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Paul Osas: Employ, not impoverish: A note to employers

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Paul Osas: Employ, not impoverish: A note to employers

By Paul Osas

A friend told me he’d been invited to an interview in Lagos barely two days to the date. He was livid as to how the company expected him to raise the money to attend on short notice. Meanwhile, he lives in Kano and the interview was for an experienced position. He said to me, “they are quite insensitive”. I agree!

Nothing can be more demoralising than to be invited to a job interview in Lagos two days before the date, for a job domiciled in Kano. Such is the callous indifference of private employers to the sufferings of youths in Nigeria at a time when inter state cost of transportation is rooftop high and cost of living is at par with Bhurj Khalifa.

It is bad enough that over 1.45 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 who are active, able and willing to work are without jobs as at March, 2016, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics. Asking this same group of people to spend the thousands they could survive on for a month on such short notice smacks of callousness.

At best, embarking on such an uncertain trip is as bad as going to Europe for ‘greener pastures’ by land and water. You will not only drown in the Mediterranean sea (if you are lucky to get that far) of “we will get back to you”, you might as well be deported on arrival by “we are sorry the interview has been postponed to a later date”.

There is usually no remorse for time wasted or refund of fare from the employers. By the time you get back to Kano, you are poorer than you left and your hope bar has dropped three positions.

The situation is further worsened when such an invitation was for just an assessment test, which you are not even sure of passing. Even if you excel, you’re probably going to return for another assessment– interview. On the average, the cost of making such trips will be about N15,000-N50,000 depending on the mode of transportation you used. And for a job worth how much? N50,000 monthly (less than N2000 a day).

For how long will this linger? Many youths have given up, others are indulging in entrepreneurship as a formidable way out. Over 15.2 million others have resorted to menial jobs or jobs not fit to their qualification while some others have sought measures not justifiable by any means.

But the underlying problem subsists. Shouldn’t employers do due diligence to assess candidates before they are invited to an interview? Shouldn’t they give at least one week notice? Why can’t they make provision for their transportation or at least subsidize it, especially when the location of interview is far from where the job is domiciled?

Better yet, shouldn’t employers adopt modern ways of conducting interviews? The average Nigerian youth has a smartphone and can borrow to buy data for a Skype interview. Why are many employers adamant to the use of this method? If you must test, whatever happened to online assessment tests?

If you must see the candidate in person, assess through other means and invite when you’ve employed. That way every dime spent by the job seeker is worth it. The economic situation is as bad as bad can get, don’t impoverish people more because you think you are doing them a favour. You need them as much as they need you; let mutual respect exist between you (employer) and the Nigerian youth. Employ not impoverish!

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