Many employers, keen to avoid cold-calls from job applicants, usually add a caveat to job advertisements or immediately after a job interview: “We will call you.”
This phrase is meant to create a firewall between the potential employer and a job hopeful as organizations pick the right candidate for the job. Yet that arrogant kind of attitude can return to haunt an overzealous employer in the fullness of time.
Such has been the case with Dr Simon Gicharu, now the chairman and founder of Mount Kenya University. He says in his #WednesdayMotivation chronicles on twitter that years back he sought a teaching job at the School of Professional Studies, which later morphed into Inoorero University.
The people in charge of recruitment did not hide their reservations and requested him not to call back, promising to call him instead.
Years later, after accumulating wealth and even starting his own university, he returned to Inoorero University not to hire anyone but to buy – yes, buy – the college, its students and buildings.
“Ever been told by a potential employer, “don’t call us, we will call you”?” Dr Simon Gicharu writes on Twitter. “I have, severally. At the School of Professional Studies, where I sought a teaching position, I walked away crestfallen. Several years later, I went back and bought their building.”
The building now houses Mount Kenya University Law campus in Parklands.
The formal wind-up of Inoorero, formerly known as the International University of Professional Studies (IUPS), came in 2016, two years after it reportedly got into financial problems. Family Bank then put up for auction its eight-storey campus building in Parklands, Nairobi, when the university failed to service a multi-million shilling loan that was borrowed five years ago.
The building, which sits on a 0.9-hectare parcel of land was sold to Mount Kenya University for Ksh300 million.
In 2015, the Commission for University Education stopped IUPS from admitting new students on grounds that the institution lacked adequate infrastructure to offer degrees.
As they say, what goes around always comes around. A lesson for employers there: treat that job seeker nicely; he could come back as a manager or, even worse, owner.
Just like David Irungu did. He worked at Nairobi’s Kariokor area as a waiter at an eatery for less than Ksh300 day. Years later, he owns property in Nairobi and even bought the eatery he had worked for.
“Many organizations don’t want to expand their wage bill,” Dr Gicharu said in an interview with BT. “That’s why you first need to understand where you are seeking employment.”
He says companies are seeking to add value and enhance efficiency and job seekers need to show how they can achieve that for the prospective employer.
“You need to show how you will help cut costs, improve efficiency or increase income,” he says. “being turned away ignited my thinking on what I can be able to do. I saw an opportunity in higher education and started working towards it. Had they recruited me, perhaps I would have shown them how to make the college better and grow it.”
He said many employers lose opportunities to get great talent by dismissing candidates offhand. “Maybe it’s that outsider who could bring in the turning point,” he added.
But come to think of it, he says, “it’s good to be rejected. That got me out of the box. Employment can stifle very big ideas.”