The Route Less Travelled in Selling Yourself to Employers

The Route Less Travelled in Selling Yourself to Employers

One of the most tired interview questions asked in Kenya is ‘where do you see yourself five (or ten) years from today’? I think it’s tired because, honestly, isn’t there another way to ask that same question?

The gist of that question is to establish the sense of direction and focus in the interviewee. Whereas I appreciate its value, now that I am an employer I figure there is something more significant I would be looking for shrouded in that over-used question.

What I would really like to hear an interviewee tell me is, ‘what value are you going to add to my organisation if I do give you this job?’

How the years of grand corruption affect your search for jobs directly.

Owing to our history where for well over a decade there was a sharp increase in corruption, we have a generation that is not convinced that commitment to work is worth it. They have seen a significant number of people make a comfortable living from being fraudulent and dishonest.

This is in no way intended to paint Kenya as a nation of frauds, but the culture of fraudulence rampant for about two decades gained significant root. One effect of those years was a slow-growing or non-growing economy. Subsequently, there is a generation that live daily in a reality where finding jobs in Kenya is a horrendously difficult challenge with over 70{899b15f80a2d8718204d48354149b0a45e47eff631d37dac5896e2c8e1eedb93} of those in the age bracket of 21 to 35 being out of gainful employment. This is a state of affairs that was not of their making, but they have to live in it.

Though I appreciate that fact, it is critical for those affected directly by the culture of grand corruption to work organise their affairs in a way that supports an honest achievement of their goals, than to perpetrate the culture that is working against them.

A faulty work ethic is displeasing to most employers.

A common complaint amongst employers is that the youth, as those in the unemployed age group are commonly referred to, do not like to work.

If that accusation be true, how did it happen?

These are the children of the years of grand corruption ‘success’ stories. They watched a head teacher (only as an example) report to the school on foot because they could not afford a bicycle let alone a car and take up running of the government school as the Principal.  

At the close of the first year in office, the Principal who had by then added inches around the belly purchased a 4×4 SUV fuel guzzler, and went ahead to purchase a piece of land; all in one sweep. On the land, they put up a grand school to compete directly with the government one they were heading. Did the head teacher previously have an identifiable business? Oh no!

This generation watched that same head teacher rarely sit in their office, come to work drunk, but the only consequences of that behaviour was a lot of money to spend even as the standards of the government school they were to run went to the dogs.

Now this is the same graduate that the employer has on their hands. They want to be paid more for doing less and are making it very difficult for employers to run efficient companies.

They learned by observation that jobs do not need one to add any value to the organisation, but money should overflow. It is second to impossible to convince employees with this mindset that they can take home a ‘normal’ salary.

Now that is severely displeasing to ALL decent and honest employers who by the way are in the majority. Human Resource is costly and employers would rather stay clear off employees with this faulty work ethic.

A rare breed has great value in competition for jobs.

The potential employee who can tell an employer at the earliest that they have a correct work ethic is one the employer will sweep quickly into their organisation. They are rare and therefore they are a valuable breed.

The easiest way to show an employer that you have a correct work ethic is to demonstrate that you have put keen thought into your endeavours to search for jobs.

Hastily crafted CVs and poorly crafted job purpose statements will not get you a second look. The most significant telltale sign is the obvious lack of background research displayed by many candidates seeking for jobs in Kenya.

Candidates for jobs that will take time to do a thorough background search on the organisation they are applying for a job in, who display a fine ability to communicate their skills and competencies to the company, who indicate they are aware exactly what skill and value they will add to the organisation are job seekers that have chosen to take the road less traveled in the search for jobs in Kenya.

Such seekers have far greater worth in an employer’s eye than any degree, first, second or third, can ever have. To show that you are aware that employment means to give value to an organisation will work wonders for you on the Kenyan jobs landscape.