We’ve got some vacancies and I’ve been interviewing.
One applicant looked particularly promising. As he lives in India I emailed him to arrange a telephone interview and called him at the agreed time. The interview went very well. He was enthusiastic, keen and had a great telephone manner.
He got to the second interview phase. Again over the phone and this time by Mr HW who is the MD of our company. Mr HW grilled him and went through every aspect of his experience.
With both of us satisfied, we offered him the job.
For nearly a week, we heard nothing. Then on Saturday afternoon I get a call from the applicant, Sunil.
After a few pleasantries, Sunil became cagey and awkward. He evidently had something on his mind and I assumed he wanted to negotiate the salary. So I waited patiently to hear his opening.
When he finally got his words out, my biggest surprise was that I was not surprised at all!
Oh Dubai, have you really made me this cynical?!
Sunil said he wasn’t actually Sunil. He was his brother Sanjay. The real Sunil doesn’t speak a word of English and has only had one job delivering newspapers. So Sanjay took the interview on Sunil’s behalf to give the real Sunil a chance of getting a good job abroad and hence bettering his chances of attracting a good wife.
However, Sanjay had not expected to become attracted to the job himself and wanted to keep it for himself rather than pass it on to his brother.
“Madam”, he said to me. “I want to be honest with you. You have treated me well and I can tell you are a good person, very professional. Also Mr HW is a good man and wise. So I want to be truthful with you and confess I did this to help my brother.”
He paused waiting for a sign of compassion from me. I asked him to continue.
“I could have continued this charade and sent my brother. Or even pretended to come as my brother but I want to be honest. I want this job, it is a good opportunity and I will be good and dependable for your company.”
The conversation lasted another half hour. Sunil’s passport number was listed on the CV and had been one of the first things I had checked during the interview. I have no doubt that this was the reason Sanjay felt compelled to admit to the deception rather than appear on our doorstep as “Real-name-Sanjay-nickname-Sunil”.
This is just one of the many ways I have experienced people trying to wriggle their way into a company. Although Sunil/Sanjay/Whatever didn’t get the job, with so much unemployment in India, I can’t really blame his creativity.
However, some practices are a disrespectful waste of time for which there is no excuse. If you are an employer advertising a vacancy, I suggest you don’t put your telphone number in the advert and that you use a disposable email address. You’ll get thousands of applicants, mostly for positions you’re not advertising for.
Basic Protocols for Job Seekers
If you are looking for a job, here are 5 ways to dramatically improve your chances of getting one.
1) Read the job description before applying
- If the vacancy is for an experienced salesman and you once had a job as a packer and now want to apply for the accounts position that isn’t being offered, do yourself a favour and move on to the next advert.
- Take notice of the listed salary and working hours. They’re not random numbers – they go with the job.
“Not Neg, As Stated, Fixed” are all short for Take it or Leave it.
2) One company per email
If you are tempted to trawl through Dubizzle harvesting email addresses in order to send one blanket application to all companies offering any type of job that day, know that your CV never makes it into the Read pile.
3) Consider your first impression
- Is your CV relevant to the position you are applying for? Does it showcase your experience or do you assume the employer will automatically know what you did if you simply list the companies you have worked for?
- If you get a phone call at 11am inviting you to an interview, don’t yawn and tell the caller to ring you later as you are presently taking a nap.
4) Attend the interview on your own
Your mother, uncle and friend are welcome to drive you to the interview location and wait for you. If they insist on coming into the interview with you (or pretending to be you or doing all the talking for you), I’ll enjoy the spectacle but you won’t get the job.
If you are ready for a job, you are ready to sever your emotional umbilical cords and hit the world alone.
5) Keep your lies believable
I’ve come to learn to take CV’s with a pinch of salt. Especially the ones that come with a proud declaration at the bottom claiming “everything on this CV is true to the best of my knowledge”.
Just think for a second – If you can’t read/write/speak English and if this is one of the criteria for the job, how long can you keep this hidden? Jobs really do require the skills that they list!
Sunil’s legacy is that in my company at least, you’ll get tested thoroughly – both at interview time and during your probation.