This continues from Internship 1.
I have never been to an interview. A serious one I mean. If you allow me, let me tell you something before finishing this Internship story once and for all.
It was in first term of 2011. I was a form four. I am in the category of people who never had any posts in school. From form 1 to form 4. None at all. Some might think that to be unfortunate. People like us were often found mopping, sweeping or slashing. Luckily for me I found ways round this, most times. Asthma and chest complication perks. Truth be told 98% of people fake diseases in schools to survive the hard labour. But this is not about ‘com work’. It is about the last interview I ever attended.
It wasn’t me being interviewed. It was some form ones.
Dickson, another Dickson, was the Library Captain. Being that he was a classmate, meaning we always read newspapers (Standard’s Pulse) in our class, some of us decided to attend the interview that evening for form ones who wanted to be Librarians. Interviews had to be the funniest goings-on in Maseno School.
I don’t know how things worked in the Library so I won’t go much into their details. All I know is the shortlisted form ones were expected in the library after night preps for an interview. The place had been arranged to appear like a roundtable (more like semi-circle) boardroom with a single chair at the end. The interviewee was to sit on the single chair and answer random questions from the panel.
These juniors were made to answer very funny questions. “Why do you think Kibaki is the president of Kenya?” Some were chased away loudly. “Kwenda! Huwezi jibu maswali! Toka! Na usirudi hapa tena!” And they walked away stressed out only to find they had been selected. Others were taken through a series of marathon questions and were to answer all as quick as possible. The funniest moment however had to be when some were asked to identify who the Library Captains (they were two, Cyril and Dickson) were.
These were new students. Being form ones, they might have only seen the Library captains once or twice. Identifying a prefect isn’t something hard. Commoners like me had maroon coloured ties. Prefects had blue ties. That easy. But for this interview, not the actual Library captains were wearing blue ties. And form ones fell for that. The ties were exchanged and it was really funny seeing people being kicked out after they failed to identify the person to whom they had addressed their application letters.
You seriously have no pen? The faces continued to stare at me.
They looked at each other as if to say “Good. Competition eased” and then back at me with lugubrious faces. Hypocrites! I know one of them had a pen somewhere!
Somewhere between the confusion of not having a pen and being in one of the biggest firms in town, the interview in 2011 slides back to mind. I smile when I remember that most of the form ones who were kicked out were the same ones to be appointed the next day. I wonder what must have gone through their minds that night. Being kicked out of an interview in form 1? Ha ha ha.
The sweet speaking host who had brought us from the visitors’ waiting lounge saw me smile. She might have thought I was smiling at her so she approached.
“Is there a problem?”
“I don’t have a pen.” I say, half expecting her answer to be “Die your own death.”
She smiles and then walks out without saying a word. A few moment later, she returns carrying a pen. A company pen. I take the pen knowing all the others are silently wishing they didn’t have pens too.
I can’t say how happy I was. I did the test in 30 minutes. I didn’t lay my head down after completing. I always sleep or walk out after doing my exams. Here I couldn’t do either. I feared they were watching us. Cameras, though not visible to us, must have been somewhere glaring at us in this sophisticated building.
The test was collected an hour later. It felt like ages watching the others calculate and think out the sums. I thanked my form 4 Maths teacher silently.
“We will contact you when the results are out.” She said before leading us to the ground floor. I didn’t want to walk out. That was it? Nothing else?
True to their word they contacted me a day later.
“Hello Dickson. I’m pleased to inform you…”
“Pardon please.” I shouted. I was in town and the noise was unbearable.
“I’m saying, I’m pleased to inform you that you passed your aptitude test,” She didn’t give me a chance to celebrate that mini-achievement, “You’re now required to attend an oral interview tomorrow from 3.00pm. Come with all your certificates”
I arrived at 2.30pm.
We were only two this time, my classmate and I. It was obvious we were the only one who passed the test. I have never been to an interview. A serious one I mean. She went in first.
After what seems like centuries she walks out smiling. She’s over confident. What did they give her inside there? Did they tell her she’s been picked? Already? Did she tell them why she was better suited to get the position and was now rejoicing at her meticulous answer? Had she lied to them about me? Had they told her that I was just being called in as a formality? Was she their new IT intern?
My classmate walks past me, a wry smile imprinted. As if she’s never seen me all her life.
A new face, from the blues, approaches me with a badge written HR. She smiles broadly. She’s used to this, I can guess.
“Dickson, how are you?” She gives me no time to answer. “Come with me.”
My feet melt. She’s the nurse. I am headed to the dentist. And there’s no one in this world I fear more than a dentist. Blood, injury, injection. Dentists are like butchers to me. And you can’t even see their own teeth. They always cover their faces with masks! Bloody scary people these dentists. I bet you all dentists have bad teeth.
HR is a metre or two in front of me. She enters the room first. The door closes automatically after her. I reach out and hold the knob. “Let’s do this,” I encourage myself as I push the door open.