Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not Everyone Deserves Job Interview Torture

Kabelo Chabalala

I know of a couple people who graduated from good universities in South Africa but struggle to get employment. Many of these people received good grades at university but crumble in job interviews. I think this is not because they can’t do the work they received the qualifications for but it is because of the process used to assess them during the interviewing process. So I have an appeal to all employers.

I would like to ask them to consider adopting the use of a questionnaire when assessing potential candidates for jobs. In May 2010 Statistics South Africa revealed that the number of the unemployed has risen. This is attributed to the global financial crisis. The number of those employed has fallen by 171 000 to 12.8 million. But many of these are in the informal sector, the people I am pleading for here are in the formal sector. They have obtained their diplomas and degrees from top universities like ours.

So since they can’t verbalise their experience and tell potential employers about their skills I suggest a questionnaire.

This is because shy and soft spoken people can never change who they are. No matter how hard one tries, getting these people to speak would be a miracle. I believe vacant jobs should not be necessarily occupied through the formal route of passing an interview.

Let’s ask a few rhetorical questions – you may answer them if you want. Do we actually need a scientist to be outspoken? Should a computer programmer have verbal capabilities? As I said these are just rhetorical questions.

A questionnaire is one of the ways of salvaging poor fellow citizens who fail interviews. “The most important leg of a three legged stool is the one that is missing”. A questionnaire might be that vital leg that is missing. We can prescribe different pre-job assessments for various vacant jobs and make sure that we assess people in a more relevant way.

As an interviewer conducting an interview or giving someone a questionnaire to fill, both ways don’t give us a 100% guarantee of whether one is getting the full truth or not. Eventually it is the practical part of it that decides. It is when they start getting their hands dirty that we can confidently say they can do the work assigned to them.

Let us come up with new pre-job assessments and use different evaluations to suit specific candidates. For singers, actors and performers continue auditioning them; journalist, television and radio presenters interview them before you grant them their jobs. At the end of the day, employers have to customise all pre-job assessments to suit specific personalities or job descriptions.

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