I Was Denied A Job Because I Have Skills But No Certificates - Is It Fair?
As I sat looking disbelievingly at my e-mail, a sense of anticipation and trepidation ran rampant in my head. My CV had actually been selected and I was invited for an interview, marking the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
Wringing hands and with a hammering heart, I asked myself the same question repeatedly - “Are you ready to do this?”
My mind took a quick inventory of my life as it was then…
I was a woman looking to rejoin the mass of working women, after life had forced upon me a break, during what is often perceived as the most productive years of my life.
So where did it leave me? On the other side of forty, having to walk away from my industry of choice and start all over!
To me, it all felt like going under the scanner with inherent skills and with the help of information from external sources. Given the gap that had wedged in my career, my apprehension was justified.
Pushing all those thoughts aside, I jumped right into it, quickly getting my mental checklist ready. Update CV, get paperwork, read up information on the organization, understand the job profile and - you know, the works!
The interview was for a Voice and Accent Trainer in a multinational BPO. Since it was a role I hadn’t worked in earlier, I spoke to friends who were trainers already, to derive factual information. Understanding the mantras of the industry was important to up-skill and adapt. I inhaled everything the mighty world of internet had to offer and I was good to go!
The day arrived and I found myself dressed in my version of the power suit, taking deep-calming breaths to root me in the moment. The friendly, casual greeting by the interviewer put whatever remaining nerves I had, at ease. The conversation was light and moved around the details on my CV - education, previous job history, general interests and of course, the reason for my break in employment.
Quickly shifting gears, we launched into the profile I was interviewing for - how the organization worked, skills required, expectations from both sides on various aspects while all the time hovering around my not-having-worked-in-the-position before. I was, however, confident of my skills and preparation.
I was surprised at the ease with which I slipped into the requirements of the role they spoke of. Years of working in the hotel industry gave my communication the necessary edge. Before I knew it, over an hour had passed and the interview was over. I was asked to wait for the results.
The wait seemed interminable. I was called in soon after, to beaming smiles and approval from the interviewers. They thought I was definitely a candidate for the role since my communication skills were very good! The confidence and sense of authority I displayed, was just what they were looking for. I asked the final question of whether or not I would get the job.
They told me the offer letter should reach my mailbox the next morning.
My elation knew no bounds and I could see the road ahead clearly now. However, friends who had been up-close and personal with such claims, asked me to tone the excitement down and wait until I literally saw the letter.
The Offer Letter
They were not wrong. The promised letter never came. Disappointed, I called the organization for a follow up and was asked to wait for a few days, for another meeting. Since I was now in the interview mode, the thought of one more, did not faze me. After all, I was able and confident.
The next set of interviews was more about the nitty-gritties of the training aspect - questions on how and what I thought I could do, the technology and modules they used, travel schedules etc. Everything seemed doable, despite the fact that it was all new to me.
How long did it take to learn something I wanted to do badly enough? Not long at all, as I was one determined person. I was told, they definitely considered me to be a strong contender for the role, since most of their check boxes were ticked. That came as a huge relief.
Days passed and then weeks, with no word from them. Not wanting to seem over anxious, I let things be, for as long as my patience held. When there was still no word from them, I caved in and called them.
The first few calls were met with silence and my heart dipped, sensing the news was not going to be good. After a few more calls about insisting on answers, I heard what was perhaps the most unbelievable of answers, “Your skills are exemplary and we couldn’t have asked for better. However, we cannot offer the job to you, since you lack the necessary profile and industry experience.”
I had been effectively rendered speechless. My worst fears were confirmed - making a comeback into a new industry, with only ‘great’ skills was not good enough! Angry and appalled, I told them how unfair the whole idea was, to which I think I received an apologetic shrug.
I was instantly reminded of the traditional arranged marriages where horoscopes are matched. If only 22 out of the requisite 23 aspects match, the alliance is not good enough. It didn’t matter, that the two people involved were compatible in all other ways. So why should I be surprised as to where I stood?
Being rejected on the basis of a technicality stung - because I was aware of the beginnings of first line managers in the BPO industry in our country were from the hospitality industry. They were willing to take someone with the defined qualifications, regardless of the fact that I was better skilled, almost like those perfectly matched horoscopes, which were liable to end in disastrous marriages. While one cannot refute policies set by organizations, the logic of it all eludes me, even years later - where much of the same situation persists even to this day.
There is a whole workforce of educated and skilled people who want to move to other job roles in different industries.
How then, can they find the right fit? Why is it essential to have a piece of paper certify one person more important, than the skills actually acquired by individuals, such as myself, along the way? The younger generation of the workforce may have the certificates, but not the experience that comes with age and inherent skills.
Why can’t an already skilled person, with minimum up-skilling, be absorbed as well? This section of the workforce is likely to bring in a host of skills which can be taught to younger and relatively new aspirants through training modules. They are likely to be a strong, dedicated and competent group waiting to fit in and stay!
This is a personal narrative by Payal Kapoor. A hotelier by education and profession, Payal loves life in all its varying shades. Writing gives expression to her deepest thoughts and reading copiously feeds her imagination!
Do you identify with Payal’s story? Share your experiences in the comments below.
N*****Mam please suggest me also something. I have done b . pharma, MBA, and having 10 yrs of experience, in march we shifted to bangalore from near chandigarh ,resigning from my job with my husband. It's 6 months over. Now I am ready to do anything for earning.
P*****Damn true.....brilliantly expressed....u must be trying expressed u only but u told all the truth m still facing...uuhhh..m.jobless queen
H*****Yes Payal...this is a fact...I too face the same kind of issues while I want to change my job...
S*****Hi Payal, I faced something similar at early age of career now. But I am more inspired with your writing skills. Please take coaching and Content writing-Freelancing assignments. And sometimes keep trying is the best resort.:)
*****WhatsApp at 9999205077
S*****My situation is same, could someone help me to finding the right work for me!
AnonymousYou have written brilliant write up
AnonymousCan u believe school even these days filter nursery kids admission bases on criteria like do parents I know more than 3 languages etc etc...it has no relevance to nursery child admission...we as parents learnt Urdu and Sanskrit from you tube just to get 5 additional points for our kids admission...so what I m highlighting is that some times selectors choose criteria which may not be very apt.but they need to filter the list.
P*****Very well expressed.....Payal many times it happens that the list of shortlisted candidates it self is long and they have to find a method to filter it.So organisations choose criteria like degrees/full time /part time/experience etc etc.Don't take it to your heart...u know it well that u have got expertise.If possible let's fill the gap that we identified by may be doing some certifications etc in that area which could reduce the gap