kidding. I meant Monetary Fund International
Interviewer: You are funny. But stop kidding now. I have other people waiting to be interviewed.
Mr. X: (Thinking) Oh shoot! Alright Mr. Lawyer, you are lacking in the law and the facts. Time to bang the table. Look for something that has the names ‘rights’ in it.
Mr. X: (Speaking) National Rights Commission.
Interviewer: You mean Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Mr. X: (Over confidently) Of course!
Mr. X: (Thinking) Please don’t ask, ‘which else’?
Interviewer: Which else?
Mr. X: (Thinking) Fuck!
Mr. X: Uuuuuum…
Mr. X: (Thinking) STOP SAYING THAT!!!!
MR. X: Ummmmm…
Mr. X: (Thinking) FUCK!!! WAIT! Wait! I know! Cook something! Cook something you shit!
Mr. X: (Speaking) Ummm… Nairobi… Ummm… National… Ummmm… Nairobi National uuuuum… Nairobi National Commission on Human Rights?
Mr. X: (Thinking) Yes! Nailed it!
Interviewer: Nairobi National Commission on Human Rights?
Mr. X: Yeah.
Interviewer: Does that one exist?
Mr. X: Yeah. You might not know of it because it is very young. I was very instrumental in its conception.
Interviewer: Oh yeah? And what rights does it protect?
Mr. X: (Thinking) Oh meeeeeeeen! Can’t a lawyer get a break?
Mr. X: Right to life, abortion, right to property; you know. Usual human rights stuff.
Interviewer: (She is kidding but he is too dumb to notice) What, like right to abortion?
Mr. X: (Thinking) The right to abortion? Shit! Is that a real right? Shit! Shit! God! I haven’t read that constitution since 2010. Wing it… and smile. It helps your bullshit sound more convincing.
Mr. X: (Smiling but unconvincingly) Uh huh.
Interviewer: (Laughs) He-he. You’re funny. We don’t get a lot of guys here with a sense of humor. So, when would you be available to start?
And you release a lengthy sigh of relief because the tough part is over. And you recall your friend’s warning from your earlier, “Pre and Post Interview Procedures at the Organization” conversation.
Friend: Once the interview is done, the interviewer will introduce you to H.R who will make you wait outside her office for about 57 minutes. She won’t be doing anything important during this time she’s keeping you waiting. It’s her way of showing you that she is important in her own kind of way. Once the 57 minutes are over, she’ll summon you with a high pitched, “Hey you! Come in” then… are you listening? Coz this part right here is important.
Mr. X: (Releasing a cloud of Marijuana smoke from his lips) Mmh-hmm. (Referring to the weed) It’s not as good as sex, but it is headed there.
Friend: So does that mean you are listening?
Mr. X: Yeah… I guess…
Friend: There are two ways the next part can go. (1) If you have gotten the job, the HR will stand up as you enter her office and will say, “Hi X.” She will smile and ask, “So how did the interview go?” (2) If you screwed up and didn’t get the job, she’ll stand up and say without smiling, “Good afternoon Mr. X. Have a seat.”
And you the next 57 minutes waiting outside the HR’s office. And when she finally summons you as predicted, she stands up; and smiles; and goes completely off script.
HR: Hello X. Have a seat.
And you wonder what this means.