ACCESS DENIED

Okay, I know that I have been quiet for a while and I feel that this is the best way to break my silence!

So, as most of you (who know me) know I am done with my little ‘world adventure’, I went  for an internship in Madrid for two months and then went to South Africa for my graduation, toured around for a little then to Kigali and then Kampala to…..i was just enjoying my life!

So the confetti was being swept away, the band was packing up their instruments and the lights were dimmed….in short the party was over! I was told to ‘get serious with my life’! I really hated that statement because I was always serious but I just did it with a smile on my face and I always knew how to have fun. People feel that if you have no life, then you are doing something right! I believe in working hard and playing harder, but it is also important to work smart! Life is a game of chess, make every move has to be strategic (In my opinion).

My parents and some other relatives weren’t about to let me take a mental and physical break from having been going to school for the last urrm 20 years. I also was not about to listen to them, I had reached my limit, the exhaustion levels were too high and I knew taking on anything  at this point was not going to be engineered by my full potential and usual amount of zeal!

SO ANYWAYS, I go on this interview at Access Bank here in Kigali! OKAY wait ( A little background info)!

Connections get you in the door; your brilliance keeps you there. I decided that I wanted to look for jobs the old fashion way of asking anyone I knew but My parents because it would be give me an added advantage and after working 4 internships in the last three years, two local and two international…surely it must count for something. I wanted to earn the job based on merit not last name.

Back to the interview, to be honest I had already made up my mind on what I wanted to do with my life by the time I went for the interview and I just wanted to go for the experience and also to substantiate  my argument when I presented to my parents what my life plan was.

I walk in, firstly homeboy said my name wrong but I brushed that off, it is not an easy name for everyone.  So the head of human resource introduces everyone and then asks me to tell them about myself and one of the men in the interview stops and says ‘ You are 22?? Like 22?? When were you born? Not 32?’. I replied and said ‘Yes, I turn 23 in 3 months.’ He looked at the human resource manager like how could you bring this baby to us!!!! He then proceeded to reply to ‘urgent’ text messages on his phone and I SWITCHED OFF.

Now, the job was for product development officer or something. When I looked at the job description it required more working experience more than anything, at least three years. Now, about a year ago I was awarded 6th place in the world in a product development competition for L’Oreal in Paris, France. I was the second youngest participant at 21 years old. Age was never an issue for my potential! I knew that I would be more comfortable in that job after a few years in the banking sector but I felt that in terms of the current brand situation it was quite a decent match.

I was straight out of Uni with a full page of work experience on my CV and in a country that glorifies woman empowerment, and there I was sitting in a room completely undermined.

I had done my due diligence of the bank.  Access Bank was not where they wanted to be in the market. They were not top of mind when it came to any form of banking, the other banks as BCR and FINA were being rebranded and more aggressive and the other banks had product offerings that applied to more of the population that Access was not offering. I knew I was walking into a situation of revitalizing a forgotten brand, I mean it is very simple, when I moved bank NO ONE, I MEAN NO ONE recommended Access bank as a bank that I should open an account with, not because they had a bad experience, they forgot it existed. I was excited by the opportunity and with confidence that  L’Oreal gave me, I was intrigued by the opportunity.

There is something called RELATIONSHIP MARKETING, it important to have a good relationship with the employees because they need to go and meet potential customers and communicate the brand in a positive way. It is like when you go to a restaurant and you ask a waiter ‘ What is good here?’ then they say ‘ I have never tried anything so I can’t recommend anything’. The owner stuffs his face every day with that food but he isn’t the one who goes to face the customers to go and ‘sell’ the food to the customers, recommend the best meal so that they come again, NOW that is the job of the waiter . I would never recommend Access Bank to anyone because clearer they do not care about the small guy, right now I am the ‘small guy’ but one day I will be big (figuratively) and my money will be in another bank because of this undermining experience.

I remained polite throughout the interview, told them a few jokes but I was SO PUT off by the way they handled the interview;  cutting me off when I was trying to answer the question, going on their phones and then the other two people in the interview (yes they were two other people)  seemed very unbothered and let this other man just be undermining and somewhat disrespectful! I left the interview rather annoyed and disappointed!  I thought to myself that if this man talks to me this way as a potential employee then I am in for a tough experience if I was to be employed! I am fully away the life is not a bed of roses but I assume respect is just a bare minimum of human interaction. One would be able to tell whether he was playing psychological interviewing games, he was not, he was simply rude!

If as a nation we chose to glorify women in the public sector, we need to do the same in the private sector.

Anyways, I hope this generates them some sort of PR because they need it!

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