The Significance of Transparency in Job Interviews: My Encounter with Systemspecs’ Mr. Paul Ibidun-Micheal Idowu Obanewo

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“How dare you say, you know me?”

This was a real-life situation in which I found myself with an interviewer, a Ph.D. holder (I can’t remember the field of study now), in charge of the Remita department asked me during an interview session with Systemspecs in the year 2009: (who do you know in this organization?), to which I replied,” No one, Sir”.

You mean you don’t know Dr. Obaro who’s the CEO of this organization? No, Sir. I replied. He hails from your Hometown, he continued. “Yes I know, but I haven’t met him in person”, I replied again.

“What about Mr. Paul Ibidun, he asked?” “I don’t know him either, Sir”, I replied.

“But he is from your hometown – Ayetoro Gbede too”, he retorted. He asked, “Do you mean you’ve not seen him before?”.

I replied again, “I saw his Vehicle drive past me during the festive season last December, but I didn’t have the opportunity to meet him, one-on-one”, I replied.

Not done, he asked another question: “How about Ayotunde Balogun”? Well, he used to be my senior at the University, but I haven’t seen him in a while”, I said to him.

“I’ll be right back”, he told me.

He then went straight to meet Mr. Paul Ibidun, and told him, I said I knew him. That was the end of my interview.

Mr. Paul Ibidun who was then, one of the Directors, was following up with my journey from Abuja to Lagos, to be sure I arrived safely. I was also, based on that, in an anticipatory mood, thinking that I had gotten a job.

“How dare you tell anyone here, that you know me?”, he asked me in annoyance. He was so livid with me that he could’ve slapped me if he had the opportunity.

It was only in the Remita department that there was a vacancy, but despite his anger towards me, he still went to the IT department to try and pull some strings for me. Unfortunately, his efforts yielded no fruit.

I went back to Abuja with my hope of getting a good job dashed. It was a sad moment for me, but life goes on.

Years after that, Dr. Obaro (Systemspecs CEO), Mr. Paul Ibidun, and I met, again, at an event at the Civic Center, on Victoria Island, Lagos, where we all sat at the same table. He still remained the good man that I used to know. We reflected on past events and general issues affecting our dear country Nigeria. He was still willing to help, despite the years that have gone by. He requested for my Company’s profile the moment I told him, I am no longer in a paid job, that I now have, and run, my own firm.

Back to previous job-hunting experience that took me to Systemspec, in a nutshell, I lost a job because I said I knew someone in the organization. Since then, my response to such questions in any interview session has been a capital “NO”. Pardon me for choosing to be a “circumstantial liar”.

I choose to be because, I have grown up to realize that admitting to knowing anyone in such circumstances effectively turns you into “a candidate of interest”, which may also put the person you claim to have known in a very awkward position before his colleagues on the panel of interviewers, whose decision might likely be swayed by the nature of interpersonal relations that exist between him and them. Whichever way one looks at it, it will put those concerned (with decision-making) in very difficult positions.

So, I quite understand and appreciate how Mr. Ibidun felt then.

It is on that note that, I celebrate you today and always, Sir.
You’re a progressive-minded fellow.
Your life has been characterized by love, peace, hospitality, and progress.
May you continue to succeed in all you do. Amen!


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