When I saw the job advert for a Chief Archivist position in a fast growing banking institution in the Daily Nation (a local daily in Kenya), I thought of giving it a shot. I applied. sure enough with all my qualifications and experience, I was not going to miss in the shortlisted candidates.
Interview: I Arrive early for the interview and on the waiting bench I could see some other prospective Chief Archivists of this bank who were going to turn around the banks way of managing its past, present and future records . Who will it be? My turn comes and I am ushered in some office belonging to the HR manager. Apparently, the Board Room was busy with other business. Here we go.
Starters: Introduction. Blah, am this and that and he is that and this… I get the
impression that none of my interviewers have any idea what they are looking for!!!. Ok. I have to behave before the thing turns into a joke (come to think of it, it ended up being just that). What these jokers had were pieces of paper with questions and possible answers that i was expected to give. No questions to probe further my answers. They had clue what records management really was about unless it was on that piece of paper that linked their blank minds with the subject.
Salary: I knew it was going to be a puzzle for me. Here I was, facing some nonstarters who thought records management is in the class of an estate nanny, yet they expect you to turnaround and in a bigger way bring in a new system to manage all the records being generated in more than its eighty (yes 80!) branches country-wide. In other words, as the archivist, you have the responsibility over all that information. Worse still, the bank has no Records Management or Information Management policy, it has no qualified records managers or even records officers of low cadre. So, such a task must be Monstrous.
My Position: So, I tell the twits looking at me in this interview room, as if I was a Monalisa painting in some art gallery, that I can only accept a salary that compensates the position I was leaving (I had just started my Records Management Consultancy and was the Managing Director). On hearing this, one of them decides to stir the waters by asking me how much I was getting and then I told them some figure. They just looked at each other and then started asking me my lowest figure and all that…
Any way did I get the job? No. They opted for a less qualified, less experienced but cheap hiring.
Did they get what they wanted, Sorry Needed (if at all they had a clue)?
No. They only got an extra employee. They are in same state they were at the time of
hiring. There recruitment fell short of get the right person.
My advice is, if you want to get the best, then get ready to pay for it. quality service delivery does not come cheap. It is no wonder the same organisation is turning to consultancies to sort out their mess. I wonder what I will have to bill them when they come along???
Records Management Professional: If you are in the hunt for one, look for a person who has uninitiated successful projects, (one with project management skills), IT-oriented since most of records are electronic these days, one with good academic stuff up his sleeves and one who can carry out in-house training in records management since records management is dependent on every workers contribution to good record keeping practices. Knowledge in indexing will be very crucial especially if the organisation is going to embark on creating dynamic information/ record sharing environment as this will make creation on taxonomies possible. You can get more advice on this by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org