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How I got my first job

In the first of his How I got my first job series, Alfredo explores the misery that many Ugandan graduates go through in their hunt for jobs.

By ALFREDO THE UGANDAN

I graduated in 2011 from a foreign university and returned to Uganda jobless and definitely searching. Little did I know then that this search would not be the easiest, nor even the most conventional of experiences.

You see, at University I studied both a hard science and finance related course, which meant that my list of potential employers was quite wide, since I was qualified to enter any related industry/sector.


Now, to kinda structure this a little better – this How I got my first job story is going to be a series – each highlighting a different job lead I pursued, spelling out the company I applied for, the interview process, the aptitude tests I did and how far I went.

Take note that I started my job search in late 2011 and only succeeded in early 2012 – hence it did take me quite sometime to land a Big Win! – But the experiences along the way were truly priceless, and that is actually why I feel compelled to share these experiences with you.

Well then, fasten your seatbelts because this is going to be one hell of a journey! Happy reading!

Office of the Auditor General interview process
This was one of the very first leads I followed when I got back and actively started searching for jobs – which was around November 2011. There was a job advert in the newspapers from the Office of the Auditor General, or OAG (Uganda) asking for fresh graduates to apply for 40 Auditor vacancies (they wanted people who had studied Accounting), and 10 (Specialized auditors) – people who had studied anything from Statistics to Economics to Information Technology, as well as Civil Engineering.

With my background in Finance, I submitted my application for one of the “specialized auditor” vacancies, and I made it to the “short-list” that was posted on the OAG website a month later. Needless to say, this was no ordinary “short-list” – it was actually a pretty “Looong list.” The geniuses at the OAG had decided to include over 2000 people on this list of theirs, which I think included everybody who applied for the 50 posts that were advertised – and the “written test,” as they call it, was two weeks later at Namboole Stadium!

Test Prep
Now, with Namboole Stadium as the “test” venue – my mind obviously wandered off, imagining what kind of test this was going to be – would it be a fitness test? Lol… a Math test, or a Logic test?

I obviously scratched the “fitness test” off the list because it certainly wasn’t relevant to the job description posted, and I figured Namboole was the chosen venue merely because they needed an open space to manage the colossal number of applicants they were expecting on Test Day.

Since I had never done any sort of written aptitude test before – I went to my “best friend,” Google, and asked for help. The search results came back with mostly math-type tests that test your arithmetic reasoning – the kind of tests we use to do in O’level Math, and the kind of questions I’ve seen in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), a standardized test intended to measure ones aptitude in mathematics and the English language. Well, it so happened that I already had a GMAT Test Prep guide at home – so this was essentially my guide as I prepared for Test Day.

Test Day
Come Test Day, which was sometime in mid-December, I woke up early – put on my Sunday-best, and set off – expecting the test to start around 9.A.M. (the time stated on their communication to the applicants). Well….uhmm, let’s just say, I was in for several surprises….

Surprise
The sheer number and diversity of applicants present was mind-boggling. It seemed like everybody on the list showed up – some young fresh graduates (like myself), others in their 30s, and several (quite a number) old parenting-looking candidates were also there, ready to strut their “stuff” lol – (For your information, the requirement that only fresh grads apply, seemed to not apply at all, because I could clearly see very old candidates on site – this started to make me question the fairness and authenticity of the OAG recruitment process).

The test actually started past mid-day, since we had to take it in shifts. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Stadium has fairly large conference rooms – where we did the test from.

The Test
After a very long wait, my turn to take the test came around and below is the kind of questions I encountered:

•    Logic Questions, for example: If there are 54   people at a party, how many handshakes are possible, with the condition that   each person at the party receives 1 handshake?

•    Arithmetic Questions, for instance: How many days are there from 16th March 2009 to 20th   July 2011?

•    Roman Numerals such as: Write 26th   January 1986 in Roman Numerals.

Note: The examples I’ve listed above are not the most difficult questions on the test. The difficult level does vary considerably; so for anyone who wants more practice with these type of questions, you can visit www.indiabix.com – a site I found (by accident actually) that really helped me with my test-prep for other jobs I applied for.

My Result/Test Outcome
The second “short-list” of about 300 applicants was released about 3 weeks after the test – and sadly, I wasn’t on it – despite the fact that I thought I handled myself quite well during the test. Although I’ve been told that the Public Sector (especially in Uganda) usually do these tests “for show” and already have their list of finalists set, I won’t use it as an excuse. I just took it as a learning experience to help me improve my test taking skills – and boy, it did payoff!

In part two next week, Alfredo tries his luck at Bank of Baroda.

Comments   

 
+1 #1 Moses K. Mugenyi 2013-07-06 08:33
Thanks Alfredo 4 sharing the experience its amazing & helping. Am glad 4 this God bless You.
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