Public interviews might not bring out the best candidates - Daily Nation

Public interviews might not bring out the best candidates

Saturday February 10 2018

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We are in the middle of public vetting of contenders for top offices, thanks to the requirements of the 2010 Constitution.

Chapter Six of the Constitution provides for selection of public officers on the basis of integrity, competence and suitability.

But these qualities can best be brought to the fore by independent interviews by technically competent and legitimate entities.

The Public Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and Parliament play a big role in vetting of candidates for senior public offices.

Save for the Public Service Commission, the vetting bodies elected to carry out interviews in public, starting 2013.

Without a doubt, public interviews assure objectivity and wider acceptability of the candidates.

Yet such interviews may have undesired consequences.

Timidity and good work performance are not mutually exclusive.

Cases abound of managers whose work performance is superlative yet they exhibit introversion and shyness.

Such people may perform disastrously in public interviews, particularly as they are aware that their audience is the larger Kenyan population.

The situation is worse when a shy person faces a gargantuan panel of over 20 people.

Candidates should not be expected to be impeccably knowledgeable in all topics of discussion.

During closed-door interviews, candidates have more leeway to extricate themselves from topics they are not entirely competent in.

This is hard when under public glare. A candidate may fumble to the extent that they may be considered inadequate yet they could be the best for the job.

Public vetting is fertile ground for temptation. Some members of the interview panel might want to play to the gallery.

Such panellists may invariably deny justice to the candidates, tormenting them into subjugation.

An interview provides a good opportunity for one to sell one’s skills, knowledge, and adroitness.

The interviewee should be concise and relevant. But in public interviews, this may be quite difficult.

On the other hand, some eloquent candidates may unfairly try to impress the public, fashioning responses that they deem fit and, at times, straying from the topic.

Public interviews offer skewed advantage to extroverts.

The reticent and the soft-spoken may miss out, even if they are eminently competent and suitable.

Eliud K Bichii, Baringo