The Applican’t

I love my friends and the relationships I have built overtime. I have always been an efficient person. Maybe a little overly efficient. I was the one who knew the answers in class and if I didn’t know the answer, I’d say something so smart even the lecturer would applaud me. 

But at the same time, I’d be so cool to my classmates; those who were my friends and those who weren’t. It just came naturally to me. I didn’t understand why people boasted about their brilliance or why people didn’t get along with others. Even if I wanted to scold someone else or call them out, I’d do it in a diplomatic, emotionally intelligent way. 

I had multiple skills and I was (and still am) very handy. I did my time with internships, mentorship and networking. 

Work-Life-School-Family- relationship balance? Very possible. 

Anyway, all my life, I’ve been surrounded by people who are like me; capable, efficient; proactive; excellent.

So when my friend Nero, a co-founder of the most innovative healthcare startups in Nigeria called me last week and said, ‘Yo! I need your help. I’m recruiting and I need to get people like us. You know what I’m saying? There’s a load of applications here and I can’t deal. So deal?’, I said ‘Yes, definitely!’ 

The interview was today from 8:30am – 6:30pm. And it was… Interesting. I met characters! Funny, stuck up, stupid, very smart, very impressive, awesome, crazy, misguided, too gentle on themselves, outspoken, introverted, all sorts. But I will speak about just one guy: Matthew. 

Matthew had walked into the room laughing and had quickly composed himself and began to look terribly unsure. I could see all his self confidence melt away when he saw the panel. (In all honesty, I would have been scared of us)

He sat down before we told him to and said ‘Hi‘ 

Hey’, I replied ‘Welcome’ 

‘Thank you.’ he said

So, please introduce yourself’ I said as I collected his CV and application from Nero. I looked down at it and saw that he was a 24 years old with two lines worth of experience. It read: Working at a laboratory June – December 2014

My name is Matthew. 25 years old; 2nd child of four children. Graduate of   chemistry. 2nd class upper. Erm… What else? I’m a fast learner’ 

‘Okay great. Thank you. I’ll just jump right on it. Why do you think you’re a fast learner. Because from your CV here, I see that you haven’t had adequate experience to truly judge that quality’

He smiled nervously, ‘Basically my school work. I learn fast in class. Sometimes I don’t need to go for my classes. Once I just read my text book. I’ll get what the course is about. And I did excellently well’ 

‘Excellent? What’s your definition of excellence because I see that you came out with a second class upper.’ 

He looked truly shocked at that question and he laughed nervously and replied, ‘Ah. 1st class is not attainable in the school I went and most especially in my department. That was even part of our welcome speech. So my definition of excellence is doing your best. And I did my best’ 

‘Okay. Why does your CV state that you only have one work experience? No volunteering? No internships? No-‘

‘There’s internship there’ he interrupted and pointed at the papers in my hand ‘I did my IT in a lab.’ 

‘Okay. But that’s truly not enough. Especially in this day and age. You need to learn that to be an eagle in this economy, you have to have had several feathers to your cap. Do you have anywhere you see yourself in 5 years?’

‘Definitely not married, ma. But I’ll have a job by then definitely. With the way things are going, I’m just praying it would be in a big company. This economy is going from bad to worse especially in this Buhari’s time. But his supporters are still behind him. Blind followership. I-‘

‘Thank you Mr. Matthew,’ I said ‘Your interview is over. Have a great day’ 
As he stepped out, I was confused. I imagined myself when I was in school and how it was only normal for all my friends and I to make ourselves useful and relevant. I looked at him and I thought how it was absolutely impossible for someone to be like that. 

Looking at his assessment form on the table, I saw the question: Do you think the applicant can contribute to the profitablity, growth and efficiency of the company?

My answer? 

The Applican’t. 

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