Friday, September 14, 2012

The Interview

I was called for a job interview by a financial institution a.k.a bank after I passed their recruitment test. I am not a big fan of the industry, and it was out of respect I sat for the recruitment test. A woman had given me her business card to take to the HQ and urged me to attempt the test. I had no idea who she was and I didn't want to appear rude to a stranger by turning down her offer. She said all I had to do was pass the test.

I got to the bank and was asked by the HR guy when I would like to write the test, I replied "Now". The HR guy told me I could take time to prepare but how do people prepare for things like that? That would be my first test and I wanted to get it over with. I kept smiling as I attempted the questions because I had no idea how any individual was expected to pass. The questions looked ambiguous, I later learnt it was GMAT. They looked like they were missing instructions and I based my answers on guesses. You see sh!t like "Car is to road, as Spoon is to _____" The options could be Tongue, Plate, Pot...

Anyway, weeks later a text came in that I passed and scheduled to appear for an interview at 5pm. Who conducts interview in the evening?

We were 12 present for the interview and I noticed the chic by my side was reading about the Bank on her website. I figured out that might be a potential question, "Tell us about what you know about the bank?" But I was not in the mood to start such research, I would freestyle.

I stepped in to a panel composed of a guy and a sexy woman. That was enough motivation. "Tell us about you?"

"My name is Ade…I am very interesting".

"We will see how interesting you are by the end of the day."

What these guys might not have noted was I attended University of Lagos, Department of Psychology, with the likes of Dr. Akinfala. Presentation and public speaking was his preferred mode of teaching and you had to be interesting.

The chic read my CV and asked, "You wrote here you like reading, tell us the last book you read?"

The fact is I don't read books…often but I couldn't say that. The last book I flipped through was 50 Shades of Grey and I definitely could not say that. I told them,
"The fact is I read, but I'm a realist and I don't deal with fiction. I read blogs, journals, newspapers and not some events that occurred in an alternate reality. The last material I read was Forbes Africa…"

"So you want to be the next richest man in the world?"

"But at what expense. Most of these Billionaires are obsessed with making that extra Dollar…I read between the lines to balance both work and family life. The richest man to me would be one that was satisfied financially and had time for his family. If that is what you mean, then I would love to be the richest man in the world."

I was asked what I knew about the bank...
"Let's' start with today, I learnt from Bloomberg this morning this institution made…and as 10:30 am the share price was…" The interviewer and I both said what the share price was together.
That was the moment I knew this was it. I didn't have to tell them any history about the bank.

"Tell us about Nigeria?" he asked.

"Well, Nigeria is a very complicated country…" I gave them my theory of "Observed Nigeria, Expected Nigeria". To be successful in Nigeria, an individual should attempt to bridge what Nigerians expect with what they observed. The guy told me that was what the bank was about. He continued by giving me info about her achievement.

The next question was why did I apply to the bank and I was better off in a consulting firm or as a public speaker.

"Public speaking is a wonderful idea and I've thought of doing that but like I said I am a realist. I have bills to pay and expenses to settle and I would need a source of constant stream of income while I do that by the side, because the truth is not everyone can become like the brand Fela Durotoye overnight".

"So you believe in dreams?"

"I believe in making them reality".

From that moment is was more of a conversation than an interview but I just wanted to go home. The last question was related to what I dreaded about that industry, what if you were given a ₦10,000,000 target before you could be given your appointment letter.

"Wow!" I quoted a line I heard in the movie 'Silence of the Lambs'. "What do we covet? We covet the things around us. I will start with the people around me, obviously there are people that would say 'No!' but I believe everyone is a bridge and not an island. Any 'No' response must be supported with a referral. That person must bridge me to someone else, and that is a way to get things done. My point is I would put in effort".


I walked out with the belief this banking industry wasn't for me. Nothing I saw convinced me to stay and I would not feel bad if I ended up not called back.


  1. i think you answered the questions well.
    that target is just unrealistic.