Kenyan Job Interviews:The Search for Chief Justice is not a trial of Character

Going for a job interview is nerve wracking but in Kenya it also has the added feel like you are a war criminal at Nuremberg.Often times this works to the detriment of both the job seeker and potential employer because sometimes the questions thrown make you feel like you are doing mental gymnastics.You have to prove your competency,then you are asked what you would do to change the system in 100 days then back to the way some of your past decisions lacked wise judgment,it is simply commendable the verbal assault job seekers survive just to prove they are employable.

The recent interviews carried out on live TV for the positions of Chief Justice were a case in point where the questions thrown at the aspirants for the seat felt like they were the accused and the interviewers were members of the Spanish inquisition.Picture this a judge who had been on the bench for years being asked why some of his rulings have been most times not in favour of this or that religious group?or you have a second lower degree and it seems this may hinder your contextualization of judgment?or your rulings are inflammatory and sweeping?are the commissioners play acting for the cameras?At one time some commissioners apologized for their colleague’s hard stance on one of the judges.I was watching them and i was literally squirming in my seat on behalf of Judge Bosire and Nyamu.

What was worse is that the Kenyan media have picked up on this line of questioning that was taken by commissioners and have been running the clips of these interviews.In my opinion most of the line of questioning pursued was meant to cast aspersions on the character and rulings of the Judges.It never cast any of them in favorable light and for the media to pick the views expressed by the commissioners as truth will deny Kenyans who never watched the whole shenanigan on TV the truth.
I really do commend the two judges for showing enough mettle and decorum even when the line of questioning bordered on personal attacks.

It does no good to portray a senior member of the bench as being incompetent or lacking in wise judgment on rulings that he has made in the past.The best line of questioning would have been one where the aspirants skills and knowledge and character would lend to the credibility of the position of the Chief Justice.This is because for the longest time the Kenyan judiciary has received a lot of flack for being corrupt and slow,where cases take forever before they are heard and people have been known to wallow in the cells for months awaiting to appear before a judge.

That being said,the live coverage of the interviews was a great example of the way all interviews in Kenya are carried out.If interview panels in Kenya do not go to the same school or read from the same script i will be damned!

An interviewer walks into a room where the panel interviewing for a particular position sits stern faced and like they would rather be somewhere else than facing you for this menial job you have applied for.They have already assumed you cannot perform the job you have been called for and you have to start proving that you are worthy of the now hallowed position.Most times it feels like you are being asked to walk on hot live coals to get the position.From there it becomes an uphill task where you have to counter their doubting Thomas outlook by proving that you are not some bumbling idiot who just happened to walk off the street into their offices.

Why these panelist always make potential employees feel small,desperate and insignificant during job interviews is beyond me.Would it not save time and energy involved in being mean to just make the process smooth and enjoyable for all the parties involved.It has been shown even in police investigations , that you get more credible information from taking a friendly approach to interviews.Remember the good cop ,bad cop scenario in most movies,even Jack Bauer knows that(in some cases of course).

Let us change the way we do interviews and especially for positions that call for the holders of these offices to carry with them a certain amount of respect.The dressing down of potential candidates for the position of the Chief Justice in front of the public eye does no goodwill to the individual who will eventually get the post.Let the commissioners abandon their line of questioning and adopt one that will make the interview process a credible one ,that will see us get a Chief Justice who is honest,credible,wise,not swayed by opinion and whose dignity was not left on the hot seat at the Judicial Service Commission interviews.


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