I landed my first job in Telecom through some rather unusual means. After completing my last exam in the final year at the university, my very good friend Ben and I decided to stay on campus for another 2 weeks to prepare for interviews. Back in those days (1996) with no Internet access, we compiled a list of companies we would want to work at and another list of over 100 possible interview questions. These were all technical questions specific to Telecom engineering which was the course we studied. We then answered all these questions together with about 15 general non-technical interview questions. By the time we left Campus for Accra (home) we were interview-ready and fully pumped up with Telecom industry terminology. The following is how I landed my first job.
We attended our first interview about a week later. This interview was scheduled after we were shortlisted on campus by an IT company during a mini job fair. Despite all our interview preparations, the first question when we met the CEO of this computer firm was a shocker. Which part of Ghana did we come from? This was the last question we ever expected to be asked in an interview.
Since we came from different parts of the country we answered and it was clear we did not come from the part the man expected. We were asked to wait outside for some time and later told to go home. The CEO told us that they would contact us when they needed somebody. The interview was over in 3 minutes and we were both shocked to the core. The dream of a first job in Telecom was dashed.
First job in Telecom
On our way back home from the shocking interview, we decided to pass by one Telecom company and visit a friend who was working there. We got to the reception and realized we had forgotten our friend’s real name and could only remember his nickname. Obviously, the receptionist did not know the nickname and so we had to describe our friend. Fortunately for us, whiles describing our friend, he came to the reception and saw us. We exchanged the usual old school greetings with our friend, Fred. He informed us that he had been tasked to recruit 2 engineers urgently. Wow!!! This was God sent.
He then took us to his boss Mike who enquired about when we could come for an interview. We told him we are ready anytime even at that very moment. Mike then called in 2 other senior engineers and arranged to interview us immediately. They thought they were interviewing us by surprise but they did not know we were like Telecom walking encyclopedias. The interview lasted for about 45 minutes and about 90% of the questions (both technical and non-technical) were from our prepared list. The interview went very well. All this happened on a Thursday, and by the next Monday, we started work.
Lessons from this story:
As you can see from the narration above, how I landed my first job in Telecom was very unusual. There was no application process and we were interviewed before we even submitted a CV. This is a true story with many lessons:
1. Research and Preparation is very important
2. Networking and good relationships helps a lot
3. Persistence and consistency pays off in the long run
This happened about 20 years ago but the 3 lessons above are still applicable today.