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How the Interviews Really Went (Careers at Hilton)

Oreoluwa Akomolafe

It’s ACE Charity/Hilton Career Month!

The Careers at Hilton programme is an initiative of ACE Charity in partnership with Transcorp Hilton Abuja. For the 5th year running, we have recruited several youths for the purpose of providing them with the opportunity to gain relevant work experience in different departments at the Hilton. This is in order for them to learn transferable skills that will enable them compete better, for job opportunities in the society as well as become more employable nationally and internationally.

The interns go through a thorough and carefully conducted process of application and interview, to ensure that those who genuinely need the work experience are given a chance. Sounds pretty straight forward right? Well, it was not…

We had limited time to work with but it was imperative that we reached our target audience so; we put up adverts on our Instagram page (@AceCharity)  and I was tasked with contacting renowned Instagram pages to advertise the programme. I knew the CVs were going to come but not in hundreds as they did. We received over 200 CVs and they are still trickling in! Did I mention that the receipt, sorting of CVs and invitation for interviews happened in just 2 working days amongst several other! The ACE team is just super.

The interviews were scheduled for May 1st, which you guessed right is Workers’ Day. After the sorting process, I had the pleasure of inviting 104 candidates via text. I say pleasure because I have been on the receiving end of such and I’m familiar with the feeling of excitement and anxiety that comes with receiving such invites. The invite said the interview was to start at 1pm but some candidates showed up as early as 8am – proof that contrary to general belief, Nigerian youths can be punctual. We weren’t caught unawares though, thanks to Transcorp Hilton, we already had the interview and waiting rooms set up. All we did was welcome and register the candidates as they trooped in; easy-peasy.

Have you ever had to sit in front of a panel of four no-nonsense interviewers to justify why you, above every other person should be given an opportunity? Well, that’s what the candidates had to contend with. Considering the number of candidates that showed up (73 in total) we could have had the candidates come in twos but it was important everyone was given a fair chance to be interviewed individually.

Our target audience were young, unemployed and out of school/University youth. The first candidate that came in was none of these; she was gainfully employed as a lawyer and wanted the experience as an addition to her CV as extra work experience and not because she actually needed it. This meant that going forward we had to dig deeper to ensure that we had a clear snapshot of each candidate.  We didn’t wait too long before deciding on our first ‘’yes’’ unanimously. The second candidate was calm, enthusiastic and passionate about being an Engineer.  It was a no brainer.

The process took the whole day, we were interviewing up until 08:00pm, it was hectic but exciting at the same time!. We interviewed a mix and match of candidates; some we put in departments we knew they would do well in, some were immediate fits for their departments, and some simply did not make it. The shortlisted candidates (36 in total, 1 lady did not show up on day one), have resumed their duties as interns in the following departments; Kitchen, Sales and Marketing, Engineering, Security, Information Systems Management, Recreation, Accounts, Housekeeping, Laundry, Food and Beverage, Human Resources, Conference and Events, Front Office and Reservation.

The interns have settled in and are off to a good start.

I wish them all the best!

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